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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Full House Resorts selects new chief financial officer

10 February 2015

LAS VEGAS -- Regional casino operator Full House Resorts, Inc. said it amended several credit agreements and selected a new chief financial officer as it moves forward following a recent management shake-up.

The Las Vegas-based company, which owns one casino each in the Northern Nevada community of Fallon, Mississippi and Indiana, and manages a resort in Lake Tahoe, named longtime gaming executive Dan Lee as CEO in December. Since taking over, Lee visited the company’s properties and made moves to shore up its balance sheet.

The new credit agreements allow Full House to proceed with a hotel construction project at the Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, Miss., that is expected to be completed by summer.

Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon told investors this week that Full House’s four casinos could benefit from improved regional gaming trends.

“Going forward, we view Full House as a show-me story, re-energized by new management and the Silver Slipper hotel opening,” Beynon said.

Lee, who took over in early December following a two-month proxy fight, named longtime colleague Lewis Fanger as chief financial officer. Fanger held the same position at Pinnacle Entertainment when Lee was the regional gaming company’s CEO.

Fanger spent the last two years overseeing investor relations for Wynn Resorts Ltd.

“Lewis has more than 14 years of financial and gaming industry experience, including many years in the markets where Full House operates,” Lee said.

At the end of January, Lee announced the amended credit agreements, which let the company reconfigure a hotel construction project at the Silver Slipper. The planned hotel’s room count will be reduced to 129 rooms from 142 rooms, but nine high-end luxury suites will be added.

Lee said the revised construction “will help the property stand out competitively on the Gulf Coast.”

Beynon said Full House has been challenged by “several moving pieces” over the last three years, including the cancellation of projects in Kentucky and Mississippi and increased competition at its Rising Star Casino Resort in Indiana, which draws customers from nearby Cincinnati.

“We are continuing to evaluate all of our existing properties in an effort to find additional growth opportunities,” Lee said.

Also, the company elected a new board member Bradley Tirpak as its nonexecutive chairman and re-elected UNLV business professor Carl Braunlich as vice chairman.

Full House Resorts shares have traded between 87 cents and $2.64 over the last year. On Friday, they gained 7 cents, or 5.26 percent, to close at $1.40 on Nasdaq.