One-time Resorts World Las Vegas top exec now managing Calif. Indian casino

Christian Goode traded away the prospects of pandas on the Strip to oversee the reopening of a central California Indian casino that was shut down last fall by federal agents.

It’s an interesting choice.

Goode walked away in January from the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas for “personal reasons.” He has since formed Ivory Gaming, a casino management company, with New York-based marketing, political and investment strategist Bradley Tusk.

In Las Vegas, Goode was the face of the Resorts World development for Malaysia-based Genting Berhad. He was on hand for the March 2013 announcement with Gov. Brian Sandoval when Genting bought the unfinished Echelon site for $350 million from Boyd Gaming Corp. The company said it would turn the halted project into an Asian-themed resort, even teasing the idea of a live panda exhibit.

Goode was front and center in May 2014, describing Resorts World in detail for Nevada gaming regulators when Genting was given a preliminary finding of suitability, one step below an actual gaming license. However, his departure was sudden and never formally announced by Genting. In an email, a company spokesman described the separation as “amicable.”

Goode sees possibilities through launching Ivory Gaming.

“We’re interested in investing in start-ups,” Goode said. “There are a lot of opportunities on the horizon.”

The first venture is reopening the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino near Fresno. Goode was hired this month by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians to be the casino’s chief operating officer, with hopes the resort will be up and running by Labor Day. Once the company goes through state and federal approval process, Ivory Gaming will become the property’s management company through a contract with the tribe.

On paper, the development seems like an easy assignment.

The 400-room hotel-casino is located in Coarsegold, 35 miles north of Fresno and 27 miles south of the entrance to Yosemite National Park. The property is licensed for 2,000 slot machines, but operates 1,700 devices along with 40 table games. Chukchansi Gold also has a spa and several restaurants.

California is the nation’s largest Indian gaming state, with 68 casino’s producing more than $7 billion in gaming revenue in fiscal 2014, one-fourth of the overall total.

The resort, Goode said, attracts visitors from the San Francisco Bay area.

“It’s the best facility in central California,” Goode said. “There are a lot of people looking forward to the casino coming back.”

Chukchansi Gold closed last October after an altercation between rival factions of the tribe had to be broken up by federal agents. The shutdown displaced more than 1,000 workers.

The tribal council this month announced it secured a $35 million loan to reopen the resort once it receives state and federal approval.

“We’re working through the process right now,” Goode said on bringing back the workers. He said the tribe is working with federal officials to re-open the casino.

“These are just the first steps on our journey to provide our tribal members with opportunity and economic stability,” Chukchansi Chairman Reggie Lewis said in a statement.

With Genting, Goode was the top executive for the Malaysia conglomerate in the U.S. He led development of the $880 million Resorts World New York, the large slot machine-only casino attached to the Aqueduct Race Track. He was president of Genting’s planned Resorts World development in Miami, but the project was never built because Florida never legalized a casino for the Biscayne Bay site.

If you believe Coarsegold is a step down from New York, Miami or Las Vegas, think again. Goode sees the assignment as getting back to his roots. He worked at tribal casinos in New York and Oklahoma.

As for Resorts World Las Vegas, the property has yet to begin actual construction. Genting held a ceremonial groundbreaking in May and hired a Las Vegas construction firm to complete the parking garage that will eventually be utilized for workers hired to build the development, which will be completed over multiple phases.

Goode has moved beyond Resorts World.

With regional gaming markets recovering and Indian gaming projects seeing new investment opportunities, Goode said Ivory Gaming could be starting up at the right time.

“I think this is a great fit for our company,” Goode said.

Howard Stutz’s Inside Gaming column appears Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Find on Twitter: @howardstutz

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like