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BOSSIER CITY, LA-The newest kid on the block, Legends Gaming LLC, is making plans for a $30-milion renovation to its first pieces of real estate: a pair of casinos bought off market from Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. and re-branded to DiamondJacks. All the soft changes have been made; the heavy lifting could start in December.

“We don’t want construction disruption to affect our customers so the renovations will happen in pieces,” says Dan Marshall, COO and CFO for the Frankford, IL-based Legends. He tells GlobeSt.com that the Legends team is meeting with architects today to review preliminary design plans for a two-year construction program for the 38-acre DiamondJacks Casino & Resort at 711 Isle of Capri Blvd. in Bossier City and 18-acre DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel at 4116 Washington St. in Vicksburg, MS.

Legends, founded by a trio of long-time gaming executives, staked its first claim in a surprise market move by acquiring the two casino properties, a $240-million deal thatwent into play Feb. 14 and was consummated July 31. August started with vinyl wrappings going over all signs, name changes for the assets’ restaurants and other soft changes. The upcoming renovations will strip the properties of Isle of Capri’s Caribbean decor and replace it with earth-tone colors and wood. “They won’t look anything like the Caribbean by the time we are finished,” Marshall stresses.

The Bossier City property, developed in 1994, consists of a 570-room hotel, four restaurants, spa, 39,000-sf pavilion, 1,400-seat stage, RV park and 30,000-sf, tri-level casino riverboat. The Vicksburg asset, built in 1993, has a 122-room hotel, two restaurants and a fast-food eatery, 12,500-sf pavilion and a 25,000-sf, bi-level casino barge. Marshall says the two casino footprints generate $45 million per year in EBITDA.

Legends’ equity partner and lender is CIT Communications, Media and Entertainment’s gaming unit, an affiliate of New York City-based CIT Group Inc. The investment banker provided a $222-million, senior-secured credit facility plus formed equity partnerships to help fund the deal. Marshall says all allocations are complete. CIT Capital Securities LLC arranged the financing and was Legends’ financial adviser.

Marshall and his partners–William McEnery and Michael Kelly–have rolled out the new gaming company to be a long-term owner in regional markets. “We are looking at other opportunities in the marketplace,” Marshall says. Scouts are out in Colorado, Iowa and the Gulf Coast’s gaming states.

Although the plan is to add more gaming properties, Legends’ business model isn’t to “buy something for the sake of buying it,” Marshall stresses. “Our plan is to grow the company with the right opportunity in the right market at the right price.”

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