Rival regional casino operators Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) - Get Report and Pinnavle Entertainment Inc. (PNK) - Get Report are considering a merger, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Deal talks have been on-again, off-again as the two firms have been unable to come to an agreement on definitive merger terms. Penn National is still interested in buying Pinnacle, insiders said.

No deal is confirmed, and there could be no deal at all. Penn National shares gained 3.5% late Thursday to $23.70, while Pinnacle rose 6.8% to $23.35.

A tie-in between the two could create a heavyweight contender in the casino industry. Pinnacle had a market value of about $1.3 billion early Thursday and Penn National had a market value of about $2.1 billion. Penn National operates 27 facilities and Pinnacle operates 16 properties.

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