A Proud Native Texan in Casino Land
The gaming industry in Louisiana generates 2.4 billion dollars a year. Texans spend 2.5 billion a year on gambling. Given Louisiana’s proximity to Texas, Louisiana receives a lion’s share of that gambling money. This has to be frustrating to Texas businessmen vying for a piece of the pie. Texas’s restrictions on gambling provide this boon for Louisiana. Tillman Fertitta of Landry’s fame and a native Texan figured a way around this situation. Lau Berge Casino Resort in Lake Charles was not allowed to open a second resort because of the federal trade Commission’s restrictions on monopolies. Tillman took the advantage and was granted license. In an interview with a Houston television reporter Tillman says,” “I could not pass up the opportunity to build and operate a casino next door to my hometown. This casino will be where Louisiana locals and Texans will want to play, stay and enjoy themselves,” said Fertitta, who plans to “draw from our large South Texas and Louisiana customer base to drive business to our new resort.”
In the 1940’s, Tillman’s grandfather owned a seafood and gambling house called the Balinese Room. Stars like the famed brat pack frequented the Balinese Room. When Tillman was in high school, he worked after school in his father’s seafood restaurant. It is plain to see how he got into restaurants, seafood and gambling. He owns five hundred restaurants and he is reviving the Golden Nugget. His other ventures include, The Rainforest Café, The Chart House and Morton’s Steakhouse. His hometown ventures include, The Kemah Boardwalk, The San Luis Resort Complex, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston and the Galveston Historic Pleasure Peer. Tillman sums up his philosophy with this statement in Forbes, “I buy things that are good properties that I’m going to have forever,” he says. “I just don’t have any intention to sell anything. I believe you acquire good assets and you keep them and operate them. Twenty years from now, I’ll still be here.” Tillman is worth 2.4 billion. He is 235 on the Forbes 400 Wealthiest Americans List. Forbes calls him the world’s richest restaurateur .He built his wealth rehabbing sagging brands and is intent on taking on the casino and resort world. He also has casino holdings in Atlantic City. He plans to make his new casino into the same quality location and bring the same quality of service, but with a Texas style all his own.