Harrah’s Entertainment, owners and operators of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), are said to be seeking a buyer for the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The property has been home to the WSOP for the past five years. Harrah’s is said to be asking for around $500 million for the property which is about a six times valuation on it’s profits of $85 million last year. While a six times valuation is generally considered cheap in the casino industry, the Rio’s value will likely fall if it no longer plays host to the WSOP. The property is located off of the Strip so events like the WSOP help keep the casino relevant since it does not get nearly as much organic traffic as other Vegas properties.
If Harrah’s sells the Rio, it’s almost certain that the 2011 WSOP will be held at a new location. This potential sale does not affect the Rio’s role as host of the 2010 WSOP.
The most likely place for a new WSOP venue would be Caesars Palace which is Harrah’s largest property. Discussions on moving the WSOP to the Roman-themed casino took place in 2008, but Harrah’s decided they could maximize room occupancy at their properties by keeping the poker festivities at the Rio.