SPARKS, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Sparks Nugget Inc. announced today that it has reached agreement with Global Gaming & Hospitality (GGH) and Husky Finance in the sale of John Ascuaga’s Nugget. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Husky Finance, a middle-market lender, will provide acquisition financing and growth capital for renovation of the Nugget, while GGH, a private casino management and merchant advisory firm, will assume responsibility for operations of the property.
"My family and I believe that the sale of John Ascuaga's Nugget at this time is the best possible scenario for our employees and the future of the Nugget. The new owners have the financial resources needed to invest in the property and allow it -- and its 1,300 employees -- to prosper in the years ahead," said Michonne Ascuaga, CEO of John Ascuaga's Nugget.
The sale requires regulatory approval by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission and is expected be completed by Jan. 1, 2014. The Ascuaga family will remain in a leadership role through the transition. Once the sale is complete, John Ascuaga will be Chairman Emeritus. Michonne Ascuaga and Stephen Ascuaga, COO, will assume advisory roles.
GGH Co-Owner Carlton Geer will be the new President & CEO of the Nugget. Geer has been involved in the gaming and hospitality industry for 40 years. He has spent four years at the Eldorado Hotel Casino in the early 80s followed by 13 years at the Peppermill Hotel Casino, the last three as its general manager.
The new owners expect to invest $50 million in the property over the next few years. GGH’s improvement plans for the Nugget include renovating and updating the casino floor, hotel rooms, restaurants, convention space and exterior. Capital plans include spending about $20 million over the first two years in new slot equipment, renovating restaurants, substantial casino and public area refurbishment and room renovation, among other upgrades.
According to GGH, the name John Ascuaga’s Nugget will remain in the near term, with a potential name change in the future. Nugget customer programs, such as John’s Club will remain intact. No lay-offs are planned as a result of the sale and current employees will retain their seniority and benefits.
The Nugget's long-standing community programs such as providing Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at St. Vincent's Dining Room and the Nugget Scholarship program will continue. The Nugget's special events like the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off and Star Spangled Sparks will also carry on.
Dick Graves opened The Sparks Nugget on March 17, 1955 as a 60-seat coffee shop with a handful of slot machines. John Ascuaga, then general manager, purchased the Sparks Nugget in 1960 for $3.775 million on a handshake. Under John and two of his children, Michonne and Stephen's, leadership, the Nugget has grown into one of the largest Northern Nevada hotel casinos with over 1600 hotel rooms, 75,000 square feet of casino gaming, 110,000 square feet of convention space, nine restaurants, a sports book, bingo parlor, poker room, a unique indoor/outdoor swimming pool, wedding chapel, salon and spa, arcade, a cabaret, the legendary 700-seat Celebrity Showroom and more.