Pinnacle to sell properties in Lake Charles, St. Louis

By 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.