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Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment reopened portions of its casino in hurricane-ravaged St. Charles, La., over the weekend and hopes to have the entire $365 million property operating by this week.
Three of Pinnacle's Gulf Coast casinos were closed over the past two months because of hurricanes. The company reopened two restaurants at L'Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles on Friday. The property's 30,000-square-foot floating casino opened Saturday.
As staff that was evacuated in Hurricane Rita's aftermath returns to the community, Pinnacle plans to reopen the rest of the resort, including its 26-story 750-room hotel tower.
When it opened, L'Auberge became Lake Charles' gaming revenue leader. The property collected more than $20 million in gaming revenues in its first month of business.
Two weeks ago, Pinnacle became the first casino company in New Orleans to resume operations.
In Lake Charles, recovery workers used L'Auberge as a base of operations as they worked to restore power and services to the city.
"We believe that reopening our property is one of many important steps that will help our community regain a sense of normalcy," Pinnacle Chairman Dan Lee said.
Grand Coushatta, an American Indian casino north of Lake Charles, is scheduled to reopen later this week. Casinos operated by Harrah's Entertainment and Isle of Capri haven't set a reopening date.
Pinnacle's Casino Magic in Biloxi, Miss., was heavily damaged by Katrina and has not reopened.
Pinnacle has insurance covering business interruption and property claims of up to $400 million. The company said in recent statements it can file claims up to that amount for each hurricane.
Since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, Pinnacle's stock price has dropped 23.9 percent.
On Monday, Pinnacle shares rose 21 cents, or 1.19 percent, to close at $17.81 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
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