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Former Wynn partner revels in some good news

You can’t blame him for bragging.

Gambling industry billionaire Kazuo Okada hasn’t had much to brag about in recent months as he has operated Aruze Gaming America under a cloud of suspicion generated by a bruising litigation and an ongoing FBI investigation.

So, when the California Gambling Control Commission this week granted Aruze approval to sell its gaming machines inside the state’s Native American casinos, a news release was immediately issued by the obviously elated Japanese business mogul. And, of course, Okada couldn’t resist taking a jab at Wynn Resorts Ltd., which he helped create with its chairman and namesake, Steve Wynn.

It reads in part:

“Granting us this license represents yet another instance in which I’ve received new gaming licenses in North America since February 18, 2012, when Wynn Resorts Ltd. brought suit against me in Nevada State Court. Since that time, I have received new gaming licenses in 18 jurisdictions where AGA was not previously licensed, including in Arkansas; Ontario, Canada; and from 16 American Indian tribes. Also since that time, AGA has obtained renewal approval for five state licenses in Arkansas; Alberta, Canada; Florida; Mississippi; and Oklahoma, and had more than 50 of its American Indian tribal licenses renewed. Each of these new licenses and renewals has been based on a determination that I am ‘suitable’.”

Aruze sells to 43 tribal casinos in California alone.

Not only is the latest license notice good news for Okada, but it also serves as a reminder of what is really at stake as he continues the biggest battle of his business career.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the California commission is continuing to monitor the Department of Justice investigation.

MENTAL HEALTH: The media fallout continues from the news, first published in the Sacramento Bee, that more than 1,500 patients have been discharged by the overwhelmed Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital and bused throughout the country.

What hasn’t changed is the state’s long-standing philosophy of neglect in providing sufficient services for the indigent mentally ill.

A recent Review-Journal series on the subject revealed a state system ill-equipped to handle an admittedly daunting task.

If history is any indicator, the state will do what it always does: Wait for the critical newsprint to yellow and blow away.

COMMAND PERFORMANCE: Morning patrons at Kevin Mills’ Omelet House restaurant at 2160 W. Charleston Blvd. were surprised when they sat down for their eggs and heard a booming baritone capably rendering a little Italian opera music from the next dining room. The singer? None other than longtime off-Strip restaurateur Battista Locatelli, entertaining friends at Mills’ quarterly gathering of longtime Las Vegans.

Battista had competition in the entertainment department from comedian Steve Rossi. Talk about an eclectic crowd. Among many: former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, pig farm owner Robert Combs, ex-sheriff Bill Young and mayoral tag team Carolyn and Oscar Goodman.

ON THE BOULEVARD: In the crowd at the jammed service industry boxing show Wednesday night on Fremont Street outside The D: former world champion in several weight classes Roy Jones Jr., super featherweight title contender Diego Magdaleno, trainer Roger Mayweather and UFC impresario Dana White. The D’s CEO Derek Stevens had to like what he saw as he worked the crowd. Boxing super-host Steve Cyr lost a decision but attracted the most ring girls. … The title of former mayor Goodman’s upcoming memoir, written with best-selling Philadelphia author and reporter George Anastasia: “Being Oscar: From Mob Lawyer to Mayor of Las Vegas — Only in America.” Set for publication in May. From the pre-sale placard: “This is his astonishing story — the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295.

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