Golden Entertainment completes $190 million purchase of two Laughlin casinos Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · January 14, 2019 at 5:57 pm Las Vegas-based Golden Entertainment completed its $190 million acquisition of two Laughlin casinos Monday, giving the company ownership of three resorts in Southern Nevada’s Colorado River community. The acquisition of the Colorado Belle and Edgewater adds the two properties adjacent to Golden’s Aquarius Resort. There are 11 casinos in Laughlin, the fifth largest gaming revenue market in Clark County, which includes the Las Vegas Strip.The company is acquiring the two casinos from Marnell Gaming and will pay $155 million of the purchase price in cash. The remaining amount will be be paid in approximately 911,000 shares of Golden Entertainment common stock, according to a statement. Previously, Golden Entertainment said Marnell Gaming CEO and Chairman Anthony Marnell III will be nominated to the board at the company’s annual meeting later this year. “The acquisition of these properties complements our market-leading Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin and grows our portfolio of wholly-owned Southern Nevada casino resorts,” Golden Chairman and CEO Blake Sartini said in a statement. At a Nevada regulatory hearing last month, Golden executives said Sean Hammond, vice president and general manager of the Aquarius, will oversee the three Laughlin casinos. He’ll be assisted by Ryan Walker, who currently leads the Edgewater and Colorado Belle, as vice president and assistant general manager. In a research report Monday on the Laughlin market, Union Gaming Group analyst John DeCree said Golden Entertainment will control roughly 42 percent of the area’s hotel rooms and 35 percent of the gaming supply. DeCree said Laughlin will amount to roughly 40 percent of Golden’s cash flow in 2019, according to his estimates. Golden attorneys told Nevada regulators the deal was cleared by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission over competitive concerns. “Laughlin has become increasingly relevant for public investors, with Golden Entertainment, Eldorado Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment all having operations in the market,” DeCree said. “Laughlin is also a core slot players market, making it very relevant for the casino equipment suppliers as well.” The Edgewater and Colorado Belle have a combined 1,400 slot machines, 40 table games and 2,257 hotel rooms. The Aquarius features more than 1,200 slot machines, more 30 table games and almost 2,000 hotel rooms. Golden acquired Aquarius in 2017 as part of the company’s purchase of American Casino & Entertainment, which included the Stratosphere in downtown Las Vegas and the two Arizona Charlies’ properties in Las Vegas. Golden Entertainment now owns 10 casinos – nine in Southern Nevada and the Rocky Gap in Maryland. In addition, Golden also operates video gaming devices at nearly 1,000 locations throughout Nevada and Montana, including its wholly-owned Nevada taverns. As part of Monday’s announcement, Golden said it completed a repurchase plan of 1.2 million shares of the company’s stock on the open market at an average price of $16.06. Shares of Golden, traded on the Nasdaq, closed at $18.23 Monday, down 27 cents or 1.46 percent. (Disclosure: Howard Stutz oversaw corporate communications for Golden Entertainment from July 2016 to May 2018. He has no financial interest in Golden Entertainment) Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.