March 22, 2013 / 5:00 PM / 5 years ago

Fitch: Pinnacle/Ameristar Merger Highlights Emerging Trends in Regional Gaming Markets

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) NEW YORK, March 22 (Fitch) The pending merger of Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. and Ameristar Casinos, Inc. highlights trends in the regulatory and market environments in the gaming jurisdictions of Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio 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 Fitch believes 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 from Ameristar noteholders to waive and/or amend certain restrictive covenants, which would result in a more favorable pro forma capital structure for Pinnacle," says Michael Paladino, head of gaming, lodging and leisure ratings at Fitch. "At some point in the coming months following regulatory hurdle clearance and the expiration of consent solicitation, which was extended to March, 27, 2012, investors will subsequently consider a proposed merger financing transaction." The expansion of gaming could shift the current competitive landscape among 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 completes the 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 Missouri, the 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 properties accounting for close to 60% of gaming revenues," notes Alex Bumazhny, director at Fitch. "Lumiere Place would be a likely candidate for divestiture, in our view." The 'Eye in the Sky: Gaming Jurisdiction Surveillance Monitor' is a series of reports that provide an overview and detailed analysis of the regulatory trends and current market environment in gaming jurisdictions. Media Relations: Brian Bertsch, New York, Tel: +1 212-908-0549, Email:; Alyssa Castelli, New York, Tel: +1 (212) 908 0540, Email: Additional information is available at ''. Applicable Criteria and Related Research Eye in the Sky Series: Ohio — Gaming Jurisdiction Surveillance Monitor here ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.

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