Tilman Fertitta Considers an IPO for Golden Nugget

Tilman Fertitta

Tilman Fertitta is one of the most powerful forces in the US casino and restaurant business. According to new reports, he’s considering taking some of his biggest companies public. It now seems that we could soon see a new IPO for Golden Nugget take place next year.

It comes at an interesting time. The US casino industry is still hurting badly from the regulations placed around the country. Today, we’ll talk about why Fertitta is considering this move and what it means for his company.

Let’s get into it!

US Casino Revenue Continues to Drop Heading into 2021

Prior to 2020, it seemed as if the US casino industry was heading into a new golden age. Gaming revenue was increasing around the country. Several states including New Jersey saw their casino earnings increase thanks to the legalization of sports betting.

All of the progress being made here over the years came to a halt in March of this year. That month, the country’s casinos were ordered to shut down. Health experts began warning that failing to do so could result in a surge of hospitalizations and deaths.

These mass casino shutdowns impacted certain cities and states more than others. Places like Nevada, as many expected, took an enormous hit from the casino shutdowns. The economy in Las Vegas relies heavily on this industry.

Unfortunately, things still haven’t recovered. Most casinos around the country opened over the summer, yet continue to see huge drops in revenue. Some have recently been ordered to close again due to another surge in infections and hospitalizations.

The winter months could make this situation even more difficult. Many health experts are warning that another surge in infections is on its way. It wouldn’t be a shock to see major casino destinations being forced to shut down once again.

Casino owners are doing everything they can to increase their revenue flow. We’re now beginning to hear about a big move from Tilman Fertitta.

Here’s What We Know About the Rumored IPO for Golden Nugget

Most gamblers around the US have heard of Golden Nugget before. This brand has casinos all around the United States. That includes one of the oldest and most successful gambling properties in Downtown Las Vegas.

The Golden Nugget brand is controlled by Landry’s Inc. This company is owned and operated by Tilman Fertitta. For years, analysts have questioned whether or not Fertitta would ever take this empire public.

The CEO pushed against these ideas for years. It now seems that is changing now. A recent report from Bloomberg indicates that Fertitta is considering an IPO for Golden Nugget sometime in the near future.

Fertitta seems to be in serious talks with other company officials about this decision. Going public would likely earn these companies billions of dollars. Fertitta would retain more than 50% of the company’s shares, allowing him to retain control.

The pandemic has taken a massive toll on Fertitta’s empire this year. It will be fascinating to see whether or not the IPO for Golden Nugget ends up taking place. It could push other private gaming companies to do the same.

There’s no doubt that the country’s major casino companies are hurting right now. Fortunately, sports betting revenue is helping to bring these companies some much-needed revenue.

States Continue to See Jumps in Sports Betting Revenue

The US casino industry is in an extremely unusual place right now. Every state is now warning that their casinos could be forced to shut down once again. The ones that are currently open are operating at limited capacity and implement intense safety regulations.

Over in Las Vegas, many of the major casinos are now beginning to shut down during certain days of the week. That includes the Encore Las Vegas and Park MGM. The owners of these properties claim there aren’t enough visitors to remain open 24/7.

That doesn’t mean the entire US gambling industry is dead, though. More than half of the states in the country have now legalized sports betting. This is becoming a very profitable industry for all of the states with sportsbooks up and running.

That’s particularly true with the states offering regulated online sports betting. Colorado, for example, just saw more than $210 million in sports betting handle last month. This generated $17.4 million in gross gaming revenue.

These massive sports betting revenue figures are expected to increase as the months go on. Many casino companies are now shifting their focus more towards online sports gambling options.

There is a lot happening with the country’s gambling industry right now. Will you be surprised to see an IPO for Golden Nugget? Let us know in the comments section below!

Lancadia II Gets New Jersey Approval for GNOC Acquisition

Casino Chips With a Casino Floor Themed Background

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission has given the green light for the acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming by Lancadia Holding II.

With the approval, GNOG is now a separate entity from its brick-and-mortar casino business. This move allows Lancadia II and GNOG to complete the merger announced earlier this year. Once that deal is consummated, the combined entity will go public and trade in the stock exchange.

Said Lancadia II co-chairman and CEO Tillman Fertitta:

“We are appreciative of the efforts of both the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Casino Control Commission in approving our transaction.”

A Special Acquisition Company

Lancadia II is a special acquisition company (SPAC) or blank-check company launched by Tillman Fertitta. Fertitta is the owner of five Golden Nugget casinos-two in Nevada, one in Atlantic City, one in Biloxi, Mississippi, and one in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Lancadia II is currently traded under the symbol “LCA” but will change its name to Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc. with “GNOG” as its Nasdaq trading symbol.

Fertitta will remain as the chairman and CEO of GNOG. He will hold a controlling economic interest and a controlling voting interest in the merged company. Meanwhile, Thomas Winter, who was hired to develop Golden Nugget’s online gaming business, will continue to serve as the company’s president.

Second Publicly Traded Online Casino

Golden Nugget Online Gaming is affiliated with Golden Nugget/Landry’s hospitality, gaming, and restaurant business owned and operated by Fertitta. It started operations in 2013 and has seen a 50% CAGR revenue growth since 2014. GNOG will become only the second pure publicly traded online casino in the United States

GNOG’s merger with Lancadia II was first announced in June 2020. Once completed, the merged company will have an anticipated pro forma enterprise value of $645M. That amount is six times the projected $122M 2021 projected revenue of GNOG. Lancadia will assume $150M of GNOG debs while paying down at closing and additional $150M of its own debt, plus pay prepayment fees, transaction fees, and expenses.

Strong Presence in New Jersey

Golden Nugget reported an online gaming revenue of over $28M in New Jersey, easily the biggest for New Jersey online gaming operators. From January to October 2020, Golden Nugget had a total online gaming revenue of $263M according to the monthly state reports.

GNOG will enter the Pennsylvania and Michigan markets once their applications in those states are approved. It plans to enter both markets in early 2021. Last week, GNOG also entered into an agreement with the Danville Development LLC for access to the Illinois market for online gaming and sports betting once these are legalized. The Danville casino will also be branded as Golden Nugget.

Golden Nugget Online Gaming Expands To West Virginia Via The Greenbrier

Laptop Computer on Table, Roulette Wheel on Computer Screen
Golden Nugget Online Gaming continues its expansion. On Monday, it announced a definitive agreement with Greenbrier Hotel Corporation of West Virginia to launch sports betting and online casino games in the state, subject to the procurement of the required regulatory approval.

Its entry in West Virginia marks its access in a fifth different state. Golden Nugget has also entered the online sports betting and casino games in New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Last week Golden Nugget Online Gaming received access to Illinois via the Danville casino project which will be branded as a Golden Nugget property.

Said Golden Nugget owner Tillman Fertitta:

“The partnership with The Greenbrier is an important milestone for the Golden Nugget online gaming expansion plans. We look forward to providing West Virginian players with our best-in-class product.”

Meanwhile, Greenbrier President Dr. Jill Justice expressed excitement about the new partnership:

“The Greenbrier is excited about this new partnership and adding to the incredible casino offerings already in place for our guests, members and friends throughout West Virginia. Golden Nugget has proven itself as a market leader in the industry, and we’re confident it will deliver a product that matches the lofty standard that defines America’s Resort.”

Access To a 5th State

The partnership calls for Golden Nugget to pay the Greenbrier a percentage of online gaming net revenue, subject to minimum royalty payments. The Golden Nugget is the first to provide Live Casino Floor and Live Dealer products to the United States online gambling market.

Under state laws, land-based West Virginia casinos are allowed up to three skins for online sports betting and another three more for online casinos. The Golden Nugget is the Greenbrier’s third sports betting skin after FanDuel and MGM. It is also their second online casino skin after MGM.

Greenbrier Owner is WV Governor

With debts totaling $500M, the Greenbrier filed for bankruptcy in 2009 but it was saved by coal mining billlionare Jill Justice, who bought the historic luxury resort for $20M. In 2017, Justice became West Virginia governor and one year later, the U.S Supreme Court struck down the United States Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. That same year, West Virginia lawmakers passed legislation to allow West Virginia casinos to take sports bets.

Last year, West Virginia became the second state after New Jersey to fully legalize online casinos, including slot machines, table games, and sports betting. Gov. Justice allowed the legislation to become a law without his signature. Today, the Greenbrier has 320 slot machines and 37 table games. The venue also has a physical FanDuel sportsbook.

Golden Nugget Lake Charles Takes Damage From Hurricane Laura

Many of Louisiana’s top casinos are located in Lake Charles, an area badly hit by Hurricane Laura. That includes the Golden Nugget Lake Charles, one of the most popular gambling venues in the state. New videos have emerged that show the Golden Nugget had its roof blown off by the powerful wind generated by this hurricane. Golden Nugget

The casino industry in Louisiana had already been suffering due to a lack of players and increased regulations. This hurricane certainly isn’t helping. Now is the perfect time to look at how this storm will affect the casinos here moving forward. 

Let’s get into it!

History of Louisiana’s Casino Industry

The state of Louisiana has a rich history of gambling that dates back centuries. In the mid-1700s, a regulated lottery was actually set in place here. By 1890, however, lawmakers here decided to prohibit all forms of gambling. 

It was disappointing news for gambling fans here. Many protested the new law and started calling for the legalization of certain forms of wagering. These efforts paid off in 1923 when state leaders officially legalized horse race betting. 

The ban on gambling remained in place here for years. Many casino companies attempted to convince lawmakers of the benefits that Class III gaming venues would bring to the state. These efforts failed for decades. 

In the early 90s, lawmakers in Louisiana began to see the upside in a regulated, taxed casino industry. They felt it would help to promote tourism while bringing the state some much-needed revenue. Casino gambling and an official state lottery were approved in 1993. 

Many new casinos began opening up. In 2014, the Golden Nugget Lake Charles opened its doors and instantly became one of the best casinos in Louisiana. It took inspiration from the major casino-resorts in Las Vegas, offering a massive casino floor and 1,100 hotel rooms for guests. 

The Golden Nugget is still widely considered Louisiana’s best casino. Unfortunately, this popular gaming venue took some major damage from the Hurricane now sweeping through the state. 

Hurricane Laura Rips Roof Off the Golden Nugget Lake Charles

For days, experts have been warning about the danger of Hurricane Laura. It increased in strength at an almost unprecedented rate in a very short amount of time as it approached Louisiana. Just hours before reaching land, meteorologists called it “unsurvivable” for residents on the coast. 

The Hurricane is now moving its way through the state and fortunately, it wasn’t quite as devastating as many initially predicted. It was an incredibly strong wind storm. Major flooding did not end up occurring. 

CNN just released a video showing Hurricane Laura ripping the roof off the Golden Nugget Lake Charles. It goes to show how strong the winds were during the height of the storm. The damage to this structure can clearly be seen. Check it out below. 

This city was one of the worst-hit in Louisiana. Many of the casinos here likely suffered damage. None seem quite as affected as the Golden Nugget. We’ll need to wait and see how long it takes to repair this major gaming property. 

What else is going on with the gambling industry in Louisiana?

Will More Forms of Gambling Become Available in Louisiana?

This is the question many have been asking lately. Back in March, all of Louisiana’s casinos were forced to shut down. Many of them began to reopen in May, yet revenue from this industry is still considerably lower than it was in 2019. 

Louisiana is known for having a large, passionate sports fan base. Many have been calling for sports betting to become legal and state-regulated here. Several bills have been presented here over the years. In 2020, one bill made its way past the House and Senate and will now appear on the November voting ballot. 

Louisiana’s public will now need to decide whether or not to legalize this popular form of gambling. Most feel it will pass. This should help to bring the state a significant amount of revenue each year. 

Some have also discussed the possibility of Louisiana legalizing internet casino gambling. As of now, only a few states have done so. All are profiting massively. There is no update on whether or not lawmakers here plan on looking into this industry. 

Hope is that the Golden Nugget Lake Charles, and others in the area, are able to reopen before long. We’ll be sure to offer updates on the sports betting legislation here over the next few months! 

Do you think Louisiana should expand its gambling laws? Let us know in the comments section below! 

12th Annual Grand Poker Series to be Hosted by Golden Nugget Las Vegas

Golden Nugget Las Vegas will host the Grand Poker Series for the 12th time. The series will commence on May 28 and will last until July 8. The venue where all the games will take place will be the Grand Event Center. There will be more than 90 poker tournaments which will last for 42 days and which will range in terms of buy-ins and poker games.

The most popular poker variant, No Limit Hold’Em, will be available across 21 events, with stand-alone events such as Omaha 8 or Better, Stud, Pot Limit Omaha, Short Deck, and Big-O. Moreover, visitors will have an opportunity to mix it up a bit and enjoy mixed game formats such as Stud 8 or Better, Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha 8 or Better, Stud, Razz, 2-7 Triple Draw, and more.

Andy Rich is the Director of Poker Operations at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, and he stated that they were excited to host the 12th anniversary of this great poker event at Golden Nugget. Furthermore, Rich commented on the entire tournament, stating that there would be something for everyone, including affordable buy-ins and exciting mixed events with daily guaranteed prize pools which are over $3 million. In other words, this year’s Grand Poker Series will probably be the biggest event of this kind to date. Finally, Rich stated that there would be a limited number of free parking spaces, and urged people to arrive on time before the lot is full.

Buy-ins for this tournament start at $100. There will be three events every day, with each event starting at 11 am, 1 pm, and 7 pm. Therefore, make sure to choose the time which suits you the best and enjoy some high-quality poker games located in a pleasant environment. You should pay attention to $150 buy-in events that have guaranteed prize pools of $25K and will happen every day at 1 pm in June.

Important Events

Of course, apart from the daily events, there will be several highlighted ones which are definitely worth your attention if you are a poker lover.

The 9 Flight $200 buy-in event that will start on May 30 and end on June 1 will offer $300K in guaranteed prizes up for grabs. The same event was set at $150K last year, and it drew a record number of entrants. 2,516 poker player joined this event and managed to create a prize pool of $276K. The entire thing turned out to be quite successful, and the winner managed to win $20,000. This year, even more entrants are expected to join this event.

You should also pay attention to the 9 Flight ‘Ultimate Re-Entry’ event which requires a $200 buy-in. There will be $250K guaranteed prize pool and the event will actually take place three times, on June 6-8, June 20-22, July 4-6. In other words, there will be two events, which means that players will have three times more opportunities to compete for the first prize. This event was also very popular last year as it managed to offer players a prize pool of $400K created by a total of 2,781 players. The winner of the event won $90,000.

Finally, you should pay attention to the 3 flights Championship Event which will last June 27-30. The buy-in for this event is $600, and the guaranteed prize pool is $600K. This was also a popular event that managed to attract 1,577 players last years who created a prize pool of $788K, with the winner taking $132,000.