Pinnacle Entertainment realizes most gamblers don't know when they've reached their peak. The The Las Vegas-based gaming company actually has no casinos in Vegas; instead, the regional casino operator owns seven casinos in Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, and Reno, Nevada. Most of its properties cater to locals or those within easy driving distance. Three of Pinnacle's locations operate under the Boomtown banner. Its L'Auberge du Lac Hotel & Casino property in Lake Charles, Louisiana, is the company's largest casino resort. In St. Louis, the company owns Lumière Place (including the Lumière Place Casino, the Pinnacle-owned Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, and HoteLumière) and the River City Casino.
In early 2011 Pinnacle purchased the River Downs Racetrack in Cincinnati, Ohio. The deal, worth some $45 million, also includes 155 acres of land along the Ohio River. Pinnacle was interested in the property because the Ohio state government has introduced a plan to install video slot machines at Ohio tracks to generate revenue. If the plan is approved, the company says it will develop River Downs as a new gaming, racing, and entertainment destination facility. Pinnacle also purchased the River Downs location to complement its existing Belterra Casino Resort, which is less than one hour away from River Downs.
Pinnacle is growing the business in other geographic areas as well. It is developing a casino-hotel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 2010, it expanded the scope and budget of the original $250 million project to more than $350 million. The Baton Rouge casino is expected to open in 2012. Also in 2010 the company opened its River City Casino in St. Louis, Missouri. Included in the property is a 90,000 square-foot casino with more than 2,100 slot machines and 55 table games, as well as several restaurants, bars, and retail shopping outlets. The new casino was a major factor in Pinnacle's earnings growth in 2010. That year its revenues climbed to nearly $1.1 billion (compared with nearly $988 million in 2009), while its losses narrowed to about $23 million (vs. some $258 million in 2009).
With its expansion efforts underway, the company also cut costs in 2010 to maintain a healthy balance sheet. That year it announced plans to scrap its Sugarcane Bay project, which would have been a new $350 million casino resort in Lake Charles, built adjacent to its L'Auberge du Lac property. Rather than develop the stand-alone casino, Pinnacle instead plans to expand L'Auberge. In addition, in 2010 the company closed its President Casino in St. Louis and consolidated its Las Vegas corporate offices from three buildings to one. It also sold its corporate aircraft and two seaplanes for about $12 million. Pinnacle additionally has plans to sell its nearly 20 acres on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
Outside the US, the company had operated one large and several small casinos in Argentina's Patagonia region. However, in 2010 Pinnacle sold its Argentina operations to a consortium of Argentine companies for approximately $40 million. It made the sale in order to focus on enhancing operating results at its core US properties and to build shareholder value. The previous year it closed another underperforming international property, the Casino at Emerald Bay in The Bahamas.
Former CEO Daniel R. Lee resigned in 2009 in order to pursue other "business interests". In 2010 he was replaced by Anthony Sanfilippo, former CEO of Multimedia Games as well as a former Harrah's Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) executive. – less