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LAS VEGAS-As a result of a settlement related to the bankrupt estate of President Riverboat Casino-Missouri Inc., locally based Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. is effectively acquiring the President Casino in St. Louis for $41.5 million. The US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted a motion Tuesday to approve the settlement.

President Casinos Inc. and President Riverboat Casino-Missouri Inc. have been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since June 20, 2002. In 2005, the company sold its Biloxi, Miss., hotel and casino for $82 million, leaving only its riverboat operations in St. Louis.

In May 2006, Pinnacle cut a $31.5-million deal for President’s St. Louis Riverfront property that was contingent upon licensing approval by the Missouri Gaming Commission and final approval of the debtors’ bankruptcy plan by the court. In July, as part of its effort to receive approval to acquire the property, Pinnacle made a move to acquire more of St. Louis-based President Casinos Inc., agreeing with creditors of the company to acquire its debt and related claims for a total of approximately $62 million.

Pursuant to Tuesday’s settlement and President Riverboat Casino-Missouri Inc.’s reorganization plan, Pinnacle will pay the aforementioned $31.5 million for President Riverboat Casino-Missouri Inc.’s common stock and receive a distribution of approximately $52 million from the estate. The cost of the debt and the cost of the casino minus the distribution means Pinnacle effectively will have paid approximately $41.5 million for the President Casino in St. Louis and certain related assets. Pinnacle may receive up to another $5 million in payments at a later date, and has agreed to waive an additional $5 million in claims.

A hearing to consider confirmation of President Riverboat Casino-Missouri Inc.’s reorganization plan is scheduled to take place on Nov. 29. After that, the Missouri Gaming Commission must approve the change of control.

President Casino St. Louis Riverfront is located within walking distance of the Laclede’s Landing historic district and Pinnacle’s St. Louis City project. Groundbreaking on Pinnacle’s nearby $430-million downtown project took place in September 2005. The first-class resort will open in 2007 and will include a 90,000-sf casino, a 200-room luxury hotel, restaurants and 12,000 sf of meeting and convention space.

In November 2005, the company broke ground on the $375-million River City Casino & Hotel in the Lemay area of south St. Louis County. Scheduled to open in 2008, the casino resort will have 100 hotel rooms, a full-service spa, restaurants, a boutique bowling alley, a multiplex movie theatre, an indoor ice rink, a public park with athletic fields and a hatch-shell music and entertainment venue.

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