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(Eric Cormier / American Press)<br>

(Eric Cormier / American Press)

Pinnacle to sell properties in Lake Charles, St. Louis

Last Modified: Monday, June 17, 2013 6:03 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Pinnacle Entertainment will attempt to sell the casino resort — currently being built by Ameristar Casino’s in Lake Charles — within a three-month period according to the company’s top executive.

Anthony Sanfillippo, Pinnacle’s CEO, told the American Press Monday that by getting rid of the Lake Charles property and another in St. Louis, Mo., Pinnacle may will be allowed to complete its $2.8-billion deal to absorb Ameristar.

“We are fully committed to finishing the facility in Lake Charles and are prepared to start the process to find a new owner,” he said in a telephone interview. “The new building is not going to open until the summer of 2014. Ameristar still owns it and will continue to build and develop it.”

In June 2012, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board gave Ameristar approval to take over the project that initially was proposed by Creative Casinos of Lake Charles. Ameristar started construction of the casino resort — located next door to Pinnacle Entertainment’s L’Auberge Casino Resort — last summer.

The company committed to building a $580-million facility that would include 1,600 slot machines and 60 table games, a 700-room hotel with 70 suites, food and beverage areas, an 18-hole golf course, tennis club, swimming pools, spa, and 3,000 parking spaces on 242-acres of land.

In May, the FTC filed a complaint that essentially focuses on antitrust laws. The federal agency blocked the merger between the two companies and are basically forcing Pinnacle to sell the casino project in Lake Charles and Lumiere Place Casino, HoteLumiere and the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis in order to complete the merger.

Had an “administrative complaint” not been filed by the FTC, Pinnacle would have owned the two largest casino operations in Lake Charles and three of the four casinos in St. Louis, which would amount to 58.4 percent of that market.

Sanfillippo said if the agreement is approved by the federal government the deal between Pinnacle and Ameristar will close by the end of this year’s third quarter.

“Construction will continue on the Lake Charles casino and at the same time we will look at prospective new owners,” he said. “We expect the new owners to be in place prior to the casino opening.”

The new owner selected by Pinnacle will still have to be approved by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

Sanfillippo did not say which companies were interested in buying the Lake Charles facility, but interest has been high.

“After the FTC ruling came out in May, we’ve had a number of gaming industry companies, that are well known, contact us. There is substantial interest,” he said. “One could buy the Lake Charles casino and one could buy the St. Louis property. It could be two different companies.”

The land on which L’Auberge resort and the Ameristar property is owned by the Port of Lake Charles and leased to the two companies.

Posted By: joe gannon On: 6/21/2013

Title: basically

You say "basically" Pinnacle is being forced to sell the new resort, but that can not be. THE FTC HAS STOPPED THE MERGER OF THE TWO COMPANIES, AMERISTAR IS STILL THE OWNER AND THE BUILDER. So, it is AMERISTAR who has to sell their property BEFORE the merger is allowed to happen, that is what the "administrative complaint" is ALL about. It is Ameristar that has the license right now and they will have to find an acceptable buyer. My money is on Gino being the guy, or heading up a group that will be the guys. Ameristar is who should be asked, "What's going on?". Who asked Anthony?

Posted By: smh On: 6/21/2013

Title: Gaming Control Board

Speaking of the Gaming Control Board, has anyone, like maybe a reporter, contacted them to ask some questions about all this going on with Pinnacle? It would be interesting to hear what Robert Jones and Mark Stipe have to say. Those are the two seventh congressional district representatives on the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, by the way. Boomtown is right, who is going to stop Pinnacle from selling to someone they control, someone they KNOW is second rate? And what about Gino Iafrate, does any of this have anything to do with Gino leaving abruptly? Where IS Gino??

Posted By: amazed On: 6/20/2013

Title: GCB

Where was the Gaming Control Board when Pinnacle FIRST proposed the insane idea of creating a Port Of Lake Charles Gaming Monopoly???!!! Were they influenced by the Port of Lake Charles hurrying up this deal, at the benefit of Pinnacle?? WHY DID THE GAMING CONTROL BOARD APPROVE PINNACLE BUYING THE COMPETITION IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Remember, Pinnacle HAD the 15th and last license to begin with and they GAVE IT BACK TO THE STATE!!! THEN when someone with some big money comes in and says they are gonna build right next to Pinnacle, AND BUILD IT BETTER AND BRAND NEW, Pinnacle came up with the SCHEME to buy out the competition, so THEY COULD CONTROL AND MONOPOLIZE THE LAKE CHARLES GAMING MARKET. Why didnt the Louisiana Gaming Control Board do EXACTLY WHAT THE FTC DID and tell Pinnacle to divest???!!!! WHERE WERE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO KEEP AN EYE ON THESE GANGSTERS???!!!

Posted By: SHIRLEY ROMICH On: 6/18/2013

Title: COMPETITION

THANK YOU FTC. WE NEED MORE COMPETITION IN LAKE CHARLES. SOOO SORRY TO SEE AMERISTAR LEAVE. LDL HAS BEEN TAKING THE PLAYERS FOR A RIDE. TOO MANY COMPLAINTS AMONG THE PLAYERS. THEY PAY NO ATTENTION WHEN WE COMPLAIN. THE SLOT CARD READERS ARE AMONG THE PLAYERS ARE FED U7P WITH. IT DOES NO GOOD TO TALK TO PEOPLE. READER MALFUNCTION IS A POPULAR NOTATION ON THE MACHINES. IT SIX OR MORE INSERTS TO HAVE THE MACHINE ACCEPT THE CARDS.

Posted By: Boomtown On: 6/18/2013

Title: Confused

So, Pinnacle will sell to the crappiest company to compete against them right?

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