Closer To The Finish Line: Golden Nugget Receives Stamp Of Approval From NJ Regulators

Written By Bill Gelman on November 25, 2020 - Last Updated on November 16, 2021
Golden Nugget

When it comes to the NJ online casino market, Golden Nugget online casino is a well-established brand and the Garden State’s market leader. And Golden Nugget Online Gaming LLC (GNOG) plans to keep things that way.

GNOG appeared in front of the Casino Control Commission on Wednesday morning so it could be granted a casino license. This was a necessary step in the process of becoming a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq. Up until now, the brand has been operating as Golden Nugget Atlantic City’s internet gaming arm.

The commission approved GNOG for a license.

More details regarding GNOG + Golden Nugget AC

There is some concern regarding how this move will impact Golden Nugget’s land-based AC operations.

Looking at the operator’s year-to-date revenue, Golden Nugget has earned $342.2 million in total gaming revenue. And that is good enough for an extremely distant second behind Borgata ($440.7 million). However, 76.9% percent of those earnings ($263.4 million) come via GN’s NJ online casino revenue. (Some of that revenue is via Golden Nugget’s own casino vs. other online casinos that operate under GN’s license.)

If we look strictly at casino win, the Marina District property ranks last among the nine Atlantic City casinos with $78.1 million. Bally’s AC is the next closest with $81.9 million.

So clearly online gaming is accounting for a big part of Golden Nugget’s success. Keep in mind, casino floors continue to operate at 25% capacity.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement stated this as a concern during the hearing, and James Plousis, Casino Control Commission chairman, addressed the matter at its conclusion, saying:

“I will note, however, that while there may continue to be variations in Golden Nugget’s online gaming versus land-based gaming revenue, particularly as the industry as a whole works to recover from the impact of COVID-19, I am satisfied with the petitioners’ assurances that they are committed to Golden Nugget Atlantic City’s ongoing financial stability,” Plousis said. “I am convinced that [Golden Nugget owner] Mr. [Tilman] Fertitta will protect Golden Nugget’s brand of excellence and elegance, and will do so by supporting, maintaining and ultimately growing the Atlantic City casino hotel facility.”

When will GNOG start trading on Nasdaq?

This is the question investors have been asking since plans were made public back in June.

The short answer is federal regulators still need to sign off on the deal. But based on GNOG’s third-quarter earnings report, the end of November is the target date to close the transaction.

That would be Monday. But no official announcement had been made as of Wednesday afternoon.

The company is currently trading under the ticker symbol LCA or Landcadia Holdings II.

That company is the publicly traded special purpose acquisition cosponsored by Fertitta Entertainment Inc. and Jefferies Financial Group Inc.

Landcadia Holdings II, Inc. entered into a purchase agreement to acquire GNOG from Fertitta.

But the public listing is just the next step in GNOG’s bigger plans for 2021. They include online casino launches in MichiganPennsylvania and West Virginia.

Photo by Dreamstime stock at PlayNJ
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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman has been reporting on the NJ gambling market since 2018, right around when the Garden State launched sports betting. Bill transitioned from lead writer for PlayNJ and NJ Gambling Sites to his current role as managing editor in 2020. Besides offering in-depth analysis on NJ gambling market trends and news, Bill regularly sits down with Atlantic City casino industry executives to offer readers exclusive interviews and comprehensive coverage. Bill received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College. He has contributed to other Catena Media sites including The Lines, Legal Sports Report, PlayPennsylvania and PlayCanada.

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