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Las Vegas auctions a pawnbroker license for nearly $2M

A pawnbroker license sold for $1.9 million Monday morning at the city of Las Vegas’ first license auction.

The seven-bidder auction inside of the City Council chambers amounted to a two-man race between competing pawn companies, with SuperPawn winning the city’s 25th pawnbroker license.

SuperPawn’s winning bid concluded city government’s first pawnbroker license auction since an ordinance adopted Feb. 5, 2020, changed how officials awarded the coveted licenses.

The starting bid was $60,000. The auctioneer pointed at Dave Vale of SuperPawn with his left hand, Roi Zalach of Gold & Beyond with his right and then Vale again with his right. Back and forth they went. If any of the other five bidders raised their hands early in the auction, it didn’t last long. Finally, Zalach conceded.

SuperPawn won the license for $1.9 million during an auction that lasted three minutes and 34 seconds.

Zalach walked over to Vale and shook his hand with a smile.

“When would you have stopped?” Zalach asked.

“When my boss told me to,” Vale chuckled.

Zalach’s limit was $2.2 million, he told Vale.

“I don’t think I would’ve stopped,” Vale replied.

The new SuperPawn shop would likely open in an underserved part of the Las Vegas Valley, he said after the exchange. The company, which operates pawn shops in multiple locations in the valley, must still undergo a vetting process and receive licensing approval from the Las Vegas City Council.

The ordinance applies only to pawnbroker licenses, which are limited based on population totals and were previously awarded through a lottery system. The next license will become available when Las Vegas’ population reaches 700,000 people — the city is currently at 670,000 people, city spokesman Jace Radke said.

City business licensing manager Darcy Adelbai-Hurd said she didn’t expect the license to sell for what it did. Radke attributed the uncertainty to the fact Monday’s auction was the first under the ordinance, adding that the money would go toward Las Vegas’ general fund.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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