Fertitta creates Golden Nuggets

It’s taken Tilman Fertitta just a few years to build his casino company.

It’s going to take another few years to analyze the business’s level of success.

Not that Fertitta is in a rush.

The wealthy 56-year-old Texan over three decades created Landry’s Inc. His Houston-based multibillion-dollar nationwide empire includes more than 500 casual- and fine-dining venues under 40 different brands; downtown aquariums in Denver and Houston; and the Kemah Boardwalk in Galveston, Texas.

Fertitta acquired his first casinos in 2005 when Landry’s bought the Golden Nugget Las Vegas and Golden Nugget Laughlin for $325 million.

The company added a new hotel tower to the downtown property and other amenities, such as a 200,000-gallon live shark tank. The Laughlin casino also was cleaned up. Both properties received restaurants from the Landry’s collection — Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse in Las Vegas and a Salt Grass Steak in Laughlin.

Fertitta’s $1.4 billion buyout of Landry’s in 2010, in which he took private the public company he founded in 1986, paved the path for a casino shopping spree.

With the announced acquisition of Ameristar Casinos’ development project in Lake Charles, La., on July 24, Fertitta served notice to the gaming industry that he is all-in.

By 2014, when Lake Charles is expected to open, Fertitta’s Golden Nugget brand will include five casinos. That doesn’t account for the possibility of more purchases down the road.

Credit Suisse gaming analyst Joel Simkins said Fertitta has become an “increasingly well-schooled casino competitor.” Because Landry’s doesn’t have public shareholder accountability, Fertitta’s private ownership “deep pockets” means he won’t be as “return-on-investment-focused” as the competition.

Fertitta has shown he isn’t shy about spending money. He’s also found some great deals.

Fertitta spent $38 million in 2011 to buy the run-down Trump Marina in Atlantic City and $45 million last year to acquire the Isle of Capri Biloxi in Mississippi.

He rebranded both casinos as Golden Nuggets, spending more than $100 million each to clean up the properties, renovate the casino floors, add new amenities and drop in some of Landry’s familiar restaurants.

In Atlantic City, the casino now has a Chart House and Vic & Anthony’s. Biloxi will soon be home to a Morton’s Steakhouse and a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

The purchase of the Ameristar development — Louisiana’s last remaining gaming license — gives Fertitta the chance to design a facility from the ground up.

He said the project would have a $600 million budget — up from Ameristar’s announced $580 million figure — and include an 800-room hotel-casino, a Vic & Anthony’s and Grotto Italian Ristorante from Landry’s restaurant portfolio. It also has an 18-hole championship golf course.

At a minimum, Fertitta will cover the development costs Ameristar has spent to date on the 242-acre property — $213.9 million as of June 30 — and assume all other outstanding costs, minus a $37 million credit.

Lake Charles is just 144 miles from Fertitta’s hometown of Houston. The new casino will provide direct competition for the southern Texas customer base of Pinnacle Entertainment’s neighboring L’Auberge Lake Charles.

“I could not pass up the opportunity to build and operate a casino next door to my hometown,” Fertitta said in a statement. “This casino will be where Louisiana locals and Texans will want to play, stay and enjoy themselves.”

Simkins said Fertitta would be able to cross-market his restaurants — Landry’s has more than 100 dining venues in southern Texas — with the new Lake Charles casino.

Coupled with his success in the restaurant and entertainment businesses, Fertitta seemed destined for gaming.

His father and the late Frank Fertitta Jr. — father of Station Casinos owners Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta — were first cousins, which makes Tilman a third cousin to Frank and Lorenzo.

There are similarities within the family.

Last year, all three Fertittas were ranked on the Forbes 400 List of Richest Americans.

As of March, Tilman was in 298th place with a net worth of $1.7 billion. The Fertitta brothers dropped off the list, but are expected to make a return by year’s end.

In addition to Station Casinos’ 16 Southern Nevada properties, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta’s company has launched Nevada’s first legal pay-to-play online poker website through its majority ownership of Ultimate Gaming.

The Fertitta brothers made a $2 million investment to buy the struggling Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2001. Today, the UFC is worth an estimated $2 billion or more.

It seems most of the Fertitta family investments — both in Texas and Nevada — have held up, even with Station Casinos’ financial restructuring completed in 2011.

After purchasing the two Golden Nuggets in 2005, Tilman Fertitta told me in an interview that he passed on buying the Riviera on the Strip because he thought Golden Nugget would be a better brand to take into regional and riverboat gaming markets.

He is now fulfilling that promise.

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

ad-high_impact_4
Business
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center will showcase 13 small businesses in November and December and seven in January. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
T-Mobile uses ticketing data to plan for event
T-Mobile Executive Director of Arena Operations explains how ticket sales data and demographics help plan staffing, vendors, parking and operations for an event.
Costco opens its doors in southwest Henderson
Costco has opened its fifth Las Vegas-area location near the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Amigo Street. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas strip mall and office park
The Krausz Cos. and WG Group bought a strip mall and an office park in Las Vegas for nearly $80 million total. They acquired a portion of Tropicana Beltway Center in the southwest valley for $59 million. They also acquired the Westbay office complex in the Las Vegas Medical District. The buyers are former owners of The Gramercy, a once-mothballed mixed-use project in the Las Vegas suburbs. They sold The Gramercy in phases for more than $100 million.
Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry
Celebrity tattoo artist and business owner Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry at The World of Tattoo industry trade show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
$7.5M Las Vegas pot dispensary opens near Las Vegas Strip
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. It has entertainment including an interactive floor and floating orbs. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars CEO to step down next year
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora will leave the casino company in February. Frissora has been CEO since July 2015. He was named CEO right after Caesars' operating company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Caesars Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2017 Before Caesars, Frissora spent seven years as chairman and CEO of Naples, Fla.,-based Hertz He led the consolidation of the rental-car industry through Hertz‘s acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Planet 13 in Las Vegas adds twist to marijuana dispensary look
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. The dispensary is located near the intersection of Desert Inn Road and Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, near Trump International, in Las Vegas. Planet 13 has plans in the future for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on site if that is legalized and space for food.
Caesars Entertainment opening 2 resorts in Dubai
Cove Beach will open on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai in November and Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai will open in December. (Caesars Entertainment)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like