Golden Gaming, a dominant slot machine route operator in Nevada, announced last month it will merge with Lakes Entertainment, a Minnesota-based gaming operations company. The company will be called Golden Entertainment, and will transition into a publicly traded corporation. Golden Entertainment will be traded on the Nasdaq and replace Lakes’ current listing.
Blake Sartini, CEO of Golden Gaming, will serve as CEO and chairman of the new company. “I think the most impactful thing that we can do quickly is get into a much more efficient capital structure,” Sartini said. “As a private company, you’re limited with investments.”
Sartini is confident with the new company going public, more opportunities will be available than ever before.
Lakes Entertainment is led by three-time World Series of Poker champion Lyle Berman, the founder of Grand Casinos, a startup tribal gaming operator in the early ’90s that is now part of the Caesars Entertainment empire. Berman will join the board of the new corporation and sign a three-year consulting agreement.
Golden Gaming operates about 8,000 machines in approximately 600 locations throughout Nevada.
With the merger comes the acquisition of Lakes-operated Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Maryland. Rocky Gap drew $43.2 million in gaming revenue in 2014, and features a 200-room hotel and the only Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course in Maryland, along with a casino with 10 table games, a poker room and 500 slot machines. Sartini loves the location, and the fact 10 million people are situated within a three-hour radius. “The property was very attractive to our current portfolio,” he said.