a golden move

Tilman Fertitta takes his golden online gaming casino public

Tilman Fertitta takes his golden online gaming casino public

Tilman Fertitta Shut Up and Listen book close up
Tilman Fertitta is taking his online casino public.  Photo by J. Thomas Ford

Tilman Fertitta's online casino is going public. Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc. will be acquired by Landcadia Holdings II,  Inc., "a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company co-sponsored by Fertitta Entertainment, Inc. and Jefferies Financial Group Inc.," according to a release.

When the transaction is completed in the third quarter, the company will change its name to Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc. and its NASDAQ trading symbol to GNOG. The deal values GNOG at approximately $745 million, based on expected 2021 revenue of $122. 

Fertitta, the billionaire owner of the Houston Rockets and the Landry's, Inc. hospitality company, will hold a majority interest in the new entity and serve as its chairman and CEO. Thomas Winter, who has helped Golden Nugget develop its online gaming business, will serve as president.

GNOG began operating in New Jersey in 2013 and had over $11 million of operating income in 2019. The company offers online gaming such as blackjack and slot machines that are accessible by computers, tablets, and smartphones. It has plans to expand to both Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2021, subject to regulatory approval. 

"Golden Nugget is one of the most time-honored brands in the gaming business today. When customers hear the name Golden Nugget, they know they are dealing with a trusted online gaming business," Fertitta said in a statement. "Thomas and his team have done a remarkable job, are the best in the industry, and with this transaction, will have access to growth capital to allow for the rapid expansion of the business."

Fertitta Entertainment, Inc. and Jefferies Financial Group, Inc. formed Landcadia Holdings II, Inc. as a "blank check company" specifically for purposes such as an asset acquisition or stock purchase. The two businesses used a different blank check company to acquire the food delivery startup Waitr in 2018, the Houston Chronicle reports.