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

When it comes to 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 on keeping things that way.

However, GNOG appeared in front of the Casino Control Commission on Wednesday morning so they 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.

So while the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement stated this as a concern during the hearing, James Plousis, Casino Control Commission chairman, addressed the matter at the conclusion of the hearing.

“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,” Plouis 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, “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 co-sponsored 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 Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virgina.

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