What is Century Casinos? What we know about the buyer of the Nugget hotel-casino

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Colorado-based Century Casinos, which previously acquired several properties from Eldorado, has gaming operations in North America and Poland.

With the Nugget Casino Resort set to change hands yet again, many are likely wondering about its new out-of-state buyer, Century Casinos.

Before Wednesday, few people in Reno-Sparks knew of the Colorado-based company. That changed in the early morning hours of February 23, when Century Casinos announced an agreement to acquire the longtime hotel-casino that the late John Ascuaga turned into one of the region’s premier gaming destinations.

The deal with current owner Marnell Gaming involved buying the hotel-casino as well as a 50% stake in Nevada LLC Smooth Bourbon for $195 million. It’s been just under six years since Marnell bought the Nugget from the Ascuaga family in May 2016.

While Las Vegas-based Marnell was a familiar entity to many Nevadans, the same cannot be said for Century casinos. Here is a brief overview of the company and what it does.

Century Casinos has a history with a Reno gaming company

Founded in 1992, Century Casinos is currently headquartered in Colorado Springs. The company has been listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol CNTY since 1994.

Century Casinos describes itself as a casino entertainment company with several regional holdings in the United States and Canada as well as overseas. Its properties include a mix of casinos, hotels and race tracks such as the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack Resort in West Virginia and the Century Casinos in Cape Girardeau and Caruthersville, Missouri.

If those names sound familiar, that’s because Century purchased those properties in 2019 from Eldorado Resorts — yes, that Eldorado Resorts. In fact, Eldorado used a similar strategy to Century Casinos in acquiring regional gaming operations as it expanded beyond its home market. Since selling several of its properties to Century Casinos for $385 million, Eldorado changed its name to Caesars Entertainment after acquiring global gaming brand Caesars. The Eldorado-Caesars merger was finalized in July 2020.

As for properties purchased by Century from Eldorado, they now make up a large portion of the Colorado-based company’s holdings. Here is a list of properties under the Century Casinos umbrella.

  • Mountaineer Casino Racetrack Resort in New Cumberland, West Virginia
  • Century Casino Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Century Casino Caruthersville Missouri
  • Century Casino and Cripple Creek Hotel in Colorado
  • Century Casino and Hotel Central City in Colorado
  • Century Casino and Hotel Edmonton in Canada
  • Century Casino St. Albert in Canada
  • Century Mile Circuit and Casino in Alberta, Canada
  • Century Downs Circuit and Casino in North Calgary, Canada

Century Casinos also owns a majority stake in Casinos Poland, which includes eight hotels located in high-end casinos in cities such as Warsaw, Krakow and Wroclaw. It also owns Century Bets!, an off-track betting network for horse racing that operates in North America.

Growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Like many gaming companies, Century Casinos has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, particularly in 2020 when the industry faced mandatory shutdowns.

Last year, however, saw the start of a recovery in the company’s gaming operations, according to its latest available third-quarter 2021 financial statements.

“The COVID-19 pandemic … had a lesser impact on the Company’s operating results in 2021 as the Company’s properties in the United States were open and in operation during this period,” the company said.

Although the continued impact of COVID-19 remains uncertain, according to the company, Century Casinos also saw progress last year after a brutal 2020 for the gaming and tourism sector.

The company reported net operating income of $116.6 million in the third quarter of last year, an increase of 22% over the same period in 2020. Its operating profits totaled 25, $7 million, up 71% year over year. The company’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization or EBITDA was $33.1 million, a 49% improvement over the prior year.

Century Casinos is also eyeing several major projects. It plans to move its Century Casino Caruthersville operation, for example, and turn it into a land-based casino with a hotel by 2024. The property is the last operating open-water river casino in Missouri, according to the company. The company also plans to build a hotel for its Girardeau casino.

Both projects are expected to cost $68.3 million and will be funded by either cash, financing, or a combination of the two. Century Casinos has over $100 million in cash and no significant debt maturing before 2026.

“We continue to have a strong balance sheet,” co-CEOs Erwin Haitzmann and Peter Hoetzinger said in a joint statement. “We are exploring exciting growth opportunities at our two Missouri properties with plans to build a hotel at each property and a land-based casino in Caruthersville.”

Plans for the nugget in Sparks

With the Nugget generating net operating income of $100.4 million as well as adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization of $32.8 million for 2021, it would easily be one of the best properties in the portfolio. by Century Gaming. The Reno Gazette Journal has contacted Century Casinos for comment on its plans for the Nugget.

The company has previously indicated that it expects the property to be seamlessly integrated into its existing portfolio. Century Casinos has also expressed excitement about the property’s potential as part of Reno-Sparks’ strong growth in recent years.

“We have long considered entering the Reno market and believe the Nugget is a perfect fit for our portfolio,” Haitzmann and Hoetzinger said. “We believe there are many upsides to this transaction and have identified some areas of improvement to continue the growth of the Nugget.”

In an interview with the Colorado Springs Gazette, Hoetzinger said the company was particularly drawn to The Biggest Little City because of its proximity to Lake Tahoe as well as the presence of big names such as Tesla, Apple, Amazon and Switch. Reno-Sparks’ declining unemployment rate was also seen by the company as a good sign for the region’s outlook.

Add in the investments Marnell has made since acquiring the Nugget — it’s spent more than $6 million building a new amphitheater that’s since hosted big acts like KISS, for example — and Century is pretty optimistic about the future. acquiring the property.

“Marnell has invested $90 million over the past four years in the property, so it’s in very good condition,” Hoetzinger told the Colorado Springs Gazette.

“It’s a very good acquisition from a profitability point of view. The Nugget also has a very strong convention and entertainment business, attracting big-name entertainers to its amphitheater who have been very beneficial to the casino industry.

Jason Hidalgo covers business and technology for the Reno Gazette Journal, and also reviews the latest video games. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo. Do you like this content ? Support local journalism with an RGJ digital subscription.

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