Billionaire businessman Tilman Fertitta is bringing the Golden Nugget brand to Illinois as the state’s gaming market is in the midst of its biggest transformation in many years.
Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), an online gambling company that is part of Fetitta’s gaming and hospitality empire, announced Thursday that it has partnered with Danville Development to gain access to the fledgling online sports betting market of Illinois. The deal will also allow GNOG to offer online casino games, if the practice becomes legal in the state.
Under the terms of the agreement, Golden Nugget will form a joint venture with Wilmot Gaming Illinois to build a new land-based casino in the city of Danville, in east-central Illinois. The casino will have the Golden Nugget brand and will feature a Landry restaurant.
Wilmot Gaming Illinois is a subsidiary of New York-based development firm Wilmorite Management Group. The company was selected as the Danville casino preferred developer at the beginning of this year. It will build the property through the Danville Development entity, which will now be a joint venture between Wilmot and GN Danville, a wholly owned subsidiary of Golden Nugget.
A radical gambling reform signed by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker in the summer of 2019 enabled the development of up to six new casinos in the state, including one in Danville. The legislation also authorized digital and retail sports betting in Illinois.
Golden Nugget Expansion in Illinois
As part of their agreement, GNOG will exclusively offer online sports betting with the future Danville casino. And if online gaming becomes legal in Illinois, the Golden Nugget subsidiary offer exclusively digital casino products on behalf of the place of play.
Additionally, GNOG agreed to provide a $ 30 million mezzanine loan to Danville Development for the construction of the Danville Casino. The online gambling company’s Illinois market access agreement is for a 20-year term and requires GNOG to share a percentage of its revenue with Danville Development.
The Illinois Sports Betting and Online Gaming Agreement is an important milestone for GNOG as part of the company’s growth strategy. Earlier this year, it became the last US-based digital gaming company in announce a merger of SPAC looking for new growth opportunities.
GNOG will soon merge with special-purpose acquisition company Landcadia Holdings II and will be listed on the NASDAQ, avoiding the much more complex IPO process.
Commenting on entering the Illinois market, Golden Nugget and GNOG CEO Tilman Fertitta said that “having the opportunity to do grow the Golden Nugget brand in Illinois both in the online market and on the ground it is an exciting opportunity. ” This is Golden Nugget’s first joint venture in a casino project.
GNOG Chairman Thomas Winter added that they are delighted to have secured market access in Illinois, which is the fifth most populous state in the United States and the largest to have legalized mobile gambling. Mr. Winter noted that this is a “tremendous opportunity” for GNOG to further increase its presence in the US and “Deliver on our ambitious growth plan.”