Gaming regulators create opening between marijuana, casinos

Updated May 17, 2018 - 6:14 pm

Can a gaming licensee lease a building from a businessman who also rents to someone in the marijuana business?

Yes, the Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously determined Thursday.

In what was the first case in which regulators had to make a determination of whether a gaming licensee was too closely aligned with the marijuana business since industry policy makers clarified the issue earlier this year, commissioners voted unanimously to support a license for Apollo Coin Corp. for The Lodge at St. Rose.

Licensee Stuart Apollo had told the state Gaming Control Board and the commission that he wanted to develop an upscale tavern with a restricted license in Henderson.

Apollo had planned for 15 slot machines in the tavern.

Investigators found that Apollo had negotiated a lease with an option to buy a building at 3540 St. Rose Parkway and when it was determined that landlords had contracts with business associates in the marijuana industry, it triggered a policy discussion.

The commission determined after meetings of the state’s Gaming Policy Committee in February that gaming regulators would frown upon a licensee conducting business with anyone in the marijuana business. Federal law enforcement personnel consider marijuana an illegal controlled substance, even though Nevada voters allowed its use for medical and recreational purposes.

The Control Board recommended approval of Apollo’s request on May 3, but the commission had the final say and unanimously concurred.

In other action, commissioners licensed a British company as a new competitor in gaming information technology in a segment that is poised for growth.

Commissioners unanimously approved Brighton, United Kingdom-based Miomni Gaming Ltd. as a geo-location and information technology service provider.

With the potential expansion of mobile sports wagering as a result of Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, commissioners were anxious to question Miomni CEO Mike Venner about technological advancements in geotechnology and how it will develop apps for mobile sports wagering.

Operators will need to enforce gaming within the borders of states that approve sports betting, and Miomni technology is used to pinpoint the location of an individual gambling from a mobile device.

Venner said the company has previous agreements on other products with Nevada operators, and currently has contracts with Caesars Entertainment Corp., Station Casinos, Boyd Gaming and Wynn Resorts Ltd.

In other business, the commission approved a one-day, slot-machines-only license to legally preserve gaming on the site of the historic Moulin Rouge property.

The Moulin Rouge site is now piles of rubble awaiting a resolution through a court-appointed receiver. But in order to preserve the gaming license, a request was made for Century Gaming Technologies to be issued a one-day license, a common request of properties where gaming has been temporarily shuttered.

Under the preservation proposal, Century would park a trailer with 16 slot machines, allowing play at the site from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., on May 29.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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