Pinnacle plans to sell LC Ameristar development - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Pinnacle plans to sell LC Ameristar development

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An agreement, in principle, was reached Monday between Pinnacle Entertainment and the Federal Trade Commission that involves the selling of some Ameristar properties in two locations, including the Lake Charles property currently in development.

"We are disappointed in the FTC ruling," said Keith Henson, SVP/General Manager of Lake Charles' L'Auberge Casino Resort. "We don't believe that this lessens the competition in the area but we're abiding by the FTC ruling."

How did we get here?

The FTC issued a complaint against Pinnacle Entertainment in May regarding their acquisition or merger of Ameristar, citing that in two locations, Lake Charles, and St. Louis, Mo., the merger lessens competition for other potential gaming companies.

What happens now? 

"We are currently looking for suitors," Henson said. "There have been numerous, qualified casino companies that have contacted us, and we'll begin to go through that process."

Simply put, Pinnacle will now look for other casino companies to purchase the property which is currently under development next door to L'Auberge in Lake Charles as well as the property in St. Louis which is already open and operational.

The future of Ameristar:

"We have a commitment to the state of Louisiana to continue to build and fund the casino on the Ameristar property here in Lake Charles," Henson said. "All of the timelines and dates will stay the same.  There will be another casino here it just won't be owned by Pinnacle."

Henson added that once a company purchases the property, they will incur already agreed upon terms; like the agreement to assist in funding the Cove Lane project with a number of other state and local entities.

"While we're disappointed in this ruling and at having to sell properties, the larger merger that is taking place is still great for Pinnacle and its employees," Henson said. "Once the merger is complete, Pinnacle will have nearly doubled in size."

Henson estimated that there will be a buyer before the entire merger is completed later this year.

The agreement will get final approval from the FTC as well as the gaming boards in the jurisdictions impacted by the agreement.

KPLC reached out to the FTC for comment. Jay Mayfield, a senior public affairs specialist with the FTC, said they cannot comment on anything outside of what has already been filed in the FTC's original case claim. 

Stay with KPLC for continuing coverage of this announcement.

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