Laguna Development buys Louisiana casino hotel

(Laguna, the third largest hotel operator in New Mexico, is purchasing the property as a means to expand outside of the state.)

Kicks Entertainment, a division of Laguna Development Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pueblo of Laguna, is buying the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles in Westlake, La., from Isle of Capri Casinos.

The acquisition is priced at $134.5 million, and Laguna is purchasing the property as a means to expand outside of New Mexico. Laguna Development is based in Albuquerque, N.M., and is the third largest hotel operator in the state, holding management contracts for the and the Laguna Pueblo Indian Reservation, the company currently manages the Route 66 Casino Hotel outside Albuquerque, the Dancing Eagle Casino near Grants, N.M. and a truck stop casino, Casino Express. On top of that, Laguna also manages several travel centers and convenience stores. However, according to the company’s chief of sales and marketing, Skip Sayre, Laguna has been looking for a way to move beyond New Mexico due to its struggling economy.

“Our acquisition of the Isle of Capri Casino in Lake Charles is the culmination of a two-year business development effort to expand LDC both within and outside of New Mexico,” Jerry Smith, LDC president & CEO, said in a statement. “Lake Charles is Louisiana’s largest casino market. With our operating principals of quality, service and value we expect to continue to generate solid financial results for our owners and investors.”

The casino's 492 guestrooms are spread across two buildings.

Isle of Capri Casinos is based in St. Louis and has owned the Louisiana property for more than 20 years. The company has properties in seven states, and most recently opened a $60-million casino in Bettendorf, Iowa. Its recent sale of the hotel in Westlake, La., still requires approval from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, meaning the deal is not expected to be closed until early 2017.

“While we work on a smooth transition to Kicks Entertainment, our focus remains on providing our customers with the great experiences they have come to expect from Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles,” said Eric Hausler, CEO of Isle of Capri Casinos.

Included in the deal is a 50,000-square-foot riverboat casino, 492 guestrooms, several food & beverage outlets and covered parking. The guestrooms are located in two separate hotels, the Tower and Inn at the Isle.