The $195 million deal with Marnell Gaming will see Century Casinos purchase a 50 percent stake of Smooth Bourbon LLC, the limited liability company responsible for the resort’s real estate, and 100 percent of the property’s operations manager, Nugget Sparks LLC.
In more detailed terms, for Smooth Bourbon, the deal represents $95 million and $100 million for Nugget Sparks, with the former which owns the land and building underlying the Nugget, to enter into a lease agreement for the property to the latter for an annual rent of $15 million. Century will also have a 5-year option to purchase the 50 percent remaining stake of Smoothe Bourbon for $105 million and 2 percent annually.
Multinational investment bank and financial services company Goldman Sachs Bank USA, has, in connection with the acquisition, supplied a commitment letter for $330 million in senior secured term loan financing to support the purchase, and to refinance the Colorado Springs-headquartered company’s existing debt and for unspecified “general corporate purposes,” according to an official press release.
In a joint statement, Erwin Haitzmann and Peter Hoetzinger, Co-Chief Executive Officers for Century Casinos, commented on the move, saying that they have been looking to enter the Reno market “for a long time,” and they believe the Nugget “is a perfect fit” for their portfolio.
“We look forward to welcoming the great team at the Nugget to Century Casinos. We believe there is a lot of upside to this transaction and that we identified some areas of improvement to continue the Nugget’s growth.
“We expect the Nugget to seamlessly integrate and provide added synergies for Century Casinos’ US portfolio.”
From humble beginnings:
Located in Sparks, Nevada, approximately three miles east of Reno, Nugget Casino Resort has been around for more than half a century, opening on March 17, 1955, as a 60-seat coffee shop with a handful of slot machines.
Open 24 hours, the property currently comprises two 29-story towers with a total of 1,382 rooms and suites and a variety of restaurants, bars/lounges, a fitness center, indoor atrium pool, gift shop, skywalk arcade, business center, and meeting and event space, including the Nugget Event Center, with seating for up to 8,500, the Grand Ballroom, with accommodations for nearly 2,000 with floor and riser seating and the Celebrity Showroom, which is renowned not only for the top name stars and can seat nearly 700 people via table seating, booths and a mezzanine/balcony.
The Nugget’s 50,200 sq ft of gaming features over 900 slots and video poker machines, more than 25 table games, keno, a 150-seat bingo hall and a full-service William Hill Sports Book.
In May 2016, John Ascuaga sold the Nugget Casino Resort to Marnell Gaming, declining at the time to disclose the terms of the sale but reportedly said that it planned to invest $25 million to remodel the property.
Century Casinos owns and operates several properties including one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, two in Missouri, two in Colorado, five in Alberta, Canada and eight casinos throughout Poland.