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Pop-up casino at The Beach site approved by Gaming Commission

Updated May 18, 2023 - 1:32 pm

A pop-up casino in a tent will open for eight hours on Tuesday as Marriott International seeks to preserve a grandfathered non-restricted gaming license connected to the street corner that formerly was home to The Beach nightclub.

But the Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday told Marriott’s legal representative that preserving the license can’t go on indefinitely and the company needs to move toward a definitive plan.

The opening of the tent casino at 6 a.m. will mark the 10th time in 17 years that the temporary set-up of 16 slot machines – the minimum necessary for a non-restricted license – is taking place.

Under state and Clark County regulations, a company must offer public gaming for at least eight hours in order to maintain a license. The county statute says that to maintain a grandfathered license, active gaming must occur at least once every 18 months while the state restriction is to provide it every two years.

Dennis Neilander, an attorney representing Marriott, said the company has been stalled in its efforts to develop the property at Convention Center Drive and Paradise Road because of effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and the rough economy. He said Marriott could not give the status of negotiations with potential developers of the property because of a non-disclosure agreement.

Marriott operates around 1,000 rooms in five hotel properties in close proximity to the lot where The Beach stood and hopes someday to consolidate them into a larger resort on 16 acres, keeping gaming as an option.

The only lot in the area not owned by Marriott is Piero’s Italian Cuisine restaurant just west of The Beach lot.

Marriott oversees hotels using its Marriott, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Renaissance and Springhill Suites brands, all under Marriott control. Neilander said the company has been required to maintain its gaming license ever since The Beach closed in 2006.

Commissioner Rosa Solis-Rainey repeated the Gaming Control Board’s admonishment that regulators don’t want to see repeated temporary licenses for the site.

When Century Gaming Technologies’ United Coin Machine Co. subsidiary opens the temporary site on Tuesday, it will offer 16 slot machines that will operate the same way as casino slots. One of United Coin’s specialties is to set up temporary casinos to preserve licenses and their temporary licenses have been approved by regulators for years.

The Beach was a popular nightclub that opened in 1994. As interest in the establishment waned, the doors eventually closed in 2006 with promises that a new project was in the works.

Prior to the site becoming home to The Beach, the land held a popular racebook called Sport of Kings that opened in 1992.

Since the time Sport of Kings and The Beach held the space, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority built the $1 billion Convention Center West Hall across Convention Center Drive while the main Convention Center, which is undertaking a $600 million renovation, is across Paradise Road.

The lot occasionally has been used for vehicle parking during large conventions that take up parking lot space with exhibits.

Later in the meeting, the commission unanimously approved licensing for NeoGames Systems Ltd., which is contracted with Caesars Entertainment Inc. to provide technology for its iGaming and sports wagering businesses.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board recommended approval of licensing in a special meeting Wednesday, set up to accommodate the travel schedules of the company executives from Israel.

NeoGames CEO Mordechay Malool told commissioners he didn’t expect there to be any procedural changes when the company is acquired by Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. of Australia for $1.2 billion in a deal expected to close next year.

That transaction was announced by the company on Saturday.

NeoGames will emerge as a wholly owned subsidiary of Aristocrat when the transaction closes in 12 months.

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

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