Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles Plans to Expand with $85 Million Hotel

Tilman Fertitta Opening the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles

People questioned the decision to open another casino in Lake Charles, but only 13 months after opening, Golden Nugget is primed for an expansion.

The Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana is planning a $85 million expansion to draw more gamblers. The newest construction is a 300-room hotel tower, which will be built on the south side of the casino’s pool area. The added rooms will being the hotel room count to 1,040 rooms.

SVP and General Manager Gerry Del Prete said his property has had a lucrative year. He recently told KPLC-TV that the casino has drawn almost 4 million visitors this year. The windfall has given the Golden Nugget the operating capital to make a big new renovation. Del Prete expects the expansion to be finished by the end of 2016.

Fear of Failure Is Gone

The announcement further helps to allay fears that the Golden Nugget Casino would fail in the Lake Charles area. When Tilman Fertitta of Landry’s fame decided to open the casino in December 2014, many in the Lake Charles area feared it would fail, due to the the presence of the L’auberge Casino Resort (Pinnacle Entertainment) in Lake Charles and the Isle of Capri Coushatta in Kinder, a nearby city. Others feared the Golden Nugget would cannibalize the market and caused each of the operations to struggle.

But according to Ronnie Jones, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Board. In a recent story in the Houston Chronicle, Ronni Jones said of Tilman Fertitta’s business, “There was concern about how thinly you can slice a piece of pie. But no, he’s brought in new business and really grown the market.”

People are unwise to doubt Tilman Fertitta’s vision. When America’s most successful restauranteur was asked about the Lake Charles investment, he said it was based on more than gambling. He said that casino has a nice location at a resort area with plenty of amenities. Success is a matter of continuing to build an attractive resort area, while maximizing the potential interest level. Fertitta added, “People want to come that don’t even gamble. We could probably rent another 500 rooms on weekends.

Lake Charles Is the #1 Gambling Location

The competition has been good for all of the local casinos, though. These days, Lake Charles has become the premier gambling location in the state. The combination of lakeside fun, scenic beauty, golf courses, and gaming opportunities has created a vacation experience fit for the whole family.

That has drawn more visitors than locals previously imagined. Ronnie Jones said, “Lake Charles was never a tourist destination. No one would say, ‘Let’s go to Lake Charles for vacation.’ Now, it’s got these beautiful casinos.

Gambling on Texans

Many of the gamblers at the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles come from the City of Houston, which is about 140 miles from Lake Charles. With a 2-hour drive, Houstonians can spend the weekend at an opulent resort area. Even better, they can bring the whole family for a weekend of fun.

It is the same concept which has made the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma and the Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma so popular. Those casinos are located within easy driving distance of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, making them some of the wealthiest casinos outside of Las Vegas. The Lake Charles success story further underscores how much the Texas legislature fails Texans in letting all that revenue escape the state.

About Tilman Fertitta

Tilman Fertitta is the chariman of Landry’s, Inc., a nationwide restaurant company. Landry’s owns Morton’s The Steakhouse, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., The Oceanaire, Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, Chart House, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, Claim Jumper, Rainforest Cafe, and Mastro’s Restaurants. His portfolio of eateries caused Forbes to label him the “World’s Richest Restaurateur“.

Tilman Fertitta owns more than restaurants, though. He also owns the Golden Nugget Casino brand, which owns casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Biloxi, Mississippi. In all, Tilman Fertitta is thought to be worth $2.6 billion.