Golden Gaming continues to absorb its competitors. Its latest acquisition is Lakes Entertainment, one of the most venerable names in Midwestern gambling. Golden will pay a 37% premium to purchase Lakes at $9.57 a share. While 64% of shareholders will be Lakes ones, the power shift is decisively in Golden’s favor. The latter’s Blake Sartini (right) becomes CEO and chairman of the merged, publicly traded company, Golden Entertainment (and receives 7.8 million shares of stock), while longtime Lakes CEO Lyle Berman moves down to board member and consultant. A similar arrangement will be made for Lakes CFO Tim Cope.
The merger brings Golden’s already-considerable slot inventory to 9,250 one-armed bandits in over 600 locations, virtually all in Nevada. It also puts Golden in the driver’s seat of Maryland‘s Rocky Gap Casino, giving it an East Coast presence for the first time. Golden is projecting $348 million in revenue this year. There’s some addition-by-subtraction in the deal: Golden will divest 10% interests in Horseshoe Cleveland and Horseshoe Cincinnati. It will also unload a pair of horse tracks, one in Ohio and one in Kentucky, for a mere $750,000.
* Scientific Games is very much in Continued >>
In the battle between Caesars Entertainment and its dissident creditors, the opening route — the choice of venue — may be the decisive one. As noted previously, Caesars wants the case heard in Chicago and not in Wilmington, even though it is a Delaware-incorporated company. Dissidents point out that Delaware is practically in CEO Gary Loveman‘s back yard of Wellesley, Massachusetts. For its part, Caesars has proffered a variety of excuses … Chicago is closer to Las Vegas, there are more Caesars casinos around it, its law firm is headquartered there, etc.
And then there’s this: “Federal courts in Chicago apply a looser standard when deciding whether to release company affiliates, owners or insiders from liability related to a bankruptcy. Such third-party releases are harder Continued >>
Once casinos move to fill a vacuum, it’s difficult to push them back. But that’s what Pennsylvania state Rep. Will Talman (R) is trying to do. He’s proposing a bill to close Keystone State casinos nightly between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. As justification, he cites existing laws which require non-casino bars to close between those hours. Casino bars can stay open — they just can’t serve alcohol during that period. Considering that, last year, the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee recommended 24-hour liquor sales in Pennsylvania casinos, I’d give the monied interests the upper hand over Talman. The latter is certainly shooting dice with the state budget by suggesting that casinos close down for one-sixth of their operating hours. Ideology would seem to have gotten the upper hand with him over fiscal sense.
* Speaking of ideology, 11th-hour political pressure on Continued >>