Colorado-based company buys Nugget Casino Resort

Nugget Casino Resort
Nugget Casino Resort(KOLO)
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 5:02 PM PST|Updated: Mar. 26, 2023 at 11:44 AM PDT
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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -MARCH 26. 2023 UPDATE: The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday approved the sale of the Nugget Casino Resort to Colorado-based Century Casinos for $195 million.

The deal was first announced in early 2022.

Century Casinos executives said they expect to close the deal with Nugget owners Marnell Gaming by mid-year.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved the plan on March 8.

Century Casinos told gaming officials they want to add more than 100 new slot machines and upgrade the casino’s central bar.

The Nugget will apparently become Century Casinos’ flagship property. Century Casinos could spend another $105 million acquiring the rest of the Nugget property.

Century Casinos stock closed up 3.5 percent on Friday. It operates 17 casinos in three countries.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Colorado-based Century Casinos announced Wednesday it is buying 100 percent of the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks and 50 percent of the company that owns the land on which the Nugget operates for $195 million.

Century Casinos will have an option to buy the remaining 50 percent of property owner Smooth Bourbon, LLC for $105 million within five years.

“We have been looking at entering the Reno market for a long time, and we believe the Nugget is a perfect fit for our portfolio, Erwin Haitzmann and Peter Hoetzinger, co-chief executive officers of Century Casinos, said in a statement. “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.”

Upon completion of the sale, Century Casinos North American portfolio will be 10 casinos with 6,700 gaming machines and 140 table games. It includes casinos in the Midwest, Colorado and Canada.

The Nugget has a long history in Sparks. Dick Graves opened it along with other Nugget Casinos in western Nevada. Graves retired and John Ascuaga took it over in 1960 and made it one of the best-known casinos in the area. It booked many stars in its showroom and developed a reputation for having some of the best restaurants in the area, anchored by the Awful Awful hamburger.

The Best of the West Nugget Rib Cook-off is a major tourist attraction every year.

The Ascuaga family sold the property in 2013 and Ascuaga died in 2021 at age 96.

Marnell Gaming is the current owner. It bought and razed the location of Karl’s Silver Club and built an outdoor amphitheater at that location.

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