Century Casinos gets tentative approval to acquire Sparks’ Nugget Casino Resort for $195M

On Wednesday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board unanimously recommended Century Casinos for licensing to acquire the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks. The board granted the application for registration and findings of suitability for several executives from the company. Now, the Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to consider final approval of the deal on March 23, and the deal is expected to close in mid-2023.

Just over a year ago, Century announced plans to buy the Nugget a twintowered, nearly 68yearold, 1,600room resort on Interstate 80, just east of Reno from Marnell Gaming for $195 million. Marnell is part of a family of Las Vegasbased companies that have designed and built several properties in Southern Nevada, including the M Resort.

Board members questioned Century Casinos co-CEOs Peter Hoetzinger and Erwin Haitzmann and several other executives during the hearing, with members remarking they were satisfied with the records of all applicants, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Nugget, three miles from Reno-Tahoe International Airport, has a 50,200-square-foot casino with 859 slot machines, 29 table games, and an 8,555-seat outdoor amphitheater with a five-story, 1,200-space parking garage and an additional 1,272 parking spaces. It also has several casual and fine dining restaurants and 110,000 square feet of convention space.

Century Casino executives said one of their priorities will be to expand the gaming floor with 100 new slot machines and to upgrade a central bar in the casino, according to the above-mentioned media.

In addition to acquiring the Nugget, Century announced in August that it is acquiring the operations of the Rocky Gap Casino Resorts in Maryland for $56.1 million from Golden Entertainment in a $260 million transaction that involves Vici Properties as the real estate holder. Century has a $350 million financial commitment from Goldman Sachs and a $30 million line of credit to finance the deals. Once the deals close, Century expects 94% of its cash flow will be generated in North American properties.

Century Casinos co-CEOs Peter Hoetzinger and Erwin Haitzmann

Formed in 1992, Century has 17 casinos, some affiliated with horse tracks, with properties in Cripple Creek and Central City, Colorado; Cape Girardeau and Caruthersville, Missouri; New Cumberland, West Virginia; with four more in Alberta, Canada, and running eight in Poland’s 52 government-sanctioned casinos.

Hoetzinger said the company receives 75% of its revenue from properties in the United States, 14% from Canada, and 11% from Poland. It will announce its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings Friday, but in 2021 reported $388.5 million in net operating revenue, an increase of 28% over the previous year.

Century executives noted the Nugget would be the company’s largest resort and would be considered its flagship property. “We will introduce a referral program for our customers at our U.S. properties that will entice them to come [to the Nugget],” Century Executive Vice President Andreas Terler said, as per The Nevada Independent.