Laughlin Buzz

Jul 27, 2018

Wes Duncan to speak at Laughlin Leadership Forum on August 15

Wes Duncan to speak at Laughlin Leadership Forum on August 15

For immediate use

One of Nevada’s biggest problems – persons suffering mental illnesses who live a life with the revolving door of a a jail – is a focus of Wes Duncan, who wants to succeed his boss, Adam Laxalt, as the state’s Attorney General.
Nevadans are invited to hear Duncan speak at 5 P.M. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, during a Leadership Forum sponsored by the Laughlin Economic Development Corporation at the American Legion Post 60 meeting hall at 1510 Bruce Woodbury Drive, about a half-mile downhill from the Needles Highway. Admission will be free.

“Laughlin voters have a golden opportunity to hear a candidate for one of the most important elected statewide offices. Please invite your friends to join you to learn more of what Mr. Duncan wants to do, not only for Nevada, but Laughlin,” commented Jim Maniaci, President of the LEDC.

He developed the mental-behavioral health situation as a top priority through round-table discussions with most of the district attorneys offices, many sheriff’s offices, and several police departments during a state-wide tour. The solution, he indicated, involves teaming social workers, clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists with police at jails and emergency rooms. Duncan will provide more details during his presentation.

Having served as Laxalt’s First Assistant Attorney General, he strongly supports school resource officers, having identified resources so the AG’s Office can help to make it happen. 

An Air Force veteran who continues to serve in the Reserves as a major, he was assigned to the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad to help the Iraqis with the prosecution of extremist groups and suspected terrorists.
Duncan, 37, and wife Jennifer met at Nellis Air Force Base and are the parents of boys ages 3 and 4.

He faces the other major party’s candidate, Aaron Ford, with Laughlin voters casting their ballots at the Laughlin Branch of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library. Early voting will be conducted from Oct. 20 through Nov. 3, before the Nov. 6 general election. 


Jul 18, 2018

2018 Guide to Resort Fees in Laughlin, Nevada

Laughlin, NV

For the latest updated guide to resort fees in Laughlin go here:

Resort Fees and Pay to Park Fees are skyrocketing in Las Vegas, especially on the Vegas Strip.

Now Laughlin's Casino "Resorts" are jumping on the Resort Fee trend. 

For those who haven't experienced resort fees these are a fixed fee usually charged per night.  Plus tax. They are not included in the quoted room rates.  Often times they are for amenities guests may not use. 
What does your nightly resort fee get you?

Amenities, which usually do not amount to very much or are things that used to be part of the rate. Generally they will include Wi-Fi, Fitness or spa access, local phone calls, access to a business center, even a newspaper. Pool or beach access you would expect to be part of staying at the hotel is now often bundled in the resort fee.  
This article will be a guide to resort fees you may encounter in Laughlin*.  We will update it as new information is made public.  Our guess is that will be quite often....because once a property institutes a resort fee it is very easy to keep slowly raising the amount. 

Important Notice (disclaimer)
* Always check or ask ahead of time to see exactly what the resort fee might be or if you are qualified for it to be waived. While we try to include accurate information, things change. If you are aware of a change we have not included please email us.

The Resort Fees by Property

Harrah's Laughlin    

Was $14.00 + $1.75 tax per night (Total $15.75 per night)   

Resort Fee waived for Diamond or Seven Stars Players Card Level
Includes various amenities such as WiFi in room, use of beach and pools.

Harrah's Laughin was the first to implement Resort Fees in Laughlin.  This was, no doubt, because they are part of the Caesars Entertainment. All Caesars hotels in Las Vegas have resort fees.  The resort fee at Harrah's Laughlin has slowly increased from an initial price point of about $8.

Edgewater & Colorado Belle
$8.99 + $1.10 tax per night  (Total $10.11 per night)
As of March, the resort fee is now $12.00 per night 

As of this posting, they still call it a service charge on their website. 
Resort Fee waived for guests who receive comped rooms. 
Resort fee includes:
Pool access
Internet access (may be limited)
In-room coffee
The Colorado Belle and Edgewater are both owned by Marnell Gaming (for now).  Big, recent news is that they will be acquired by Golden Entertainment sometime in 2019. 

They quietly began resort fees at around the $1.99 per night level.  The resort fee was initially called a (disguised as) "service fee".  The fee quickly jumped up, a couple dollars each time an is now at: $8.99  $12,00 per night.  

Aquarius Casino Resort
$10.00 + $1.25 tax per night (Total $10.75 per night)
Update as of January 2019, their resort fee is now $15 plus tax per night. 

Resort Fee waived for guests who receive comped rooms.  

Aquarius started Resort Fees as of May 2018

Resort Fee Includes:
Access to Fitness center;
Access to Resort Pool;
Unlimited Local and 800# calls;
Self and Valet parking;
Earn 300 base points and receive $10 in FREE slot play
or $10 in FREE bet per stay

Rooms also have free WiFi.  At least you get your first day of resort fee back in free slot play.  All these amenities you are forced to pay for in the resort fee were available to guests before the resort fee was implemented. Notice how free valet and self-parking is included in the Aquarius resort fee, but (as of this writing on July 17, 2018).  Yet Valet and Self Parking is still FREE to all guests. Does this mean free parking at the Aquarius is coming in the future?

Image result for riverside resort laughlin buzz

Riverside Resort
$10.00 + $1.25 tax per night (Total $11.25 per night)
Resort Fee waived for guests who receive comped rooms and have a Silver or higher level Players Card.

According to the Riverside Resort Website (as of 7/17/18):
Resort Fee Includes:
In-Room Basic Wi-Fi for two devices
Add two additional devices for $5 per 24 hours
Upgrade to Premium* Wi-Fi for $5 per 24 hours
In-Room Refrigerator
In-Room Coffee for two
Coming Soon - Fitness Center Access
Coming Soon - South Tower Pool, Oasis Bar & Fire Pit Access
Coming Soon – Business Center Access
Coming Soon - In-Room Safes

Tropicana Laughlin
$5.99 + $0.75 tax per night (Total $6.74 per night)
Resort Fee waived for guests who receive comped rooms.

Tropicana Laughlin just joined the Resort Fee action. As of July, non-comped rooms are subject to a nightly $5.99 + tax resort fee.
Resort fee inclusions:
Pool access
Internet access (may be limited)
In-room coffee

Laughlin isn't Vegas and the visitors, customers/clientele are not similar to Las Vegas.  However, now that the Resort Fees are in the area they will most likely spread to the rest of the properties.

Golden Nugget Laughlin is owned by a corporation that has properties elsewhere with Resort Fees. So far, no resort fees are in place at the Golden Nugget Laughlin, the Laughlin River Lodge, the Avi Resort Casino and the Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall.

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Jul 16, 2018

Golden Entertainment to buy Edgewater and Colorado Belle in Laughlin, NV

Golden Entertainment to Acquire Two Laughlin, Nevada Casino Resorts in Accretive Transaction

Business Wire
LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Golden Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: GDEN) (“Golden” or the “Company”) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Marnell Gaming LLC, to acquire the Edgewater Hotel & Casino Resort and the Colorado Belle Hotel & Casino Resort in Laughlin, Nevada. The purchase price will be based on an 8.0x multiple of the combined trailing twelve months adjusted EBITDA of both properties as of November 2018, with a minimum price of $168 million and a maximum price of $190 million. Including expected cost synergies and cash acquired, the purchase price is expected to represent an implied trailing twelve months adjusted EBITDA multiple of 6.5x.

The purchase consideration will consist of $155 million of cash and the balance in restricted stock issued at a price of $28.54 per share.

The transaction will be financed with incremental debt under the Company’s credit facility and cash on hand. Pro forma for the transaction, the Company’s net leverage is expected to be below 5x at closing. The Company expects the acquisition to be cash flow positive and immediately accretive to operating results.

Blake Sartini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Golden, said, "The acquisition of the Edgewater Hotel & Casino Resort and the Colorado Belle Hotel & Casino Resort provides us with an exciting opportunity to expand our portfolio to nine wholly-owned casino resorts in Southern Nevada, solidifying our presence in this growing and attractive gaming market. The transaction is consistent with our strategy to grow our business in an accretive manner for shareholders and Golden is uniquely positioned to benefit immediately from cost synergies related to the acquisition of these properties.”

The Edgewater Hotel & Casino Resort and the Colorado Belle Hotel & Casino Resort collectively feature over 1,400 slot machines, 40 table games and 2,150 hotel rooms. The properties also feature eleven restaurants and dedicated entertainment venues including the Laughlin Event Center. The Laughlin Event Center is an outdoor arena with 12,000 seats and hosts multiple headline concerts and other events throughout the year. The two properties are adjacent to Golden’s current Laughlin property, the Aquarius Casino Resort, which features over 1,200 slot machines, over 30 table games and almost 2,000 hotel rooms. When combined, these three properties will be situated on 55 contiguous acres along the heart of the Laughlin Riverwalk.

Mr. Sartini added, “The Marnell family has a long history in the gaming industry including, designing, building and owning some of the most iconic resorts that now define the Las Vegas resort corridor. Over the past several years, Marnell Gaming has taken their expertise and created a significant hotel, casino and entertainment presence in Laughlin, and we are excited to build on these well positioned properties. As a result of this transaction, I am pleased to welcome Anthony Marnell III as a shareholder of Golden Entertainment.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions and the receipt of all required regulatory approvals.

Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal advisor to Golden Entertainment for the transaction. Holland & Hart LLP served as legal advisor to Marnell Gaming.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the expected impact of the acquisition of Edgewater Hotel & Casino Resort and the Colorado Belle Hotel & Casino Resort on the Company’s operations and statements regarding the anticipated timing of closing of the acquisition. These statements can be identified by the use of forward looking terminology such as “expects,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “intends,” “plans,” “seeks,” “may,” “will,” “should” or “anticipates” or the negative or other variations of these or similar words, or by discussions of future events, strategies or risks and uncertainties. Although the Company believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from our expectations. Meaningful factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations include, but are not limited to, risks related to the acquisition of the Edgewater Hotel & Casino Resort and the Colorado Belle Hotel & Casino Resort operations by the Company and the integration of the business to be acquired; the possibility that the proposed transaction does not close when expected or at all because required regulatory or other approvals are not received or other conditions to the closing are not satisfied on a timely basis or at all; potential adverse reactions or changes to business or employee relationships, including those resulting from the announcement or completion of the transaction; potential litigation challenging the transaction; the possibility that the anticipated benefits of the transaction are not realized when expected or at all, including as a result of the impact of, or issues arising from, the integration of the companies; our ability to realize potential synergies or projected financial results; and other factors as discussed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, each as filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not intend to update publicly any forward-looking statements except as required by law. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events discussed in this press release may not occur.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

To supplement the Company’s and the property’s financial information presented in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), the Company uses Adjusted EBITDA, which the Company believes is appropriate to provide meaningful comparison with, and to enhance an overall understanding of, the Company’s and the property’s financial performance. The Company believes Adjusted EBITDA provides useful information to both management and investors by excluding specific expenses and gains that the Company believes are not indicative of core operating results. Further, Adjusted EBITDA is a measure of operating performance used by management, as well as industry analysts, to evaluate operations and operating performance and is widely used in the gaming industry. Other companies in the gaming industry may calculate Adjusted EBITDA differently than the Company does.

The presentation of this additional information is not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.

The Company defines “Adjusted EBITDA” as earnings before interest and other non-operating income (expense), income taxes, depreciation and amortization, acquisition expenses, loss on disposal of property and equipment and other gains and losses. The Company defines “net leverage” as total debt less cash, divided by Adjusted EBITDA for the twelve months prior to the measurement date.

About Golden Entertainment, Inc.

Golden Entertainment, Inc. owns and operates gaming properties across two divisions – resort casino operations and distributed gaming. The Company operates approximately 16,000 gaming devices, 116 table games, 5,168 hotel rooms, and provides jobs for over 7,000 team members. Golden Entertainment owns eight resort casinos – seven in Southern Nevada and one in Maryland. Through its distributed gaming business in Nevada and Montana, Golden Entertainment operates slot machines at over 1,000 locations and owns nearly 60 traditional taverns in Nevada. The Company is licensed in Illinois to operate video gaming terminals. Golden Entertainment is focused on maximizing the value of its portfolio by leveraging its scale, leadership position and proven management capabilities across its two divisions. For more information, visit

View source version on

Golden Entertainment, Inc.
Charles H. Protell, 702-893-7777
Chief Financial Officer
Investor Relations
Joseph Jaffoni, Richard Land, James Leahy, 212-835-8500

Source: Golden Entertainment, Inc.

Jul 8, 2018

A visit to the Big Horn Café in the Laughlin River Lodge

Laughlin, NV

Big Horn Café  

 A group of us stopped at the Big Horn Café to have a bite to eat before the Fireworks on the 4th of July.    The places was unexpectedly not very busy.  Perhaps more people had dined earlier or were going to the Buffet. 

Everything was good and prices were good.  The burger was cooked nicely and the Big Horn Fries were tasty.

A Dos Equis draft special is going on (in July) for a buck. We had never tried one but it was refreshing, especially for a dollar.

Everyone at the table split some wings.  They were good, only complaint was more drummies than the other side of the wing.  

Specials, Loaded Dogs were listed on a sign by the door.  However, our server did not mention them to us.  Nor did she tell us about any other specials going on.  We would of definitely have tried to Rib Special if we had known (found out about them on Facebook after the fact).   In fact, overall service seemed a bit slow and uneven.  Especially since they were not too busy.  

Big Horn Café has a late night Steak and Eggs Special for just $3.99.  We have had it off the regular breakfast menu at full price, and it is a good deal.  You have to catch it between 11pm-6am, Sunday-Thursdays only.    

Big Horn Café  has a very good Happy Hour (in the Lounge) Wednesday-Sunday 4pm-6pm with music.   

John Roddy, who was voted Best Bartender in the 2018 Best of Laughlin awards is often tending the bar located right next to the lounge area seating. 

(there is no gaming/machines at the bar)

Big Horn Café has a nice view of the Colorado River.  We have enjoyed our visits and will be back again.   Be sure to ask your server if there are any specials. 

Big Horn Café  is located in the Laughlin River Lodge

Jul 6, 2018

Laughlin Visitor Volume Down 2.2% for May 2018

Laughlin, NV

Statistics released by the LVCVA for May of 2018 showed Laughlin visitor numbers down 2.2% (compared to the same period in May of 2017).     


Laughlin Visitor volumes 
May 2018          160,500 visitors
May of 2017      164,100 visitors 

Total room occupancy rates in Laughin  64.6% 

Total room nights occupied was down -0.6% to 197,500.

The average daily room rate in Laughlin 
increased 12% to $53.17.  

Revenue per available room (RevPAR*) increased 
12% percent to $34.35  
* RevPAR is an important economic indicator in the hotel industry

Gaming Win was up though Visitor Numbers were down

Visitor volume was down -2.2% while gross gaming revenues in Laughlin increased 1.6% in May of 2018   

Sources: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

* NOTE: ADR & RevPAR figures for 2017 have been restated to reflect implementation of updated accounting rules in 2018 at some properties. Previously published 2017 ADR and RevPAR figures may reflect former accounting methods.

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