Landry's Inc. buys Biloxi casino, will rebrand casino as Golden Nugget

The Golden Nugget brand is expanding to Biloxi, Miss.

Golden Nugget owner Landry's Inc., which has casinos in Las Vegas, Laughlin and Atlantic City, announced plans Monday for its Golden Nugget Biloxi subsidiary to purchase the Isle Casino Hotel from Isle of Capri Casinos for $45 million.

The sale will close in four to six months, pending regulatory approval.

Landry's Chief Executive Officer Tilman Fertitta in a statement said the company plans to rebrand the Isle as a Golden Nugget. The 720-room Biloxi resort will be renovated and expanded with several Golden Nugget Las Vegas concepts, including the Grotto, Chart House and the H2O pool. Other renovations include a new lounge and bar, spa, poker room and showroom. Upgrades will be completed by 2013, Fertitta said.

Analysts said the sale is a favorable move for Isle of Capri, which in February also sold one of its riverboat casinos in Lake Charles, La.

"We think Isle's strategy of exiting depressed or underutilized markets/properties continues to be the right strategy for the company," Macquarie Securities analyst Chad Beynon wrote in a note to investors.

The Gulf Coast gaming market has struggled in recent years because of the recession and a procession of hard-hitting hurricanes in the region. The market is also bracing for increased competition when the Margaritaville casino in Biloxi comes online this year.

Shares of Isle of Capri, which owns no casinos in Las Vegas, 25 cents, or 3.92 percent, Monday to close at $6.62 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

Contact reporter Caitlin McGarry at or 702-387-5273.