Inside Gaming: PokerStars Surveys New Jersey, Pinnacle Sells Casino to Golden Nugget

Posted at 10:00 2013-07-28 by Brett Collson

In this edition of Inside Gaming, PokerStars has issued a survey to its former players in New Jersey, Pinnacle sold an under-construction casino property in Louisiana to the Golden Nugget, and more.

Pinnacle Sells Casino to Golden Nugget

On Thursday, Pinnacle Entertainment announced a deal to sell an under-construction casino project in Louisiana to Houston-based Landry’s Inc., the company which owns the Golden Nugget.

Under the terms of the agreement, Golden Nugget will acquire all of the equity interests of the entity that owns the Ameristar Casino Lake Charles development project and pay total consideration equal to all cash expenditures on the development up until the date of closing. Golden Nugget will also receive a $37 million credit.

Ameristar disclosed it invested total capital of $213.9 million in the Lake Charles project, including the original purchase price.

The transaction needs FTC approval and the approval of Louisiana gaming regulators, and is conditioned upon Pinnacle completing its planned acquisition of rival regional gaming operator Ameristar Casinos, Inc. Missouri Gaming regulators approved the transaction this week, and Pinnacle says it hopes to finalize the purchase of Ameristar by the end of August.

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Anthony Sanfilippo, chief executive officer of Pinnacle Entertainment, commented, "We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Golden Nugget. With Golden Nugget being headquartered in South Texas, having a long history of high-quality operations in the broader region and bringing strong brands and operational expertise in the gaming and hospitality industries, we believe they are well positioned to enhance the appeal of Lake Charles and our respective resort properties as a preeminent gaming entertainment destination."

The property, located two hours outside of Houston, will be named the Golden Nugget Casino and Resort and is expected to open in 2014. In addition to nearly 800 luxury hotel rooms and an 18-hole golf course, the resort will include a state-of-the-art world-class casino with over 60 table games, a poker room, and 1,600 brand new slot machines.

"We are tremendously excited about this opportunity," said Tilman J. Fertitta, owner and chief executive officer of Golden Nugget. "Due to our strong presence with all of our brands in the Texas and Louisiana markets, we are confident that we can grow gaming revenues in Lake Charles, and together with L'Auberge Lake Charles Casino Resort, offer consumers one of the best gaming experiences in the country."

Read the full press release at bezinga.com.

PokerStars Surveys New Jersey

With New Jersey planning to launch its real-money online gambling market late this year, PokerStars has begun reaching out to its former customers in that part of the U.S. Early this week, PokerStars sent an email to its New Jersey-based players asking their opinion about regulated online gaming, as well as their thoughts about the PokerStars brand and whether or not they will play real-money online poker once the activity is available.

The survey also asked players about PokerStars' new sister site Full Tilt Poker, which was acquired by PokerStars' parent company (The Rational Group) last year. Full Tilt Poker is also expected to launch in New Jersey's iGaming market and offer other variations of gambling along with poker. The Rational Group announced recently that Full Tilt is developing casino-style games for real-money play Meanwhile, PokerStars will remain a poker-only site.

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Shortly after the Rational Group's purchase of another New Jersey casino was vetoed, the company partnered with Resorts Casino Club this month to provide online gaming in the state of New Jersey. The Rational Group and several other operators are waiting on approval of a license before launching an online gambling platform in the state.

CalvinAyre has more on this story.

2UP Gaming Seeks to Acquire Atlantic City Casino

In more New Jersey-related news, British-based 2UP Gaming announced that it has joined forces with an Asian investment group to devote $330 million toward building or purchasing a casino in Atlantic City. 2UP Gaming is seeking entrance into New Jersey's online gambling market and will need a connection to a land-based casino in order to do so.

“2UP has been working diligently for the past 12 months assembling the finest technology and strategy necessary to be a global leader in the iGaming marketplace,” said 2UP’s CEO Marino Sussich in a press release. “Emerging global gaming markets have created enormous growth opportunity for our company, and the United States launch of 2UP’s online gaming products will significantly add to our growth.”

Ten of the 12 Atlantic City Casinos have partnered up with online gaming providers. The two remaining properties are Revel, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the Atlantic Club Casino, which had agreed to a partnership with PokerStars before pulling out last month.

For more on 2 UP Gaming, check out NorthJersey.com.

Mike Britt Joins Ultimate Gaming

It's been a busy week at Ultimate Gaming headquarters in Las Vegas. On the same day that the company received final approval to run its real-money online poker site (Ultimate Poker) in Nevada, it appointed Mike Britt as vice president of market development and government affairs.

Britt, who started his career on Wall Street before spending 10 years in politics, will be responsible for new market development and legislative efforts to pave the way for operations in real-money online gaming jurisdictions. He will work to effectively position Ultimate Gaming with proper legislation in new markets, which includes crafting legislation and reviewing gaming regulations.

Ultimate Poker launched its real-money offering in Nevada in April and remains the only regulated operation in the U.S. On July 11, Ultimate Gaming successfully completed the field trial for Ultimate Poker, receiving recommendation for approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Other online sites, such as Caesars' WSOP-branded poker room, are expected to launch by the end of the year.

Lead photo c/o www.acrossthefader.biz

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