Louisiana regulators OK Pinnacle's buyout of Ameristar

Louisiana gaming regulators approved Pinnacle Entertainment’s $2.8 billion buyout of Ameristar Casinos Thursday, paving the way for the eventual sale of a $580 million project in the western part of the state.

The approval allows Ameristar to transfer its interest in the Lake Charles development to Las Vegas-based Pinnacle, which owns four casinos in Louisiana, including L’Auberge Lake Charles.

In an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, Pinnacle agreed to sell Ameristar’s Lake Charles project and Pinnacle’s Lumiere Place in St. Louis to avoid any antitrust issues.

The Pinnacle-Ameristar merger still requires the approval of Missouri gaming regulators, which would be the last state authority to agree to the transaction. Nevada gaming regulators signed off on the deal in May.

Pinnacle has said it hopes to close the acquisition, which would double the size of the company to 17 casinos and racetracks, by August.

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