Fertitta Entertainment, owned by Texas-based billionaire Tilman Fertitta, recently bought Wildwood Hotel & Casino in Cripple Creek, CO. It will be rebranded as Golden Nugget, the company’s sixth US casino with that name.
The best house on the block
Texas casinos are still illegal, which explains why Fertitta Entertainment, headquartered in Houston, purchases casinos outside the The Lone Star State. Efforts are underway to change that in the next legislative session, but it remains to be seen how successful they’ll be.
The deal involved Fertitta Entertainment and American Gaming Group, owner of the Wildwood since 2008. In the deal, Fertitta will also acquire a 101-room hotel, which features three restaurants and cafes, in addition to the casino itself.
The casino boasts 538 slot machines and 12 tables dedicated to poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat. In Cripple Creek, Wildwood is the largest of the all the casinos. Fertitta essentially bought the best house on the block.
Sides did not report final price
Fertitta Entertainment was set to pay $43 million to acquire Wildwood last year, according to documents filed with the Security and Exchanges Commission. It would have been part of a plan to make Fertitta Entertainment a publicly-traded company. Those plans fell through. On Dec. 1, however, Fertitta was able to acquire Wildwood.
The companies did not disclose the final amount of the acquisition. American Gaming Group originally spent $14 million to build the 101-room hotel that sits across from the casino.
Gerry Del Prete, chief operating officer of gaming for Fertitta Entertainment, said the company has owned venues in Colorado in the past.
“Located just 45 miles from Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek has grown significantly over the years, attracting visitors from across the country, and we are thrilled to join this community and look forward to enhancing the property and bringing our brands to this new destination city. We have always had an attraction for Colorado – we have owned the aquarium in Denver and restaurants across the state for a long time. … We looked at Cripple Creek and saw an opportunity there.”
New Golden Nugget the 6th owned by Fertitta
The casino and hotel is now the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, in line with the rest of Fertitta’s resorts. The company said all 300 employees will keep their jobs.
The other five Golden Nuggets are in Las Vegas; Atlantic City; Biloxi, MS; Lake Charles, LA, and Laughlin, NV.
The Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino has 2,500 luxury hotel rooms, 1,000 slot machines, 80 table games, 13 poker tables, one of the best sportsbooks in all of Las Vegas and a $20 million outdoor swimming pool.
The Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino in Louisiana boasts 1,100 luxury hotel rooms, 1,600 slot machines, 75 table games, full poker room and an 18-hole golf course. It also has a lazy river, marina and private beachfront.
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City Hotel, Casino & Marina has 700 luxury hotel rooms, 1,500 slot machines and video poker machines, 75 table games, a sportsbook, a luxury spa and a poolside lounge.
The Golden Nugget Biloxi Hotel & Casino in Mississippi sports 700 hotel rooms, slot machines, poker machines, table games, a sportsbook, swimming pool and poolside bar.
The Golden Nugget Laughlin Hotel & Casino south of Las Vegas has 300 hotel rooms, 800 slot machines and poker machines, 18 table games, a racebook and sportsbook, keno lounge, bars and restaurants.
Expanding at breakneck speed
Even with all of those properties – which is in addition to the 600 restaurants operating under the Landry’s company name – Fertitta is not slowing down on expansion. Fertitta also owns the Houston Rockets of the NBA, which recently partnered with DraftKings. He now serves on the board after bringing Golden Nugget Online Gaming under the DraftKings umbrella.
Fertitta also purchased an estimated $385 million worth of shares in Wynn Resorts, about 6.9 million shares. Fertitta now owns 6.1% of Wynn. The only investor with a larger share is Elaine Wynn, the former wife of Steve Wynn. Elaine owns 8.9% of Wynn Resorts.
Fertitta also bought a six-acre site on the Las Vegas Strip for $270 million back in June. Excavators have already begun to remove buildings currently at that site. When cleared, the plans are for a 43-story hotel and casino to be built. It will include 2,420 rooms, 91,000 square feet of convention space and an automotive showroom. There’s also a wedding chapel, state-of-the-art spa and a massive 2,500 person theater.
Of course, there will also be a large casino. In total, the development will reportedly cost around $3 billion.