Lake Charles Golden Nugget expected to be world class operation

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Golden Nugget plans to buy the Ameristar Casino project under construction next to L'Auberge Casino.

Many here are familiar with the Golden Nugget property in Biloxi. Even L'Auberge officials expect the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles to be bigger and better.

It will be right next door to L'Auberge where the project is under construction. It was to be Ameristar, but now is expected to become the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino.

Golden Nugget is a well-known casino brand owned by Landry's in Biloxi, Las Vegas and New Jersey. And Landry's is known for more than 100 restaurants under such names as Landry's Seafood, Morton's Steakhouse and more. 

Company officials say the Lake Charles complex will be one of the most luxurious gaming resorts outside the Las Vegas strip.
L'Auberge Senior Vice President and General Manager Keith Henson said the two will go well together.

"We're excited to have the brands next door. We believe that the storied Golden Nugget that operates in Las Vegas is very successful. It's a brand that is recognized internationally. And we also feel that the Landry's brands of restaurants in Houston and throughout Texas and even nationally and internationally will bring to Southwest Louisiana a product that we can all be proud of," said Henson.

It's a deal also expected to satisfy Federal Trade Commission issues concerning what might have been two casinos owned by Pinnacle.

"This fully complies with the FTC and we will continue to fund and develop the property next door until the transaction is complete. Tilman Fertitta has agreed to pay for all the expenditures that Ameristar has into the project until the date of closing with a $37 million credit at the end," said Henson.

He expects the sale to Golden Nugget final by the end of the year. The Golden Nugget project here is to include 800 luxury hotel rooms, a golf course and amenities including a world-class spa, shopping and a number of Landry's signature restaurants including a Vic and Anthony's Steakhouse and Grotto Italian Ristorante.

When compared to what Golden Nugget has in Biloxi, says Henson, "We expect for this to be a world class destination. We expect this property to be better than the Biloxi property."
So far, Ameristar says it has invested total capital of nearly $214 million in the Lake Charles project.

The deal with Golden Nugget must be approved by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Federal Trade Commission. It hinges on Pinnacle completing its planned acquisition of Ameristar which is expected to be complete this year.

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