Pinnacle brings change to St. Louis poker market

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Pinnacle Entertainment has agreed to acquire Ameristar Casinos in December and has been working to get approvals from all of the states involved. Approvals have been granted in Nevada, Mississippi and Indiana. In May, the Federal Trade Commission expressed concern about reduced completion in St. Louis and Lake Charles, La., areas. These were the only markets where the two companies overlap.

Pinnacle said it reached an agreement with the FTC and intends to sell the Ameristar property under construction in Lake Charles, La., and the downtown St. Louis properties (Lumiere Place Casino, HoteLumiere and the Four Seasons Hotel). Pinnacle would then operate the River City Casino and Ameristar St. Charles. This still needs approval from the Missouri Gaming Commission.

“The Missouri Gaming Commission is conducting its own independent investigation on the Pinnacle-Ameristar transaction,” MGC public information coordinator LeAnn McCarthy said. “We have no timeline as of this writing. The MGC takes all factors into account in granting approval of any change of control.

“We do still anticipate closing on the merger in the third quarter of this year, as planned,” Pinnacle corporate director of media relations Kerry Andersen said.

Replacing Lumiere with Ameristar St. Charles will increase Pinnacle’s St. Louis market share from 43 percent to 54 percent. The Ameristar St. Charles property has the largest revenues in St. Louis based on the most recent MGC reporting.

In future issues, I’ll have more on this story, and how it affects poker in the area, as details are released.

— Don Matusofsky is Ante Up’s Missouri Ambassador. Email him at anteupdonm@gmail.com.