Game on

Texas billionaire's glitzy hotel and casino rolls the dice with big reopening

Texas billionaire's hotel and casino rolls the dice with big reopening

Golden Nugget hotel pool exterior
The Golden Nugget hotel and casino is back in business. Photo courtesy of Golden Nugget

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta is betting on travel-hungry Texans looking to brave the pandemic and escape the confines of home with the reopening of his Golden Nugget Lake Charles hotel, pool, and restaurants on Friday, May 15.

High rollers and gamblers, take note: The casino — which boasts 75 table games, a high-limit salon, a poker room, and 1,600 slot machines — will reopen on Monday, May 18.  

Several Golden Nugget restaurants will also reopen their dining rooms on May 15, including Landry's Seafood House, Vic & Anthony’s, Saltgrass Steak House, and Bill’s Bar & Burger.

The splash-worthy H20 Pool and Lazy River, private beach, marina, and all retail will also open on May 15. Other amenities will open based on business demands, according to a press release. Also a major draw (forgive the pun), the 7,000-yard golf course, will be available for tee time from 8 am to 4 pm Wednesdays through Sundays.

All facets of the Golden Nugget operation will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control, according to a statement.

According to Fertitta and Gerry Del Prete, senior vice president of gaming operations, the hotel/casino has worked with public health professionals on the reopening and will follow new safety protocols including:

  • Addressing team member and guest health
  • Maintaining temperature checkpoints 
  • Ensuring physical distancing 
  • Making hand washing and hand sanitizer available 
  • Providing COVID-19 training and PPE equipment to staff
  • Requiring guests to wear masks on the gaming floor
  • Enhancing cleaning products and protocols in public spaces and guest rooms
  • Encouraging physical distancing on the casino floor (which will run at 25 percent)

The casino complex is in Lake Charles, Louisiana, about 345 miles from Dallas. Travelers can make reservations online or by calling 844-777-4653. (Governor Greg Abbott recently ended the 14-day self-quarantine mandate for travelers entering Texas from Louisiana.)

Fertitta is the Houston-based owner and CEO of Golden Nugget Casinos, as well as the Landry’s restaurant chain and the Houston Rockets. In March, his Landry's, Inc. laid off approximately 40,000 workers across its casinos, hotels, and restaurants.

“We have anxiously awaited this reopening and look forward to welcoming the Lake Charles and surrounding communities back to our hotel and casino,” Fertitta says in a statement. “This is a step in the right direction to getting our employees back to work. We are following CDC, state and regulatory guidelines and taking all the prudent and essential measures to maintain a safe and clean environment for our guests and employees.”