The completed merger between Dover Downs and Twin River Worldwide Holdings is expected by early 2019.

There’s a merger in the works at Dover Downs.

The gaming and entertainment company, known for its casino and hotel in Delaware’s capital city, has agreed to a merger with Twin River Worldwide Holdings of Lincoln, Rhode Island.

News of a definitive merger arrangement was announced in a joint July 22 press release.

The union of the publicly traded Delaware company and the private Rhode Island firm probably won’t be completed until early 2019, Dover Downs CEO Dennis McGlyn said Monday morning.

“This is the beginning of a process that probably will take six to nine months to conclude,” he said. The company must file with various licensing agencies and the Securities and Exchange Commission, McGlynn added.

“This means we will become part of a bigger, stronger company that basically is just like Dover Downs, only much bigger,” he said.

Twin River’s CEO, John E. Taylor Jr., has a history of involvement in Delaware that goes back more than two decades, McGlyn said. Taylor is a former executive with a gaming technology company that helped the Harrington Raceway set up its gaming programs, he added.

“There’s a lot of synergy between Twin River and where they came from and Dover Downs and where we came from.”

When complete, the merger will make Twin River a publicly traded company with shares for sale either on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ.

The merger contemplates Dover Downs stockholders will exchange their stock for Twin River common shares representing 7.225 percent of the combined company.

McGlyn acknowledged Dover Downs will take on a minority role in the new company, but predicted a bump in his company’s stock as the news spreads.

“You’re going to see a company that’s better able to compete in this highly competitive gaming market in the Mid Atlantic,” he said. “You’ll see investments in our people, our marketing, and our facility.

“It will enable us to do much more to remain competitive than we would have as a stand-alone company.”

The CEO added the merger still was needed despite action in the Delaware General Assembly this year that adjusted the state’s share of slot machine revenue and table games tax, allowing all three casinos, including Harrington Raceway and Delaware Park, to keep more of their revenue.

“That still will take effect, and it does help, but we still need the additional support from Twin River to have the ability to succeed going forward,” McGlyn said.

The Dover Downs casino posted a $1 million loss in 2017 and finance analysts were predicting numerous job losses there and at the other two gaming centers if the taxes were not adjusted.

The idea to seek a merger started about a year ago and went through fits and starts over that time, McGlyn said. Dover Downs officials unsuccessfully approached other companies seeking the merger before reaching an agreement with Twin River, he said.

A good fit for both

Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle said the merger is a good fit for both companies.

“The size of the combined company should bring meaningful economies of scale, likely in the areas of healthcare, insurance and food and beverage, and new opportunities for future expansion,” she said. “Further, the recent tax relief in Delaware, coupled with combining best-in-class management practices, will allow the combined company to reinvest in the Dover Downs property and drive revenue growth.

“The merger is expected to create a financially stronger company which is good for Dover Downs employees, customers, and the state of Delaware.”

Doyle said Twin River owns and manage two casinos in Rhode Island, one in Biloxi, Miss., as well as a Colorado horse racetrack with off-track betting licenses.

Its flagship Twin River Casino is one of the largest in North America, located just outside the capital city of Providence. It has 162,000 square feet of gaming space with 4,220 video lottery terminals, 119 table games, and a poker room and will shortly open an attached 136-room amenity hotel.

With simulcast already in place, sports betting will open there later this fall, she added.

Twin River was founded in 2004 when it established video lottery machines at the Lincoln Park, R.I., racetrack. In 2015, it bought the Newport Grand Casino in Newport, R.I., which it will close in August 2018 while opening a larger casino, the Tiverton Casino Hotel, on Sept. 1.

Doyle added she has no information on how the merger with Dover Downs will affect jobs at both casinos.

“I think it is probably too soon to speculate on that right now,” she said. “We haven’t fully evaluated anything regarding personnel or general operations. That will have to wait for another day.”