Navegante Group’s planned exit as the licensed casino operator at Hooters Casino is happening after four years of successfully managing the casino operations.
Navegante Group, a long time hospitality specialist in casino development, management and strategic turnarounds, took over the management of Hooters’ casino operations in March 2012 when a financial capital group took ownership of Hooters. A hotel management group friendly with the financial group was brought in to operate all of the non-gaming operations for the property, i.e. hotel, food and beverage, entertainment and retail. Navegante’s management role was anticipated to be a six-month stewardship of the property’s gaming operations until the capital group found a buyer, which they did in May 2015.
During their tenure, Navegante Group appointed a very well-known and respected gaming executive, Mark Sterbens, Sr., as the General Manager of all gaming operations. Navegante Group normalized the gaming operations, optimized the casino management and accounting systems and developed new casino marketing initiatives including launching a new tiered players club and direct marketing programs. Results guided Hooters to increasing casino revenues continuously year-over-year, even as Las Vegas Strip casinos endured significant decreases in the wake of the “Great Recession.”
Navegante has positioned the gaming operations to be able to lease the casino operations out to a permanent casino operator. The new lessee will assume that role as Navegante Group leaves after more than four years of successfully managing the casino operations.
“Navegante Group is proud that its management of Hooters’ casino operations helped position the casino for the new owners to find a long term lessee,” said Larry Woolf, Navegante’ s CEO. “We took over under difficult circumstances, ensured continuity and implemented improvements on the casino floor while maintaining high employee morale and engagement. We look forward to monitoring Hooters’ continued success.”
The 30,000 sq. ft. Hooters-themed casino floor houses 370 slot and video poker machines, including over 100 new games, 22 table games and a William Hill sportsbook.