Cash in at Trailer Station, but hurry

Call it Trailer Station.

Station Casinos won preliminary approval from gaming regulators last week to operate a small trailer with 16 slot machines at the former Castaways site near Fremont Street and the Boulder Highway.

But don't sign up for those Boarding Passes too quickly. The trailer will have an eight-hour life span.

Station Casinos is protecting a grandfather clause on the site, which would allow the company to build a large casino without a now-required hotel component. To keep the old zoning alive, the company must have active gambling at least one day every two years.

The Castaways, which was best known as the Showboat, was imploded in January 2006 and the 26-acre site was turned into a dirt lot.

Station Casinos acquired the bankrupt Castaways in October 2004 for $33.7 million.

Gaming Control Board member Mark Clayton said requests similar to Station Casinos' appear two or three times a year from land owners around the state who want to protect entitlements.

Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said a date has not been set for when the trailer will be on site. Las Vegas officials still need to approve the trailer.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is turning its attention toward Thailand.

Company Chairman Sheldon Adelson told Asian media he is interested in developing a resort in Thailand if the government legalizes gambling.

Bear Stearns gaming analyst Joe Greff thought a single integrated development, similar to the $3.6 billion Marina Bay Sands the company is developing in Singapore, would benefit the country more than several small casinos.

A previous attempt to legalize casinos in Thailand ended because of religious protests.

California lawmakers signed off on a revised Indian casino compact that could bring 5,500 more slot machines to the state.

The compact is the fifth new agreement between tribes with existing casinos and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The tribes can add slot machines while the state receives increased fees from the casinos. The five compacts could total up to 22,500 new slot machines starting Jan. 1.

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, typically media-shy, released a brief statement on the death of former casino executive Alex James Shoofey, who worked for the gaming pioneer in the 1960s.

"Alex was instrumental to the development and success of the International Hotel, and his contributions to Las Vegas cannot be overstated," said Kerkorian, 90, the largest shareholder in MGM Mirage.

The Inside Gaming column is compiled by Review-Journal gaming and tourism writers Howard Stutz, Benjamin Spillman and Arnold M. Knightly. Send your tips about the gaming and tourism industry to