BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two competing casinos in Baton Rouge will now be owned by the same parent company. This deal also impacts three additional Louisiana casinos.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board unanimously approved a deal Monday that moves forward a merger transaction between Pinnacle Entertainment (L'Auberge) and Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (Hollywood Casinos).
"Discussions on this proposal began more than six months ago," said Ronnie Jones, Chairman for the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. "The decision today was preceded by dozens of meetings and a review of hundreds of pages of documents. The Attorney General's Office and the State Police Gaming Division have conducted thorough reviews of the potential impacts to gaming in Louisiana and both are satisfied that the state's interests will be protected."
According to the billion dollar deal, the two companies will now be housed under the parent company Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. L'Auberge will now lease its property from the parent company under a 35-year term.
"Gaming and Leisure Properties will essentially become a landlord for the physical properties," Jones explained.
Anthony Sanfilippo, CEO for Pinnacle, said the deal will not impact any patrons or employees of L'Auberge, which operates four casinos in Louisiana. They include L'Auberge Baton Rouge, L'Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Boomtown Casino Hotel in New Orleans and Boomtown Casino Hotel in Bossier City.
"Ultimately our job as the board this morning was to ensure that the citizens of the state are protected, that the integrity of gaming is preserved and economic development promoted," Jones added. "We were very satisfied that those goals were achieved in the transaction before the board."
However, not everyone is so optimistic.
"I'm disappointed in the outcome," said Kate O'neil, a representative for Unite Here, a labor union that represents thousands of casino, hotel and food service workers in the United States. "But I am pleased the gaming board has requested that Pinnacle Entertainment provides reports on maintenance spending."