Las Vegas Sun

April 22, 2019

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Bill to restrict Boulder casinos called unfair

CARSON CITY -- A bill restricting neighborhood casinos isn't fair unless Boulder Highway properties are allowed to grow like those on the Strip, some Assembly members say.

"Some of these places (on Boulder Highway) have been here longer than the Strip," said Assemblywoman Gene Segerblom, D-Boulder City. "Whatever is legal on the Strip should be legal here."

Senate Bill 208, which passed the Senate on Sunday, prohibits new casinos near schools, churches and homes. It also restricts restaurant/bars and small casinos from growing.

Casinos on the Strip, even those being built near older neighbors, would not be limited.

Segerblom said the bill unfairly punishes a long-standing gambling area on Boulder Highway in Henderson between Sunset Road and Lake Mead Drive. She said she'll introduce an amendment granting those casinos the same privileges that Strip casinos enjoy under SB208.

The Nevada Resort Association, which represents most Strip casinos, is expected to oppose the changes, as is Senate Judiciary Chairman Mark James, R-Las Vegas, whose committee processed the bill.

"I think the bill's fine as it is," James said.

Majority Floor Leader Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, said he agrees with Segerblom and will work to have Boulder Highway casinos included.

Perkins and Segerblom received letters from Walter Weiss of Magna Leisure Partnership, which is planning to develop Wally's Wagon Wheel hotel-casino at 2200 S. Boulder Highway.

"In the past nine years, the partnership has invested $1.7 million," Weiss wrote. "Our partnership respectfully urges the legislators to amend this proposed legislation."