Happy Thanksgiving from GGB; Newsletter Returns December 4

Pinnacle Closes $260 Million Lumiere Purchase

Pinnacle Entertainment's all-cash, $260 million purchase of Lumière Place Casino, HoteLumiere and the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis closed on April 1. Also in Missouri, the state legislature is considering a bill that would allow state casinos to attract more high rollers by offering large lines of credit.

On April 1, Tropicana Entertainment Inc. closed on its purchase of Lumière Place Casino & Hotels from Pinnacle Entertainment for 0 million. The all-cash transaction included the casino, HoteLumiere and the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. Tropicana officials said the property will remain under the Lumière brand. The Federal Trade Commission required the sale last year in order for Pinnacle to complete its .8 billion buyout of Ameristar Casinos. The FTC also mandated the sale of Ameristar’s casino project in Lake Charles, Louisiana to the Golden Nugget; that transaction is expected to be completed later this year.

Las Vegas-based Pinnacle still operates River City Casino & Hotel and Ameristar Casino St. Charles, both in the St. Louis market.

Tropicana Entertainment owns Tropicana Atlantic City, Tropicana Laughlin, MontBleu in Lake Tahoe and properties in Indiana, Mississippi, Louisiana and Aruba.

Also in Missouri, in a 24-9 vote, the state Senate recently passed a measure that would allow casinos to extend a line of credit to high-stakes gamblers—such as athletes who have credit lines at casinos in other states—who would put up at least $10,000. The bill now goes to the House. Casino industry supporters promoted the perk, hoping to lure bettors who receive similar privileges in Illinois, Nevada and New Jersey. Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association, said, “This is about a convenience for our patrons. I think we’re missing out on some players who would come to Missouri.” Winter said at least 10 other states allow casinos to issue lines of credit.

The legislation allows casinos to advance a minimum line of credit of $10,000, which would be considered an unsecured, no-interest loan due in at least 30 days. Customers who appear intoxicated would not be permitted to have the credit.

State Senator Scott Rupp, sponsor of the bill, said, “Individuals of high net worth can have access to their own cash when they travel in Missouri. They don’t have to carry it with them. They can call ahead and get preapproved and have electronic funds drafted from whatever bank account they choose.”

Opposing the measure, state Senator Ed Emery said, “I realize that gambling is kind of a part of life now, but I still believe there are certain moral aspects to society that make some things good and some things bad. I don’t see any place where gambling, or expanding gambling, has ever had a positive impact on families.”