Licensing of Cannery properties to Boyd Gaming approved

The Cannery and Eastside Cannery properties officially became part of Boyd Gaming Corp.’s network of locals casinos Monday following two votes by two regulatory bodies that took less than an hour.

The Nevada Gaming Commission in a 4-0 vote approved the licensing to the Las Vegas company and the transition to Boyd control was scheduled to begin at midnight.

Approval was given following unusual back-to-back special regulatory meetings scheduled to enable Boyd to sign paperwork and begin the transition before the holidays. The state Gaming Control Board unanimously recommended approval early Monday and the commission gave final approval less than a half hour later.

Had the commission waited until its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, officials would have had one day to address changes before Christmas Eve and the start of Hanukkah.

Boyd Gaming President and CEO Keith Smith said all of the 1,500 Cannery employees and executives would be retained by Boyd, but executive transitions could occur in six months as company officials become more familiar with operations.

The commission vote was the final regulatory approval necessary to close the $230 million deal, first announced in April. The acquisition also required a review from the Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible anti-competitive issues, but the agency closed its review last week and gave the deal its blessing.

Smith told regulators the public would see very few changes at either Cannery casino in the next six months as transition teams go to work. The company’s loyalty card, B Connected, isn’t expected to be implemented at the Cannery properties until next year.

Smith said he sees opportunity at the Cannery, a 201-room hotel with an 80,000-square-foot casino that opened on Craig Road west of Interstate 15 in North Las Vegas in January 2003.

“North Las Vegas is growing at a faster pace than most areas in the valley,” Smith told board members in his appearance in Carson City.

He cited housing growth, additional warehousing and logistical growth and projects being undertaken in the Apex industrial area by Faraday Future and Hyperloop Technologies.

The acquisition of Eastside Cannery, a 307-room hotel with a 35,000-square-foot casino floor that opened on Boulder Highway in August 2008, bolsters Boyd’s grip on the Boulder Strip market where it also owns the venerable old west-themed Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall.

“The Boulder Strip is not growing as robustly as North Las Vegas, but having the Eastside Cannery, which is literally right next door to Sam’s Town, creates some synergies for us,” Smith said.

When changes do occur, Smith said they’d likely come in the form of restaurant remodelings and possibly adding slot machines to the casino floor.

Part of the reason for the ease in approval was because Boyd was before regulators in September for consideration of the licensing of the Aliante in North Las Vegas. The Cannery approvals were held up by the additional FTC review that took longer than Boyd officials expected.

The addition of the two Cannery properties brings Boyd’s total holdings in Southern Nevada to 12 properties and 24 nationwide with more than 10,000 employees.

The commission on Monday also approved the deregistration of Crown Resorts Ltd. of Australia, which had been an investor in the company operating the Cannery properties.

Crown is the same company that withdrew its support of the proposed Alon property on the Strip, but Monday’s action had nothing to do with Crown’s change in strategy.

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

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