Golden Nugget to Build Casino, Enter Online Betting Market in Illinois

  • The land-based casino will be a joint venture with Wilmot Gaming in Danville
  • Golden Nugget Online Gaming will also launch a sports betting product
  • The company is the online casino market leader in New Jersey
  • Golden Nugget agreed to be acquired by a SPAC in June in order to go public
Golden Nugget sign
Golden Nugget Online Gaming has announced that it will build a brick-and-mortar casino in Illinois and eventually enter the state’s online sports betting market. [Image:]

Golden Nugget’s first casino joint venture

Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) has announced its entry into the Illinois gambling market through a partnership with Danville Development, LLC. The two companies will create a joint venture with Wilmot Gaming Illinois, LLC, which will build a casino in Danville, Illinois, about 140 miles south of Chicago on the Indiana border.

Danville Development itself is a joint venture between Wilmot and GN Danville, LLC, the latter a subsidiary of Golden Nugget.

The property will house a Landry’s steakhouse, which makes sense considering Landry’s owns the Golden Nugget, along with about 600 different properties in the restaurant and hospitality industries.

we are honored to be the one selected”

“This is Golden Nugget’s first joint venture on a casino project, and we are honored to be the one selected amongst numerous bidders for this opportunity by the Wilmot family after a highly competitive process,” said Golden Nugget owner and CEO Tilman Fertitta in Thursday’s announcement.

Eye on the online gambling prize

While Golden Nugget will construct a brick-and-mortar casino, the ultimate goal is arguably to gain an online gaming foothold in the state. Based on current estimates, Illinois is the sixth-largest state in terms of population in the US (GNOG says it is fifth, but that may be based on the 2010 census), making it an extremely attractive internet gambling market.

GNOG plans to launch an online sports betting operation, saying it has the “exclusive right” to offer said services with the new casino. Should online casino games become legal in the future, it will host those, as well.

Golden Nugget has consistently been the online casino market leader in New Jersey. In October, it brought in $28.1m in revenue, the fourth-best month it has ever had, accounting for 30% of the state’s market share. The company’s record month was this past July, when it generated $31.5m in online casino revenue.

Currently, land-based casinos in Illinois are eligible to apply for sports betting licenses, but they are permitted to partner with established technology providers for their on-site and mobile products. Right now, there are five mobile betting apps available to people in Illinois: BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill. Late next year, three online-only licenses will be up for grabs.

Golden Nugget going public

This summer, Golden Nugget Online Gaming announced that it is going public. It will become the second “pure” online gaming company to become publicly traded, following GAN, which did so in May.

Landcadia will change its name to Golden Nugget Online Gaming

To go public, GNOG is being acquired by Landcadia Holdings II, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Landcadia is publicly traded under the ticker LCA. Its purpose, like any “blank check company,” is to raise funds to buy a company and take it public. When the acquisition is completed, Landcadia will change its name to Golden Nugget Online Gaming and its ticker will become GNOG.

Landcadia Holdings II was created by Fertitta Entertainment, the holding company for the companies owned by Tilman Fertitta, and Jeffries Financial Group. Fertitta will continue as chairman and CEO of GNOG once the deal is finalized and the company goes public.

DraftKings used the same method to go public in April, when it and SBTech were acquired by a SPAC called Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp.

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