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July 7, 2015

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Sunset Station lawsuit puts Roadhouse casino renovation plans on ice

Click to enlarge photo

The entrance of Sunset Station as the sun goes down in Henderson.

Roadhouse Casino

Map of Sunset Station Hotel Casino

Sunset Station Hotel Casino

1301 W. Sunset Road, Henderson

Plans to renovate and reopen the Roadhouse casino in Henderson are now on hold because of a lawsuit filed by competitor Sunset Station Inc., a Roadhouse spokeswoman said Monday.

"Due to Station’s aggressive litigation stance to thwart any competition, any plans to move forward are contingent on the outcome of this lawsuit against Bob McMackin and the city of Henderson," Roadhouse spokeswoman Elizabeth Trosper said.

McMackin, longtime owner of the property at Boulder Highway and Sunset Road, and unidentified investors had planned to begin work in January and reopen the property next summer, she said.

Improvements planned for the property included renovating the interior to include the casino, two kitchens and an entertainment area. The outside area was supposed to be rehabbed and the landscaping upgraded, Trosper said.

Sunset Station, a Station Casinos Inc. property, filed suit in Clark County District Court this month against the city of Henderson, McMackin and McMackin’s company Marengo Inc., charging the city unlawfully granted the Roadhouse a permit to operate as a nonrestricted casino.

The Roadhouse has been closed for years but reopens once a year for one day to maintain its state nonrestricted gaming license.

McMackin initially closed the Roadhouse in 2002. It was leased to a separate party from 2004-2007.

Unlike current nonrestricted applicants, the Roadhouse license is grandfathered in by the state with no hotel.

Sunset Station and two of its sister properties in the region, Fiesta Henderson and Boulder Station, all have hotels and Station has been fighting plans by McMackin to operate with the nonrestricted license without him having invested in a hotel.

Henderson has determined the Roadhouse’s 1988 conditional use permit rights for nonrestricted gaming never expired, though attorneys for Station say the city has exceeded its authority "by approving an application permitting nonrestricted gaming without a resort hotel or specific nonconforming use."

McMackin is represented in the litigation by the Las Vegas law firm Nitz, Walton & Heaton Ltd.

"We are disappointed by Station Casinos’ ill-conceived attempt to eliminate perceived competition, especially in an economy where small business should be encouraged," Trosper said in a statement Monday. "The Roadhouse is positioned at the gateway to the city and its transformation will serve as a catalyst for future economic prosperity. The city of Henderson has been thorough in its assessment and approval of this project and we stand by and support the city’s legal opinion and are hopeful the District Court will see the lawsuit for what it is and dismiss it. We are grateful to be in the position to provide construction and permanent jobs as well as a tax revenue stream to the city of Henderson."

Trosper declined to identify partners or investors McMackin has lined up for the project.

"Due to Station’s aggressive litigation stance to thwart any competition, at this time we do not feel comfortable disclosing outside partners and exposing them to litigation," Trosper said.

She did say two entities previously linked to Roadhouse development plans -- the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians and a company called Creekside Holdings -- are not involved in the litigation or development possibilities.

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