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Ameristar talks to Gaming Control Board about pending sale to Pinnacle

Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:53 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Officials with Ameristar Casinos on Thursday answered questions in Baton Rouge from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board about their company’s pending sale to Pinnacle Entertainment.

This was the first time the company appeared before the gambling authority since the deal was announced last month.

One of the topics discussed was the future of Ameristar’s $500 million Lake Charles project.

“My concern heading into the meeting was if they would continue with the project as proposed,” board member Robert Jones said. “And the answer was yes. There are no alterations to their plan.”

That plan consists of a $500 million casino-resort on property owned by the Port of Lake Charles. Workers have been installing pylons and other materials ahead of the building of walls.

Ameristar is still in charge of the project. Pinnacle will be in complete control of the project once the acquisition is completed.

No date has been set by the Gaming Control Board for a vote to approve the riverboat gambling license transfer from Ameristar to Pinnacle.

“We’ve got to do our due diligence ahead of that. Right now we aren’t ready to put anything on the agenda to vote on,” Jones said.

State investigators will review the deal, along with Pinnacle’s financial records, which are being considered as formalities.

Pinnacle must obtain approvals for license transfers in other states where Ameristar operates.

In December, Pinnacle announced plans to acquire Ameristar in a $2.8 billion deal. Ameristar is building on 242 acres of land next to Pinnacle’s L’Auberge.

Once completed, the new casino-resort will include 1,600 slot machines and table games, a luxury hotel with 700 guest rooms and 70 suites, bars and restaurants, an 18-hole golf course, tennis club, swimming pools and a spa.

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