Indiana regulators sign off on Pinnacle-Ameristar deal

Indiana gaming regulators signed off on Pinnacle Entertainment’s $2.8 billion buyout of Ameristar Casinos on Thursday, putting the deal a step closer to completion.

The merger of the two Las Vegas-based regional gaming giants would give Pinnacle ownership of two Indiana casinos; Pinnacle’s Belterra Resort in Florence and the Ameristar East Chicago, which is located in Indiana but attracts visitors from the Chicagoland area.

Completion of the transaction, in which Pinnacle will pay Ameristar stockholders $26.50 per share and assume $1.9 billion of debt, is still subject to additional regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Pinnacle reached an agreement earlier this month with the Federal Trade Commission to sell the company’s Lumiere Place in St. Louis and Ameristar’s under-construction casino development in Lake Charles, La., to satisfy antitrust concerns.

The deal as it stands would give Pinnacle 17 gaming properties in nine states. Nevada gaming regulators approved the transaction in May.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.