Pinnacle Entertainment project a Golden Nugget

Jul 29, 2013 7:09 PM

Entrepreneur Tilman Fertitta continues to expand his foray into the gaming industry by agreeing to acquire the under-construction casino project in Lake Charles, Louisiana, from Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK).

The sale was forced on Pinnacle by the federal government, which would not approve its acquisition of Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) without the sale of the Lake Charles property and a casino in St. Louis, Missouri.

Fertitta, cousin of the Fertitta brothers, Frank III and Lorenzo, who own Station Casinos in Las Vegas, will take over the Lake Charles development by assuming all outstanding payable expenses accrued through the time of sale, less a $37 million credit.

The Lake Charles casino, originally the idea of former Pinnacle Entertainment CEO Dan Lee, sits on a 242-acre site that is adjacent to the L’Auberge Lake Charles Casino owned by Pinnacle.

Louisiana gaming officials must approve the sale and Pinnacle Entertainment must complete its acquisition of Ameristar Casinos for this sale to be completed.

Tilman Fertitta’s Houston, Texas-based company, Landry’s, owns over 500 high end and casual dining restaurants, many of which operate under the brand names of Seafood House, Rainforest Café, McCormick & Schmick’s, The Charter House, Claim Jumper, Saltgrass Steakhouse and Oceanaire.

He entered the gaming business with the acquisition of the Golden Nugget properties in Las Vegas and Laughlin, and then expanded to Atlantic City and Mississippi.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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