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Whiskey Pete’s $3.2M upgrade celebrated with tours, toast

It was a celebration worthy of “Whiskey Pete” MacIntyre.

About 50 people on Friday took tours, chugged a whiskey toast and helped Affinity Gaming executives celebrate the conclusion of a $3.2 million face-lift at the 248-room Old West-themed Whiskey Pete’s property south of Las Vegas.

The company modernized the rooms with a top-to-bottom overhaul with new wallpaper and fixtures. Renovations included the addition of new bathrooms, upgraded beds and carpeting, modern furnishings and appliances including refrigerators, flat-screen televisions and plug-ins for laptops, smartphones and other devices. Company officials said it was the first major work done on the rooms since the property opened in 1977.

“Many of the rooms had the original wallpaper from when it opened,” said Kenji Hall, the property’s assistant general manager, while giving tours of two of the newly furnished rooms.

Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager was on hand to proclaim Whiskey Pete’s Day and the observance turned into a party with the Carter Hall Project band performing in the property’s showroom and Whiskey Pete moonshine served up for guests.

The improvement project was a landmark for longtime Caesars Entertainment executive Michael Silberling, who became privately held Affinity’s CEO in August 2014.

Silberling is on a mission to refresh the company’s three Primm properties, which also include the Primm Valley Resort and Buffalo Bill’s. The properties thrive on California drivers who need a quick stop before arriving in Las Vegas or those departing Southern Nevada, thanks to a marquee suggesting that casino players “get even before leaving.”

The 2½-month renovation project included every room in the north and south wings of the hotel. Four rooms were turned into larger “supersuites.” The challenge for the company was to upgrade the look and feel of the rooms without losing its Old West charm. Executives feel they accomplished that by adding the modern amenities while keeping fixtures reminiscent of Whiskey Pete’s history, with outhouse artwork and snakeskin treatments on walls.

The renovations didn’t include the rooms in the tower, which will remain closed. Executives say if the newly renovated rooms are received well by the public and demand picks up they’ll consider upgrades there and reopening the 530-room tower.

In addition to the room makeovers, workers cleaned up the hotel’s front entrance with a likeness of Whiskey Pete and his moonshine. The front desk area also was improved and the Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow “death car” is on display near the desk and the casino.

The area surrounding the hotel originally was owned by a gas station owner named “Whiskey Pete” MacIntyre, who is said to have had a tough time making ends meet selling gasoline and took up bootlegging. According to the company’s accounts, MacIntyre was buried upright in 1933 with a bottle of his bootleg in hand.

The body was accidentally unearthed when the company built a bridge for a tram over Interstate 15 and officials reburied MacIntyre in nearby caves where he allegedly concocted his product.

Silberling said the Whiskey Pete’s renovation was the first of what he expects to be several projects on Affinity properties. The company’s Silver Sevens property in Las Vegas was remodeled just before Silberling joined the company.

In addition to the three Primm properties and the Silver Sevens, Affinity has casinos in Sparks, Black Hawk, Colorado, and two properties in Missouri and one in Iowa.

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

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