Casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., of Las Vegas, announced today that it is buying the Heartland Poker Tour and its related assets, including poker website domain names, for $4.5 million.
Bluff Magazine reported that Pinnacle successfully bid $4.5 million this week in a bankruptcy auction for the assets of bankrupt sister companies Federated Sports & Gaming Inc. and Federated Heartland Inc. A Pinnacle spokeswoman today confirmed the purchase and price.
The Federated companies own both the Heartland Poker Tour and the Epic Poker League. The companies filed for bankruptcy in February in Maryland.
Pinnacle, a creditor in the bankruptcy case, is expected to convert its $2.1 million debt claim into equity, potentially reducing its cash outlay as the winning bidder to $2.4 million.
Pinnacle didn't mention the Epic Poker League in Friday's announcement about the Heartland Poker Tour. Bluff reported that there has been speculation that Pinnacle won't use the Epic brand.
"We will obviously need some time to assess all of our new assets and brands," Pinnacle spokeswoman Kerry Andersen said.
But she added, "These are well-known, respected brands and we are excited about the opportunity to expand them.''
The Heartland Poker Tour is a live, televised poker tournament series that made 17 stops in 15 states in 2011. Pinnacle's River City and Lumiere Place casinos in St. Louis also hosted Heartland Poker Tour events in March.
Heartland is in its eighth season and broadcasts events on hundreds of network television, cable and satellite stations throughout the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.
"The acquisitions provide Pinnacle Entertainment with one of the poker industry's most powerful brand and intellectual property portfolios, as well as the opportunity to expand the Heartland Poker Tour and more extensively integrate its events into our network of casino properties," Pinnacle CEO Anthony Sanfilippo said in a statement. "In addition, the acquisitions provide several elements that will help advance our online gaming strategy."
In addition to its poker tour, Heartland registered numerous website domain names, including heartlandpokertour.com, northamericanpokertour.net and westcoastpokerseries.com.