Golden Entertainment buys Montana gaming-machine vendor for $25 million

Tina Gonzalez of Las Vegas plays the slots at the Golden Gaming area inside a Vons Supermarket in Las Vegas on Friday, February 1, 2013.

Billings, Mont.-based Amusement Services Inc. has been sold to Nevada's largest slot machine operator for $25 million.

With the acquisition, Las Vegas-based Golden Entertainment has added about 1,800 gaming machines in 180 retail locations in Montana, and another 350 machines on five Native American reservations, company officials said Thursday.

Tim Carson, founder of Amusement Services, is staying with the company and will be vice president of Golden Entertainment's Montana operations.

"It's giving us the opportunity to take everything to the next level of operating. Billings will be the central hub for the state. We're at a very steady growth mode," Carson said Thursday.

Amusement is transitioning to the Golden name, Carson said. The company has about 65 employees in Montana and is hoping to hire eight to 10 employees as it grows, he added.

The 10-year-old Amusement grew into one of Montana's largest gaming-machine vendors before the sale.

Golden Entertainment made the initial announcement of the purchase in April and completed $45 million of acquisitions in Montana this year.

The purchase of Amusement Service followed the February purchase of 1,000 slot machines from Montana companies C. Lohman Games Inc., Rocky Mountain Gaming Inc. and Brandy's Shoreliner Restaurant Inc. for $20 million.

Golden is now the second-largest gaming operator in Montana.

Golden became publicly traded when it merged with Lakes Entertainment in a $341 million deal last year. The company owns more than 12,000 gaming devices and 30 table games in Nevada, Maryland and Montana.

Golden also operates three casinos in Pahrump.