Wildwood Casino Joining Golden Nugget Brand After $43 Million Sale

Written By Ken Pomponio on 04/21/2022 - Last Updated on May 6, 2022
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Wildwood Casino Hotel is being welcomed into the Golden Nugget family.

Cripple Creek’s largest casino has been purchased by Texas billionaire/Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta. 

The sale agreement was signed in November and will net Wildwood’s current owner, American Gaming Group, approximately $43 million.

The deal is expected to close this summer. At that time, Fertitta Entertainment will take control of the property, and it will be renamed, officially joining the Golden Nugget brand. 

Colorado’s Limited Gaming Control Commission must also approve the sale and extend a gaming license.

Sale talks initiated last summer

The Wildwood, which also bills itself as “The Highest Casino in the World,” opened in 2008. And with 528 slot machines and 14 table games, it can back up its claim as Cripple Creek’s largest gaming establishment. 

On the casino’s website, the Wildwood claims it paid out $17 million more in jackpots in 2021 than any other year in its history.

American Gaming also spent $14 million to construct a 101-room standalone hotel that opened in June 2021 adjacent to the casino.

According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and a Colorado Springs/Denver Gazette report, the sale agreement was reached Nov. 2. 

Talks originated last summer when an investment banker reached out to American Gaming to inquire if it would be interested in selling to Fertitta. Negotiations ensued, and an agreement was reached several months later.

The SEC filing centered around Fertitta’s exploration of taking his company public. But that plan was later scrapped.

“On November 2, 2021, we entered into an agreement to acquire Wildwood Hotel and Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado for approximately $43.0 million, subject to customary adjustments,” the filings read. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022.” While the plan to take Fertitta Entertainment public failed, the Cripple Creek acquisition is now moving forward.”

Wildwood added to Fertitta Entertainment portfolio

Fertitta has a net worth estimated at more than $6 billion and owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

The Texas billionaire’s top asset is the Landry’s restaurant chain. That portfolio features more than 600 nationwide restaurants operating under brands such as Joe’s Crab Shack, Saltgrass Steak House and Bubba Gump Shrimp, among others.

In the U.S. gaming industry, though, Fertitta is best known as the owner of the Golden Nugget casinos.  There are current Golden Nugget properties in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Nev., Atlantic City, N.J., Biloxi, Miss. and Lake Charles, La.

In addition, the Golden Nugget operates an online casino, currently available in five states where it is legal.

While not currently legal in the Centennial State, Colorado online casinos could (and should) be on the docket.

In the meantime, according to the Gazette report, Fertitta Entertainment will retain any of the Wildwood’s 300 current employees who “want to stay.”

The purchasing company also plans to continue to honor customer loyalty points earned at Wildwood. They also will be redeemable at Fertitta’s other casinos and restaurants, according to the Gazette.

Photo by Wildwood Casino Hotel
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Ken Pomponio

Ken is a fourth-generation Coloradan and career sports journalist with more than 30 years covering the gamut from the preps to the pros. A lifelong Front Range resident and son of 1960s Denver Broncos season-ticket holders, he is a long-time sports betting enthusiast whose insight and passion shine through in his coverage at PlayColorado.

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