DOVER — Dover Downs Hotel and Casino’s merger with a Rhode-Island-based gaming company could be finalized in a matter of days.
As part of that agreement, one of the top-ranking executives at Dover Downs is stepping down.
Ed Sutor, president and CEO of Dover Downs, will be retiring, according to Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, the casino’s parent company.
Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc. announced in July it had reached an agreement to acquire Dover Downs. That deal, which had to be approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, will likely be resolved this week, according to Mr. McGlynn.
Dover Downs is the only publicly-traded casino of the three in Delaware.
Exactly what changes Twin River will bring have yet to be determined, Mr. McGlynn said, although he does not expect a major overhaul.
“I assume it’ll be business as usual with some tweaks here and there,” he said.
When the merger was announced, Mr. McGlynn heralded it as bringing greater stability to Dover Downs, which has lost money in two of the last five years and made a net profit of just $30,000 in 2018.
Twin River, which operates casinos and hotels in Rhode Island and Mississippi and a horse track in Colorado, had a net income of about $71.4 million last year.
It will soon add Dover Downs’ 500-room hotel and banquet hall to that list, although Dover International Speedway, which is owned by Dover Motorsports, will not be affected. Dover Motorsports split off from the gaming company in 2002.
The deal with Twin River was made public less than a month after the General Assembly passed legislation that lowered the slot tax rate 1 percent, cut the table game tax rate from 29.4 to 15.5 percent and suspended the $3 million table game license fee, with hopes of protecting jobs and the nine-figure sum the state annually receives from its three casinos.
Mr. McGlynn likened the merger to dating, noting he is still getting to know Twin River executives and their business plan and vice versa.
Because of the merger, Mr. Sutor and Janie Libby, head of human resources at Dover Downs, both opted to retire, although Mr. McGlynn said he believes they likely would have stepped down fairly soon regardless. Mr. Sutor, 68, had been with Dover Downs for 20 years, according to documents filed with the SEC. He earned about $322,000 from the company in 2017.
Whether those same positions will be filled by Twin River remains unknown, but Mr. McGlynn is “fairly certain they’ll bring in some of their people to help with senior management.”
As for Mr. McGlynn, he said he will still be around, and his position as president and CEO of Dover Motorsports remains unaffected by the merger.
At the end of 2018, Dover Downs had 1,388 employees, 906 of whom were full-time.
“We’re excited about the many benefits we believe we will realize from the combination,” Twin River Executive Chairman John E. Taylor Jr. said in a July statement announcing the deal. “Dover Downs and its team are experienced in not only brick and mortar casino operations, but in sports betting, which we think will be helpful as we introduce that amenity at our properties, and in the online gaming sector which continues to evolve nationwide.
“Equally important, we see real opportunities to grow the Dover Downs business through investment in its people and facilities, similar to what we have achieved with our other assets over the past several years.”