ELIZABETH — The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians announced Thursday its leadership team and plans to retain the more than 700 employees of Caesars Southern Indiana once it takes ownership of the Harrison County casino.
EBCI and Caesars Entertainment reached a $250-million agreement in December, but the Indiana Gaming Control Commission must sign off on the deal after regulatory conditions are satisfied. In a news release, EBCI stated it expects the deal to be finalized by the fall.
Caesars Entertainment was required to sell three of its five Indiana properties after it was acquired through a public merger by Eldorado Resorts Inc. The Harrison County operation will be the first EBCI-owned casino outside the organization’s home state of North Carolina.
Though owned through a new entity, much of the current appearance, management and branding of the casino will remain intact.
EBCI Holdings LLC has been formed as the ownership group, and it will be led by former Caesars Entertainment regional president R. Scott Barber, who will serve as CEO. He will be joined by Adele Jacobs-Madden, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who will serve as the casino’s chief financial officer.
EBCI will retain the Caesars and loyalty program, as the casino’s name isn’t expected to change. The organization also intends to retain the current employees at the casino, including Brad Seigel, general manager of Caesars Southern Indiana.
“Caesars Southern Indiana is a beautiful facility with a well-established brand and a superb team of hundreds of local employees already in place. We want to keep the same friendly, fun, familiar environment for our guests,” Barber said in a news release.
“Our intent is to build on the facility’s success and offer guests additional opportunities to play at EBCI’s Harrah’s-branded North Carolina properties while also having access to all properties throughout the Caesars Rewards network.”
Madden and Barber will answer to a five-person board comprised of “seasoned executives from the gaming industry,” according to the news release.
Two of those board members — Ray Rose and Cory Blankenship — are also enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians entered the casino industry in 1997. It operates two casinos in North Carolina, both of which have been managed by Caesars Entertainment since opening.
Though the casino is located in Elizabeth, it has a profound impact on Floyd County and the Louisville region. The Caesars Foundation of Floyd County has provided millions of dollars for scholarships, public projects and improvements in Floyd County, and committed $20 million to the construction of the downtown New Albany YMCA.
“We are pleased with EBCI’s initial acquisition and the possibility of growing our reach into other markets,” Barber said in the news release. “We are looking forward to entering the well-established Southern Indiana/Louisville market and to attracting guests from around the region to our world-class resort in Southern Indiana.”