A Las Vegas-based company looking to bridge the gap between video games and slot machines won recommendations of approval on a series of licenses from the short-handed state Gaming Control Board on Wednesday.
GameCo, which bills itself as “the video game casino,” has been licensed in New Jersey and now wants to bring its portfolio of video games to Nevada’s casino floors.
Meeting in Carson City, the board, comprised of new Chairwoman Sandra Morgan and member Terry Johnson, forwarded the recommendation to the Nevada Gaming Commission, which will consider final approval on Feb. 28. A vacancy on the board has yet to be filled by Gov. Steve Sisolak.
Licenses recommended for approval were for CEO Blaine Graboyes (his legal last name on the state application is Goldman), board chairman Robert Montgomery, director Seth Schorr and Mash3 Separate Property Trust as GameCo shareholders. The board also approved licensing of dozens of non-voting shareholders with less than 5 percent company control.
It was recommended that Graboyes’ individual licensing be conditioned for two years after board members questioned his treatment of tax liabilities from years ago and his failure to report lawsuits and liens resulting from those liabilities during his licensing suitability investigation.
Through an attorney, Graboyes explained that last month he amended tax returns from 2012 to 2016 to provide a full accounting of his finances to investigators. He said he wasn’t aware that his tax liabilities had resulted in liens until he prepared the amended returns.
Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming, operator of Downtown Grand Las Vegas, told board members he has watched Goldman’s development of GameCo and the company’s roster of interactive skill-based games that include titles like Call of Duty, Nothin’ But Net, Steve Aoki’s Neon Dream and Terminator 2.
Graboyes told the board his company is developing video game titles to encourage young players to move to casino versions of the same game to boost revenue. He said he has already contacted two Strip resorts that he didn’t name to test new games when they’re ready for distribution.
GameCo has 27 employees at its Pilot Road headquarters and 12 at a New York office.
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Morgan takes over
Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan isn’t likely to forget the first licensing matter over which she presided.
It was a transfer of interest for one of the most colorfully named licensees in the state — the Bucket of Blood Saloon in Virginia City.
Stephen McBride has proposed to transfer the license that has been in the McBride family for 88 years to his son, Marshall.
Morgan and her colleague, Terry Johnson, had few questions for Marshall McBride, whose small tavern was built in the center of the region made famous by the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode. The Bucket of Blood is marketed as a place to “belly up to the bar and stand where the likes of Mark Twain once stood.”
Marshall and Johnson recommended approval of the license transfer that will be considered by the Nevada Gaming Commission on Feb. 28.