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Las Vegas slot machine developer to close, will lay off 100

Updated July 14, 2023 - 8:47 pm

Aruze Gaming America — the slot machine developer behind Shoot to Win Craps, Go Go Claw and other electronic table games — will close its Las Vegas headquarters next month and lay off 100 workers, according to a notice filed with the state.

The closure is expected to be effective Aug. 18, according to a required notice to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Few other details were immediately available. Aruze representatives did not respond to additional questions about the closure by the time of publication.

The closure comes roughly six months after the equipment manufacturer filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company said at the time that the filing was part of its efforts to restructure financially because of “external factors outside (their) control.” It listed a “garnishment judgment against Aruze resulting from a separate judgment against Aruze’s shareholder.”

The company’s sole shareholder is Japanese businessman and former Wynn Resorts investor Kazuo Okada. The garnishment judgment is for $27.4 million owed to Bartlit Beck LLP, a law firm with offices in Denver and Chicago that represented Okada personally in the multiyear lawsuit against Steve Wynn that ended in a 2018 settlement for $2.6 billion with Universal Entertainment Corp., which Okada founded.

The garnishment judgment, decided in January, stems from several court rulings saying that Okada hadn’t paid a $50 million “success fee” to the law firm, court documents show. The judgment determined that Barlit Beck could collect on the company’s loans owed to Okada.

Aruze has other secured creditors, including bank loans worth approximately $20.8 million, according to the bankruptcy court filings. The largest unsecured claim at the time of the bankruptcy filing was the garnishment judgment, though several other claims for $1.6 million or less were also listed.

Aruze’s American operation is based in a business park with warehouse space at Decatur Boulevard near the 215 Beltway. It’s unclear what operations of the company take place there.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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