The planned acquisition of the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles by the Laguna Development Corporation (LDC), the economic development arm of New Mexico Native American tribe Laguna Pueblo, has failed.
According to an Albuquerque Journal report from the Associated Press citing The Gallup Independent, the LDC announced in August 2016 that its newly formed [at the time] Kicks Entertainment unit had signed a purchase agreement to acquire the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles in Westlake, Louisiana from then owner, St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., for $134.5 million. The company is now owned by Eldorado Resorts.
According to the report, the deal had to be wrapped up within 12 months.
At the time, Chief of Sales and Marketing for LDC, Skip Sayre, said that the facility was a good fit for the company and given the difficulties for growth in the sluggish New Mexico economy, they needed to venture beyond the state to pursue other avenues of economic development.
Sayre said at the time that the company expected to close on the sale as early as Q1 of 2017 “after a rigorous licensing and regulation process in Louisiana” and approval by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
However, in November last year LDC pulled its application from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, with Sayre stating at the time that the licensing process was the cause of the deal breaking down.
“Ultimately the state of Louisiana regulatory authority, and our owners the Pueblo of Laguna were unable to reach an accommodation to allow us to be granted a license,” said Sayre at the time.
Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones, however, said at the time that “The board never denied them getting a license, and never denied the sale going forth,” according to Lake Charles television station, KPLC.
Jones said at the time that with the deal off, the casino was available for anyone wishing to purchase it, and that even Laguna could apply again if they wanted to.
Sayre reportedly said then that based on the state gaming board’s licensing process, they didn’t believe their efforts to obtain a gaming license in Louisiana would be successful, based on the LDC’s structure. He furthermore stated that the LDC did not see itself pursuing the deal again or anything in the state at that time, according to the KPLC report.
The Associated Press reports that Jerry Smith, Chief Executive Officer for the LDC, said that he was disappointed that they could not reach a deal.
The LDC currently manages and operates Dancing Eagle Casino in Western New Mexico, Route 66 Casino Hotel in in Albuquerque along with other businesses in the state.