The chips are beginning to pile up for Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE:PNK) as the small casino operator continues its winning streak. This morning, the Las Vegas-based company announced third-quarter adjusted net income (excluding $5.7 million in one-time charges) of $2.5 million, or $0.07 per share, on revenues that rose 5% to $146.5 million. Both measures topped expectations and showed some follow-through on last quarter, when adjusted earnings swung from an $0.08 loss to a $0.04 gain.

Pinnacle is still playing at the low-minimum tables, with annual revenues of $530 million that might make a good month for bigger fish such as Caesars Entertainment (NYSE:CZR) or Harrah's (NYSE:HET). However, the company is exhibiting signs of a sustained turnaround. After earnings bottomed out at a $70 million loss in 2002 (versus a $77 million gain just two years earlier), Pinnacle is expecting a return to profitability this year. The company has beaten estimates for four consecutive quarters and raised its outlook for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) to $97 million to $100 million.

Aside from Casino Magic-Biloxi (which was affected by Hurricane Ivan), and the Boomtown-Bossier City La. -- which continues to struggle against better-funded properties owned by Harrah's, Isle of Capri (NASDAQ:ISLE), and Penn National (NASDAQ:PENN) -- revenues continue to rise.

Pinnacle's Belterra, Ind., casino has established itself as the gem of the company. Occupancy at the property's new hotel tower topped 93%, helping to drive revenues 19% higher to $42.6 million. EBITDA margins expanded by more than five points to 25.5%, resulting in a 50% spike in earnings to $10.9 million. Today's numbers mark the 10th consecutive quarter of record results for the property.

Pinnacle's Boomtown-New Orleans casino also reported impressive results, sidestepping weather-related disruptions to post gains in both revenues and earnings. The casino trails market leader Harrah's by a wide margin but produces double the revenues of Caesars' Bally's casino (which was recently sold to satisfy antitrust regulations concerning Caesars' impending merger with Harrah's). The property, which was already the most profitable in Pinnacle's portfolio, improved EBITDA margins 140 basis points to 28.7%. Companywide margins have risen from 17.6% to 19.7% year to date and reached 21.8% for the quarter.

While the company's existing casinos are gaining momentum, new projects under development hold even more promise. Last month, the Missouri Gaming Commission gave its approval for Pinnacle to proceed with two new properties near St. Louis. Furthermore, construction continues on a $365 million facility in Lake Charles, La., featuring 745 guest rooms and a championship golf course. The new L'Auberge du Lac Casino will vie for visitors from nearby Houston with established players Harrah's and Isle of Capri.

Pinnacle is slowly climbing back into the game, a transition that will be expedited by the addition of several new properties. However, it will be a while before the results of those efforts are visible in the bottom line; until then, the company appears to be little more than an also-ran in the consolidating industry.

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Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.