With L'Auberge Earnings Up 10%, Pinnacle Pushes Forward on Sugar Cane Bay

Reported By: Lee Peck

From Las Vegas to Atlantic City, casino revenues are down. Just last week Pinnacle Entertainment reported a net loss of 18.1-million dollars in their second quarter earnings for 2008. But while the chips for most are down, L'Auberge du Lac Casino and Resort is beating the odds.

"We are up across all areas, from gaming, to hotel, to food and beverage and we really attribute that to sticking close to the core values of this property, and that is great customer service," said L'Auberge Community and Public Relations Director Kerry Andersen.

L'Auberge earned a record 90.2 million dollars in their second quarter for 2008. Performing at all time highs in May and June, the recent addition of a new wing, bringing them to a total of 1,000 rooms -- was 90% occupied during this period, with several large conference bookings.

"Of course every single one of those people who come through here, about 400,000 per month, they stop for gas, they stop to get something to drink, they might check out the local sites and sounds," said Andersen. "And so that money then trickles down into the economy, new business and new people that have never been here before."

L'Auberge is Pinnacle's largest property and reportedly dominates nearly 50 percent of the market. While it appears to be paying off, Pinnacle is still looking to double the ante and bring in another 5-star casino and resort to Lake Charles. Offering 400 additional rooms and around 2,000 permanent jobs. The 350-million dollar construction of Sugar Cane Bay Casino and Resort is currently tied up in red tape as the Louisiana Gaming Control Board changes the way it inspects the boats.

"As you know they do not sail here in Louisiana like they used to, so it didn't make sense for the Coast Guard to inspect those anymore. So that task will now fall to different agency and we're working actively with them to figure out what those regulations are going to be and what kind of boat we need to build," explained Andersen.

The issue is expected to be on the Gaming Board's September Agenda. Once it's all worked out, Pinnacle will have 60 days to finalize their design for Sugar Cane Bay. After breaking ground they will have exactly 18 months to finish the project.

And there's more good news for L'Auberge. The casino resort is featured in this month's Southern Living Magazine. The article, titled "Luxury on the Lake" appears in the magazine's travel section and is on newsstands now.