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May 5, 2015

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License sought to operate shuttered Casino MonteLago


Joe Elbert

Looking down at the MonteLago Village Resort and the shuttered Casino MonteLago from Grand Mediterra Boulevard at Lake Las Vegas.

Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas

The high limit slots room was empty Sunday at Casino MonteLago, which closed at midnight. The casino's closure is a result of the Ritz-Carlton's announcement that it will close May 2. Launch slideshow »

Beyond the Sun

There appears to be another bright spot for the financially troubled Lake Las Vegas community.

A Las Vegas-based company called Intrepid Gaming has filed for a license to operate the shuttered Casino MonteLago in the development’s MonteLago Village Resort.

The company filed its application for a non-restricted gaming license with Nevada Gaming Control on Feb. 14, three days after Dolce Hotels and Resorts reopened the former Ritz-Carlton next door as the Ravella hotel.

Intrepid Gaming is owned by Jon Berkley, the former CEO of the now-defunct Las Vegas Gaming Inc., which ran bingo and keno operations at Native American casinos. The company’s website lists Marcus Suan, a former vice president for slot operations at Boyd Gaming, as the company’s chief operating officer and general manager.

Thomas Hanna, deputy chief of investigations for Gaming Control, said the next step in the licensing process is an investigation into the company and its financials before it goes before the Nevada Gaming Commission.

The casino space is owned by Village Hospitality LLC, an arm of Deutsche Bank and owner of Ravella. The two properties are connected through a covered walkway.

Before it closed in March 2010, Casino MonteLago was operated by CIRI Lakeside Gaming Investors LLC, but the company forfeited its license upon closure.

The announcement of the casino closure came a week after the Ritz-Carlton said it would be closing its door because of a lack of funding from Village Hospitality.

A spokesman for the casino operators at the time said the casino was in the middle of negotiations with other investors when the announcement of the Ritz-Carlton closure hit, resulting in those investors pulling out. The closure left 170 casino employees out of work.

Casino MonteLago opened in May 2003 and was originally owned by Cook Inlet Region Inc., a corporation owned by members of an Alaskan American Indian tribe.

Some recent construction has been going on inside the casino, and executives from Dolce have been teasing for months that an announcement would be forthcoming about Casino MonteLago.

Earlier this month, Intrepid Gaming filed for a trademark for the name and logo of Casino MonteLago. The company has filed for a total of six trademarks since January, including three bars and restaurants called Harry’s Bar at Casino MonteLago, The Palio and Ritorno Al Fondamentali, Bambino!

An attorney who filed for the trademarks said a representative for the company was out of the country and unable to comment.

Across the master planned community, Lake Las Vegas’ only operating golf course has been purchased by a Honolulu-based company for $4.5 million.

The SouthShore Golf Club, a private course in Lake Las Vegas’ SouthShore neighborhood, was purchased by Nevada South Shore LLC, according to a deed filed on Feb. 17 with the Clark County recorder’s office.

Nevada South Shore, which lists Bing Yang as its CEO, purchased 13 parcels from SPE MD Holdings, a subsidiary of the Rhode Island-based Textron Financial Corp. The assessor’s map shows the parcels include the greens and club house for the course.

Dorfinco Corp., another subsidiary of Textron, foreclosed on the course in 2009. It was later transferred to SPE MD Holdings. The course’s original owners borrowed $6.8 million from Dorfinco to build the course in 2001.

A manager for SouthShore Golf Club did not return calls for comment on new policies and membership fees.

The course has a partnership with Loews Lake Las Vegas and Ravella that allows hotel guests to golf at the otherwise-private course for $190.

The Falls and Reflection Bay golf courses at Lake Las Vegas remain closed.

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  1. Good news, and best wishes to all involved.

  2. More than the former Ritz opening, the casino was what everyone was looking forward to seeing come back. Hope that they can operate a sports book that is larger than a broom closet. Good luck to them.

  3. I can see lots of people saying "meet me at Harry's Bar".
    I doubt many are going to remember the name and say "meet me at Ritorno Al Fondamentali, Bambino!"
    Where do they come up with some of these names?
    I guess I'll have to brush up on my Italian! I do know what Bambino means, that's a start!
    I hope they succeed!