I haven’t noticed this before, but there’s been a rumor that Harrah’s would be selling the Rio to Penn National, who has been looking to get into Las Vegas for a while now. Last time I read (and wrote) about Penn National was their failed bid for Fontainebleau.
Penn National has been working it’s way towards Las Vegas for years and the Rio would be a healthy start for the company. Although the Rio is not located on the Las Vegas Strip it is considered a Las Vegas Strip property. Penn National has an extensive data base and it is unclear it they will be able to tap into the Harrahs Entertainment’s enormous database as part of the deal.
I think the Rio is a good entry point into Las Vegas for Penn National. The purchase price should be less expensive then being on the strip, but its location is close enough to be part of the action. There are also quite a bit to update at the Rio, but it’s not as though the place has to be destroyed.
This gives Harrah’s some extra cash so that it can pay down some of it’s debt when it’s due. Or they can buy more casinos.
I’m looking forward to seeing some fresh blood in Las Vegas. Maybe this will give me an excuse to wander on over later this trip.