LAS VEGAS | Nevada regulators have approved a merger between Pinnacle Entertainment and rival Ameristar Casinos.
The $869 million deal will more than double Pinnacle's size.
Pinnacle owns seven U.S. casinos and a racetrack, and has another casino under development. Ameristar has eight casinos including one in East Chicago.
The deal had the approval of the boards of both Las Vegas operators, but needed the Nevada Gaming Commission to sign off. The commission approved the deal Thursday.
Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. has said the acquisition would save it at least $40 million a year and boost earnings.
Pinnacle has casinos in Louisiana, Missouri and Indiana.
Ameristar's holdings include casinos in Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, Mississippi, Indiana and Nevada.
Pinnacle Entertainment's shares rose to their highest level in more than four years in April.
In a December conference call, Pinnacle CEO Anthony Sanfilippo said Pinnacle will stay with current branding for the casinos it acquires for "at least the foreseeable future." That means the Ameristar name should stay on the East Chicago casino for the time being.
Pinnacle executives on the call also said the new casinos their company will acquire in St. Louis and Indiana will give it new geographical reach in the Midwest, and specifically mentioned Chicago.
Also in December, Ameristar spokeswoman Roxanne Kincaid said it would be "business as usual" at the East Chicago location during the acquisition process.