Intrepid Gaming, a Las Vegas company, said Thursday that it has applied for licenses to operate Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas, which has been closed for about 13 months.
In a statement Thursday, Intrepid Gaming said it has started licensing for the property and casino management and that an opening date will come later. The property, the lone casino at Lake Las Vegas, a Henderson development, closed March 14, 2010, costing 177 people their jobs.
"With the Ravella's recent opening, we believe the time is right for Lake Las Vegas to 'rise like the Phoenix' and become a great success story," Intrepid CEO Jon Berkley said in the statement.
A reopening of Casino MonteLago would continue a comeback for Lake Las Vegas. Dolce Hotels and Resorts, an international boutique lodging chain, in February opened the 349-room Ravella at Lake Las Vegas, roughly five months after taking over operation of the site that had been the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas.
Dolce leased the former Ritz-Carlton site in September from Village Hospitality LLC, an affiliate of Deutsche Bank.
Intrepid's Berkley has served on the Gaming Standards Association, a trade organization dedicated to ensuring open standards in gaming, and is former CEO of Las Vegas Gaming, a casino game management system operator.
Also in the statement, Intrepid Chief Operating Officer Marcus Suan said Casino Montelago will have a back-to-basics style slot club emphasizing value to patrons.
Suan is a former vice president for slot operations for Coast Casinos, which is now owned by Boyd Gaming Corp.
According to published reports, Intrepid Gaming applied for a nonrestricted gaming license with the Gaming Control Board on Feb. 14.
Controversy surrounded Casino MonteLago's closure last year.
Although the U.S. Department of Labor's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires company managers to give employees 60 days notice when a business is planning to shut down or provide 60 days of pay, Casino MonteLago workers got less notice and less pay.
Casino MonteLago workers were notified Feb. 16, 2010, fewer than 30 days before the closure, and were told they'd receive 30 days of pay.
On Feb. 24, 2010, John Tipton, a Denver-based attorney representing CIRI Lakeside Gaming, which operated CasinoMonteLago from 2007 until its closure, said Casino MonteLago's ownership had been negotiating for additional funding. However, he said, negotiations collapsed when the Ritz-Carlton's planned closure was announced on Feb. 8, 2010.
Tipton told the Review-Journal that the Ritz-Carlton's action was unexpected and unforeseeable.
"These circumstances are a clear exception to providing the 60-day notice pursuant to (the WARN Act)," Tipton said, citing the subsection that covers a reduction in the notification period. "The owners also made it clear why the notice period was being reduced."
Employees, he said, were asked to sign a document saying they had received a copy of the WARN Act. But several people, claiming to be employees of Casino MonteLago, contacted the Review-Journal saying they were threatened with "immediate termination" if they questioned the 30-day payments.
When it opened on April 23, 2003, Casino MonteLago, built at a cost of $60 million, was small by Las Vegas standards. It had 40,000 square feet of gaming space, 675 slot machines, 15 table games and a race and sports book. It also had two restaurants.
Casino MonteLago, originally owned by the Cook Inlet Indian tribe in Alaska, faced closure in June 2007. An emergency meeting then by Nevada gaming regulators saved the casino as management was allowed to keep the casino alive until the ownership was licensed three months later.
Contact reporter Matthew Crowley at mcrowley@reviewjournal. com or 702-383-0304.