Colorado company buys Nugget Casino Resort

SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) — Colorado-based Century Casinos announced Wednesday that it is buying 100% of the Nugget Casino Resort from Sparks and 50% of the company that owns the land the Nugget operates on for $195 million.

Century Casinos will have an option to purchase the remaining 50% from owner Smooth Bourbon, LLC for $105 million within five years.

“We have long considered entering the Reno market and believe the Nugget is a perfect fit for our portfolio,” Erwin Haitzmann and Peter Hoetzinger, co-CEOs of Century Casinos, said in a statement. “We believe there are many upsides to this transaction and have identified areas of improvement to continue the growth of the Nugget. We expect the Nugget to integrate seamlessly and provide additional synergies for Century Casinos US portfolio.

Once the sale is complete, Century Casinos’ North American portfolio will include 10 casinos with 6,700 gaming machines and 140 table games. It includes casinos from the Midwest, Colorado and Canada.

The Nugget has a long history in Sparks. Dick Graves opened it along with other Nugget casinos in western Nevada. Graves retired and John Ascuaga took it over in 1960 and made it one of the best known casinos in the area. It has booked many stars in its showroom and earned a reputation for having some of the best restaurants in the area, anchored by the Awful Awful burger.

The Best of the West Nugget Rib Cook-off is a major tourist attraction every year.

The Ascuaga family sold the property in 2013 and Ascuaga died in 2021 at age 96.

Marnell Gaming is the current owner. He bought and razed the location of Karl’s Silver Club and built an outdoor amphitheater there.

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