Golden Gaming CEO: Poised to Grow

Blake Sartini, the CEO of the Nevada-based tavern-and-slots operation Golden Gaming suggests the company may one day expand into neighboring states such as Arizona and California. For now, it’s still growing in the Silver State.

Blake Sartini, CEO of Golden Gaming Inc., does not rule out expansion of the company into markets beyond Nevada, but says it would require a significant shift in operational focus. The company?now the largest slot operator in the state?currently operates 45 PT’s and Sierra Gold taverns throughout the state, including 42 in the Las Vegas vicinity.

Sartini took over the company in 1999. “We are looking at a natural evolution of the brand because it has been so successful here in town for so many years,” he told the Sunday magazine in Las Vegas. “We just continue to try and improve on it. When locations open that we feel meet all of the requirements for our model, we take advantage of that.”

The neighborhood taverns offer video poker machines as well as food and drink. “Our places tend to be retail-oriented in the form of food and beverage, but yes, gaming is a big support to that,” Sartini said. “I would say that the percentage of profits we’ve made through gaming over the years has remained pretty constant, through all the economic changes we’ve had.”

Sartini says the PT’s model is “transferable to other jurisdictions, to other states. We do think it’s transportable.” He went on to say the company could consider wholly-owned expanded operations or a franchise model.

At the moment, Sartini said the most responsible means of growing the company is buying existing establishments and giving them a PT’s-style makeover.

“When we look at the acquire-versus-build proposition, it is much more economical to acquire, rebrand and re-establish a brand than it is to build from the ground up,” he said.

Golden Gaming also owns 8,500 slot and video poker machines statewide in 650 locations, including convenience stores and markets.