Nazarian issues apologies, and gaming regulators OK limited license

SLS Las Vegas part-owner Sam Nazarian apologized for everything Thursday at the Nevada Gaming Commission.

He said he was sorry for past dealings with Derrick Armstrong, a convicted felon from Los Angeles who allegedly extorted $3 million from him by threatening his family and SBE employees. In an odd moment Thursday Armstrong himself tried to address the Gaming Commission, but was arrested by state gaming agents outside the Sawyer Building. He was booked on felony charges of theft and passing bad checks.

Nazarian apologized to the Gaming Control Board and state gaming agents for not being truthful about past use of illegal drugs. Nazarian said he is working with a specialist to determine if he has a drug and alcohol problem.

And, Nazarian apologized to his family and longtime friends for the public airing of his personal failings.

“My parents are disappointed, but they are very supportive,” Nazarian said of his family, which fled Iran in the 1980s.

The Gaming Commission — including three commissioners who initially planned to deny Nazarian a license for the Strip resort — eventually accepted the Control Board’s recommendation. By a 4-0 vote, they approved a one-year limited gaming license with a slew of conditions, one of which precludes involvement in casino oversight at SLS Las Vegas.

But that condition became a moot point earlier this week.

Nazarian, 39, CEO of Los Angeles-based nightclub and restaurant operator SBE Entertainment, said he would step away from all day-to-day duties for the SLS Las Vegas.

“It’s not been easy looking into the mirror,” Nazarian told the Gaming Commission, saying that he was speaking from the heart and soul. “I apologize to the gaming agents for not being candid. I also apologize to the board members.”

Despite stepping aside, Nazarian still needed the gaming license. SBE owns 10 percent of the SLS Las Vegas and state law requires licensing for anyone owning more than 5 percent of a casino.

The action doesn’t change direction or management of the resort, a $415 million renovation of the former Sahara.

San Francisco-based private equity company Stockbridge Real Estate owns 90 percent of SLS Las Vegas. Its executive director, Terry Fancher, is the hotel-casino’s CEO. In October former Station Casinos executive Scott Kreeger was brought in as president to help shore up the gaming business.

Gaming Commission conditions on Nazarian’s license include testing his hair and urine for drug use every three months.

“All I ask for is a chance to regain your trust,” Nazarian said. “You have my commitment, and I apologize for the mistakes I made.”

Nazarian admitted past use of cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana, and said he is undergoing treatment with a specialist. He told Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo Jr. that a drug test today would come up negative.

Earlier this month Nazarian was grilled for three-and-a-half hours by the Control Board, primarily over his dealings with an alleged extortionist and evidence of recent drug use in Mexico. He was accused by Control Board members of being evasive in addressing the issues.

Gaming Commissioners had reviewed the transcripts prior to Thursday’s hearing in Las Vegas.

“I read through the transcript again last night,” said Gaming Commissioner Joe Brown. “I had reached conclusions that I couldn’t support this application.”

However, Brown said he reversed course after listening to Nazarian.

Gaming Commissioner John Moran Jr. said he planned to make a motion to deny Nazarian’s application.

“I’ve listened to you today and you swayed me a bit,” Moran said. “I want to put enough conditions on you so that you don’t mess up.”

Alamo said he had never been “this close to a vote for denial” in six years on the commission. He said Nazarian would have to apply immediately for a new license and that he maintain constant contact with the Control Board agents.

“I want the board during this investigation to drive you crazy,” Alamo said. “I think during this limited period we’ve given you enough rope to hang yourself.”

Gaming Commissioner Randolph Townsend said it was clear Nazarian violated state gaming regulations during the investigation, but said he was willing to give Nazarian a second chance.

Nazarian said he now surrounds himself with advisers, security and legal representatives to avoid dealings with individuals such Armstrong. Security was increased at the Sawyer Building for the hearing. Nazarian came and left the building through private entrances.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Find him on Twitter: @howardstutz on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Mecum Car Auction in Las Vegas
The Mecum Auctions is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Construction underway for new Google Data Center
Henderson is slated to be home to a new Google data center in December 2020. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved $25.2 million in tax abatements for Design LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company plans to build the data center on 64 acres of land on Warm Springs Road west of Boulder Highway.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, an in-home digital companion and monitor.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, HAPPIE Home technology, an in-home digital companion and monitor designed for unpaid family caregivers that gives personalized alerts, messages and reminders. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Holiday parades help bring shoppers to Downtown Summerlin
Sports Town USA floor manager Angela Gardonio talks about the work that goes into the Downtown Summerlin holiday parades and how they benefit her and other businesses there.
Final vote on CG Technology
Final commission vote on the $2 million settlement for CG Technology.
Happie Home Startup Establishing Headquarters In Las Vegas
Digital companion startup company Happie Home is establishing its headquarters in Las Vegas after receiving tax abatements from the Governor's Office of Economic Development on Nov. 15. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center will showcase 13 small businesses in November and December and seven in January. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
T-Mobile uses ticketing data to plan for event
T-Mobile Executive Director of Arena Operations explains how ticket sales data and demographics help plan staffing, vendors, parking and operations for an event.
Costco opens its doors in southwest Henderson
Costco has opened its fifth Las Vegas-area location near the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Amigo Street. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas strip mall and office park
The Krausz Cos. and WG Group bought a strip mall and an office park in Las Vegas for nearly $80 million total. They acquired a portion of Tropicana Beltway Center in the southwest valley for $59 million. They also acquired the Westbay office complex in the Las Vegas Medical District. The buyers are former owners of The Gramercy, a once-mothballed mixed-use project in the Las Vegas suburbs. They sold The Gramercy in phases for more than $100 million.
Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry
Celebrity tattoo artist and business owner Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry at The World of Tattoo industry trade show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
$7.5M Las Vegas pot dispensary opens near Las Vegas Strip
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. It has entertainment including an interactive floor and floating orbs. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars CEO to step down next year
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora will leave the casino company in February. Frissora has been CEO since July 2015. He was named CEO right after Caesars' operating company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Caesars Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2017 Before Caesars, Frissora spent seven years as chairman and CEO of Naples, Fla.,-based Hertz He led the consolidation of the rental-car industry through Hertz‘s acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Planet 13 in Las Vegas adds twist to marijuana dispensary look
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. The dispensary is located near the intersection of Desert Inn Road and Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, near Trump International, in Las Vegas. Planet 13 has plans in the future for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on site if that is legalized and space for food.
Caesars Entertainment opening 2 resorts in Dubai
Cove Beach will open on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai in November and Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai will open in December. (Caesars Entertainment)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like