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Hearing set on Golden Nugget owner's venture to go public with online gaming
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Hearing set on Golden Nugget owner's venture to go public with online gaming

Golden Nugget Atlantic City

Golden Nugget Atlantic City could become the first casino in the United States whose revenue from internet gaming matches or exceeds earnings from table games and slots.

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State gaming regulators will hold a special meeting next week to consider a request by Golden Nugget Atlantic City to essentially split off internet gaming operations from its brick-and-mortar casino and take the new digital entity public.

Golden Nugget has petitioned the state to approve a merger that would result in the formation of a distinct online gaming company, licensed in New Jersey through the land-based casino, whose shares would be sold on Nasdaq. Federal regulators also must approve the deal before it is finalized.

The Casino Control Commission will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the petition, Landcadia Holdings II Inc., a special purpose acquisition company, will acquire Golden Nugget Online Gaming Inc.

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The new entity will be only the second pure publicly traded online casino company in the United States, according to a June news release announcing the merger.

Landcadia II, a blank-check company launched by billionaire Tilman Fertitta, is currently traded under the symbol “LCA” but will change its name to Golden Nugget Online Gaming Inc., and its Nasdaq trading symbol to “GNOG.”

Fertitta, owner of five Golden Nugget casinos; Landry’s Inc.; restaurant chains such as Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Morton’s The Steakhouse; and the NBA’s Houston Rockets, will remain chairman and CEO of the new company. Thomas Winter, who has led Golden Nugget’s online gaming operations since it debuted in New Jersey in 2013, will be president of GNOG.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City has been the standard bearer and market leader for internet gambling in New Jersey. In 2019, Golden Nugget reported more than $177 million in online gaming revenue. The land-based casino only generated $22 million more than online for the entire year.

Through the first 10 months of 2020, Golden Nugget has reported more than $263 million from online gaming.

Atlantic City’s casinos were ordered closed March 16 by Gov. Phil Murphy to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. While closed, the governor permitted online casino gaming and sports betting to continue. The city’s nine casinos were allowed to reopen July 2.

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Staff Writer

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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