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Pop-up casino coming to former site of The Beach nightclub

Updated May 4, 2023 - 11:05 am

A busy street corner near the Las Vegas Convention Center that was once the home of a popular hangout for locals and tourists may soon see a casino — but only for eight hours.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday unanimously recommended approval of a temporary gaming license for slot machines only at the former site of The Beach, at Paradise Road and Convention Center Drive.

The owner of the land, Marriott International, wants to preserve its nonrestricted gaming license that accompanies the acreage in hopes of one day using it for a resort or selling or leasing it to a developer.

The board recommended approval of the temporary licensing to Century Gaming Technologies’ subsidiary United Coin Machine Co., which specializes in setting up temporary gaming facilities for the purpose of extending a grandfathered gaming license.

The Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to consider final approval of the request at its May 18 meeting.

Debbie Cornine, director of compliance for Century, told board members her company would set up a tent at the vacant lot and operate 16 slot machines — the minimum necessary for a nonrestricted license — for eight hours beginning at 6 a.m. on May 23.

She said the company is establishing temporary gaming on behalf of Marriott, which doesn’t want the value of the land to diminish should its gaming license lapse.

Under state and Clark County regulations, in order to maintain a license a company must offer public gaming for at least eight hours. The county statute says 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 because of effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and the rough economy.

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

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

Large Marriott presence

Marriott oversees hotels under its Marriott, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Renaissance and Springhill Suites brands.

Neilander said the company has been required to maintain its gaming license ever since The Beach closed in 2006. He said the pattern has been to court or field interest in financing a larger project, but because of the slowed economy, Marriott has never brought a final proposal to the finish line and has resorted to re-establishing its gaming license every 18 months.

Neilander acknowledged the process “can’t go on forever,” but that the company doesn’t want the land to lose its value.

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 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 its $1 billion Convention Center West Hall across Convention Center Drive and the main Convention Center, which is now undertaking a $600 million renovation.

In other business Wednesday, the Control Board recommended a series of licensings and findings of suitability from several gaming companies.

Among those who received approvals were Paul Salem for suitability as chairman of MGM Resorts International’s board of directors; Stephen Sutherland, managing director of Konami Australia, as a key executive; Bhavishi Patel as a director for Rancho Mesquite Casino in Mesquite; Vincent Sadusky for suitability as an officer as CEO of IGT; Philip Lee for suitability as a director and licensing as a director and officer for TCS John Huxley America Inc.; Chip Merritt as a key employee for Leisure Gaming; and John Ferrucci for suitability as an officer with Full House Resorts Inc.

Final commission approval on those licenses is expected May 18.

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

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