Fertitta Buys Hard Rock Tahoe, Plans to Transform it into Golden Nugget

Tilman Fertitta’s Fertitta Entertainment is taking possession of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe from Paragon Gaming, and is likely to rebrand the property as a Golden Nugget venue. No financial details of the transaction, expected to be finalized in the next seven to twelve months, were disclosed. This acquisition marks Fertitta Entertainment’s first foray into the Reno-Lake Tahoe market and will be the third Golden Nugget in Nevada, joining those in downtown Las Vegas and Laughlin. Additionally, the property recently acquired in Cripple Creek, Colorado is expected to be transitioned to the Golden Nugget brand, and a new venue in Illinois is currently under construction.

The Hard Rock brand is most associated with casinos owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Paragon Gaming had rebranded the Lake Tahoe property to Hard Rock in 2015. The venue first opened in 1965 as the Sahara Tahoe, and later changed to High Sierra in 1983 and Horizon Lake Tahoe in 1990. With the sale, Paragon Gaming’s portfolio is reduced to two – OYO Hotel and Casino Las Vegas and The Den Las Vegas.

Fertitta’s purchase of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe continues a period of acquisitions and openings in the Reno-Tahoe market, with Nevada regulators recently approving Century Casinos’ $195 million purchase of the Nugget Sparks, and Elevation Entertainment announcing plans for the Firecreek Crossing Resort-Casino in Reno last November. With the addition of Legends Bay Casino in Sparks last year, Reno-Tahoe has become increasingly attractive to operators, thanks to the influx of companies such as Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, and Tesla, contributing to an unemployment rate below three percent.