Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Evaluating Mergers and Divestitures: A Casino Case Study

Evaluating Mergers and Divestitures: A Casino Case Study


Despite frequent use in practice, merger remedies receive little attention in the economics literature. We analyze the 2013 merger of two casino operators and the subsequent divestiture of one St. Louis casino. Using public data from the Missouri Gaming Commission, we employ a difference-in-difference framework with other Missouri casinos as the control group to estimate separate effects of the merger and divestiture on each St. Louis casino. Results indicate the merged firm benefited from efficiencies, resulting in lower prices and higher quantity; however, the divested casino performed worse than before the merger. Synthetic control estimates confirm these results. This study raises questions about whether to assess remedies by the performance of the divested asset or the consumer welfare of the entire merger. It also raises questions regarding remedy endogeneity: do firms face incentives to offer declining assets? Both have applicability beyond this case, supporting the need for further research.

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