Golden Nugget Casinos buying Ameristar property

By By Frank DiCesare / American Press

L’Auberge has a new neighbor, a casino with a famous Las Vegas name.

Golden Nugget Casinos announced it has

entered into an agreement with Pinnacle Entertainment to purchase the

Lake Charles

development currently under construction next to L’Auberge. The

announcement comes one week after the state’s Gaming Control

Board unanimously approved Pinnacle’s merger with Ameristar.

“We feel it’s a great opportunity,”

said Tilmam J. Fertitta, owner and chief executive officer of Golden

Nugget Casinos. Lake

Charles is a growing market, a growing city, and to be able to

team up with L’Auberge to have two major resorts to be right

there next to each other, we feel it’s going to be a huge plus.”

Golden Nugget’s purchase must now get

approval from GCB and the Federal Trade Commission. If approved, the

company’s 242-acre

Lake Charles resort and casino will be its fifth location. In

addition to Las Vegas and Lake Charles, Golden Nugget owns casinos

in Atlantic City, N.J.; Laughlin, Nevada; and Biloxi, Mississippi.

Fertitta said geography played a huge

role in his company’s decision to build a casino in Lake Charles, with

its two-hour

driving proximity to Houston. Fertitta owns more than 100

restaurants in the South Texas market, including Saltgrass Steakhouse,

Morton’s Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood

Restaurants, and Landry’s Seafood House. He also owns the Kemah

Boardwalk,

Galveston Historic Pleasure Pier, the San Luis Resort Complex and

the Downtown Aquarium.

“We’re so strong in south Texas and we have a bunch of restaurants in Louisiana; it’s mainly our strength in this Gulf Coast

region. We have so many customers already that eat at all of our different restaurants,” he said.

Fertitta said the new $600 million casino and resort will feature a 750-room luxury hotel with office space, six restaurants

and an 18-hole golf course. He added that the resort, slated to be called the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, is expected

to be up and running by next fall.