Greater Cincinnati casino company grows with hotel acquisition

Greater Cincinnati casino company grows with hotel acquisition

Union-based Premier Gaming Group has purchased a Natchez, Miss. hotel along with an investment partner

A Cincinnati entrepreneur is growing his gaming company with the purchase of its second property.

Premier Gaming Group of Union partnered with the Virginia-based EB-5 investment company to form Casino Holding Investment Partners LLC and purchase the 141-room Isle of Capri Hotel in Natchez, Miss.

Premier Gaming founder Kevin Preston said this is his company’s second property in the city. It also co-owns the Magnolia Bluffs Casino that it built and opened in December 2012. The casino has 500 slot machines, 16 table games, a fine dining restaurant, buffet, bar and large deck area.

Preston said he expects to invest about $15 million in the purchase of the hotel and its remodeling.

He said the investors began talks with the hotel’s owners last year after determining that Natchez was a one-casino market. The hotel casino will cease operations on Oct. 11, and renovations and rebranding will begin shortly thereafter. The goal is to begin with the lobby and first floors of guest rooms in order to reopen select floors by the end of the year.

Preston originally moved to Northern Kentucky to become the chief operating officer of Tropicana Gaming. The casino subsidiary of Columbia Sussex filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2009, and after its demise, Preston decided to start his own casino company. Now, he’s been in the industry for 25 years.

Preston is Premier’s only corporate employee of its 243 workers, but he expects that to change as it continues to grow.

“As we grow, we’ll start bringing a couple people onto our corporate staff,” Preston told me.

He expects Premier to continue to be headquartered in Northern Kentucky because his family is happy in the Tri-State. Its expansion, though, will likely take place elsewhere.

“The growth plan is really either through acquisitions or new development getting to where we have four or five casinos,” Preston said.

He told me he’s reviewing several projects throughout Mississippi and others in Iowa that could have potential. As he celebrates Magnolia Bluffs’ third anniversary this year, he’s looking ahead to having another casino under the company’s umbrella by the end of 2016.


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