Pinnacle reaches for the heights

Jan 17, 2006 4:52 AM

Following the gaming philosophy of pressing your winners, Dan Lee, the former Wall Street executive who moved to Las Vegas to work with Steve Wynn in developing the Mirage Resorts properties, is moving his company forward as chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK).

He announced last week that Pinnacle would issue a public offering of six million shares of common stock to be priced at $27.35 per share, resulting in gross proceeds to the company of $164.1 million.

And the announced use of the proceeds included adding 250 guestrooms at the company’s successful Indiana property, the Belterra Casino Resort. This will bring the total number of Belterra rooms to 850.

Lee said he plans to add 250 rooms to the highly successful L’Auberge du lac Casino in Lake Charles and add another 200 rooms to the newly reopened Boomtown New Orleans Casino. It was noted recently by regulators that Boomtown New Orleans had reported an increase of 131% over last year’s revenues.

Pinnacle plans to waste no time in getting these projects underway. Lee said they will begin construction sometime in 2006 with expected completion in 2007.

The stock offering will also leave the company with enough cash to fund a portion of the construction costs of the St. Louis projects. Pinnacle Entertainment has two riverboat casino developments underway in the St. Louis, Mo. Area.