(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
NEW YORK, March 22 (Fitch) The pending merger of Pinnacle
and Ameristar Casinos, Inc. highlights trends in the regulatory
environments in the gaming jurisdictions of Indiana, Louisiana,
and Texas, according to Fitch Ratings' new 'Eye in the Sky'
series of reports.
In particular, legislation related to potential state gaming
expansion and any
fallout related to recent anti-trust concerns are trends that
investors are watching closely.
"It is an important time for investors to understand the
regulatory and market
dynamics of these five jurisdictions as Pinnacle seeks consent
noteholders to waive and/or amend certain restrictive covenants,
result in a more favorable pro forma capital structure for
Michael Paladino, head of gaming, lodging and leisure ratings at
Fitch. "At some
point in the coming months following regulatory hurdle clearance
expiration of consent solicitation, which was extended to March,
investors will subsequently consider a proposed merger financing
The expansion of gaming could shift the current competitive
casinos. Legalization of casino gaming in Texas, though
unlikely, would add
pressure to the already-competitive Louisiana market, where
Pinnacle owns four
properties and would have a fifth under development if it
Ameristar acquisition. The Indiana market would be similarly
affected by gaming
expansion in Illinois, Ohio or Kentucky.
However, in states with a limited number of gaming licenses like
merger may force Pinnacle to divest of one of its casinos.
"Recent anti-trust concerns around the merger may be related to
the St. Louis
market, where the combined company would own three of the six
accounting for close to 60% of gaming revenues," notes Alex
at Fitch. "Lumiere Place would be a likely candidate for
divestiture, in our
The 'Eye in the Sky: Gaming Jurisdiction Surveillance Monitor'
is a series of
reports that provide an overview and detailed analysis of the
and current market environment in gaming jurisdictions.
Media Relations: Brian Bertsch, New York, Tel: +1 212-908-0549,
email@example.com; Alyssa Castelli, New York, Tel:
+1 (212) 908
0540, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research Eye in the Sky Series:
Ohio â€” Gaming
Jurisdiction Surveillance Monitor
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