Golden Nugget Lake Tahoe hotel renovations set to begin

July 10, 2024 9:07 PM
Photo: Tilman-Fertitta-Net-Worth flickr photo by itsyoungdee shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
July 10, 2024 9:07 PM

The Golden Nugget Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino is moving ahead with major renovations under its new owner, billionaire Tilman Fertitta.

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Last August, Feritta’s Golden Landry’s LLC and GN NV Holdings acquired the Hard Rock Lake Tahoe from Paragon Gaming with cash, then rebranded it.

Fertitta’s attorney Sonia Vermeys with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck told the Nevada Gaming Control Board Wednesday that the her client had always intended to finance the transaction. In December, the owner of the land entered into a term-loan agreement with Deutsche Bank and used the money to pay back Fertitta LLC and Fertitta Entertainment Inc., which loaned GN NV Holdings and Golden Landry’s the funds to complete the transaction.

The pledge of any interest in a limited liability company that holds a state gaming license is void unless approved in advance by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The Board recommended the Commission make the equity pledges effective.

“We’re doing well and as you know, we have big plans for the property with significant capital investment,” said Jason Sides, general manager of the property. “Currently, one restaurant is under construction; that’s going to be a Saltgrass Steak House. We anticipate opening in September. One of our two hotel towers is out of order and construction is about to begin on that. We expect to have our first doors back in October in that tower. Then, subsequent phases of other construction touch basically every square foot of the property.”

Sides said they expect the work to be completed by the end of 2025 or early 2026.

“Last fall and this spring were really slow, but in the last few weeks, business has really surged,” Sides said.

In other action, the board recommended approval for Austria-based Novomatic’s amendment of order of registration after seeking an update about a 2021 criminal investigation that was highlighted by Austrian prosecutors searching the home of Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel.

Reuters reported at the time that at the heart of the probe were allegations that government officials and Novomatic agreed to appoint a former Freedom Party official as a director of Casinos Austria, in which Austria and Novomatic owned stakes, in exchange for gambling licenses and other favors for Novomatic.

In Bluemel’s case, the anti-corruption prosecutors’ office suspected a manager at an unnamed gambling company offered to donate money to an unspecified political party in exchange for Austrian officials’ help with a potential tax claim against it abroad, Reuters reported.

Reuters reported Bluemel said his People’s Party hadn’t accepted donations from gambling companies in general or slot-machine maker Novomatic in particular. Novomatic also said the accusations were unfounded and it didn’t give money to any party.

Bluemel previously said that the then-head of Novomatic invited him to a meeting on donating to the People’s Party a number of years ago and he made clear that his party didn’t accept donations from gambling companies, Reuters reported.

A Novomatic executive via Zoom told the Board Wednesday said there has been no change in the Austrian criminal proceedings, which are in the preliminary stages and run by the public prosecutor. No indictments or criminal proceedings have been initiated at this time.

“In certain cases pertaining to certain individuals, the proceedings have been closed,” the executive said. “Another four or five individual proceedings have been closed in terms of monetary gifts. The other proceedings are standing still, while the prosecutor makes up his mind what part he might close and what part he might go on with.”

Board Chairman Kirk Hendrick said even though no conditions have been placed on Novomatic’s gaming license, the Board encouraged monthly reports to continue, though they can now be submitted on a 90-day basis, unless breaks in the case require immediate reporting.