The Icahn Corporation To Acquire Flamingo Loughlin

Flamingo Loughlin was expected to change ownership this morning after the gaming arm of Cal Icahn-controlled American Real Estate Partners received approval from Nevada regulators to operate the largest casino in the Colorado River community.

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday took just 20 minutes to approve American Real Estate Partners’ $170 million purchase of Loughlin from Harrer Entertainment Inc. By midnight, the casino was expected to be a game changer.

“We will have 140 employees ready to make an impact on the transition,” Richard Brown, chief executive of American Real Estate Partners, told the commissioners.

The company, which operates Stratosphere and two Arizona Charlie casinos in Las Vegas, expects to invest between $30 million and $40 million to refurbish Flamingo Loughlin, which bought Caesars Entertainment for $9 billion last year.

Opened in 1990, Flamingo has 1,907 hotel rooms and 57,000 square feet of casinos. 토토사이트 추천

“We’ve had the luxury of looking at properties and deciding what we should do over the last seven months,” Brown said. “We’re going to start a casino refurbishment immediately and we’re going to be very aggressive in terms of marketing.”

Flamingo’s casino will have new technologies. Machines will be upgraded to include ticket-in-ticket-out technology. Currently, about 30 percent of the casino’s 1,400 games have the feature. The property will also have a new name. New titles and themes are expected to be announced this morning.

Brown said he wanted Flamingo employees to know the new name first as of Thursday. He said the name and theme will be different from the company’s Arizona Charlie brand. The Flamingo name will remain in place through October.

Loughlin has been a tough market for casino companies over the past few years; competition with American Indian casinos in Arizona and California has intensified. Game revenue in 2005 was $621.2 million, up 4.4 percent from $594.8 million in 2004. During the same period, statewide game revenue increased 10.3 percent year-on-year and increased 13 percent at Strip.

Still, Brown said the market was resilient. He said Loughlin and residential population growth across the Colorado River in the city of Bullhead, Arizona, could help casinos in the region.

“We see a lot of opportunities, especially with cross-marketing ideas with traditional Las Vegas casinos,” Brown said. “I think Loughlin is still a great place for customers in Charlie, Arizona, who are looking for a quick two-day vacation.”

Brown told regulators he was excited to return to the casino and help revive it, as he first worked for Flamingo Laughlin 15 years ago. Harrah’s, who runs Harrah’s Laughlin, wasn’t interested in running a second Laughlin casino.

“Laughlin was a great opportunity for our company,” Brown said. “We weren’t very interested in buying properties in another state. We think it’s a good location.”

American Real Estate Partners, headquartered in Mount Kisco, N.Y., is 87 percent controlled by Icahn. In addition to holding casinos, the company also owns residential areas, condominiums, hotels and golf courses across the United States.

The sale marks the second deal involving Loughlin Casino last year. Landry Restaurant closed in September to acquire Golden Nugget Loughlin. Aztar-owned Ramada Express is expected to sell as part of an ongoing bidding war for the company.

Flamingo Loughlin’s purchase also included 7.7 acres of untapped land in Atlantic City next to Sands, a casino run by American Real Estate Partners.

Brown told members of the Game Control Board earlier this month that the company was still exploring options for parcels.

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