Friday, June 18, 2004 | 10:49 a.m.
CARSON CITY -- After heaping lavish praise on their two two families, the Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday approved Boyd Gaming Corp.'s application to buy Michael Gaughan's Coast Casinos' hotel-casino company in Clark County.
Commissioner Augie Gurrola called this "one of these marriages made in heaven and it will last a long time."
"I know you will do a lot of good work in the future," Gurrola told the principals William Boyd and Gaughan, both members of pioneer Las Vegas gaming families.
Commissioner Arthur Marshall, who abstained from voting, said he has known both families for 40 years and they are "shining examples" of the old Nevada and they represent an "American Dream."
Commissioner Sue Wagner said the Boyd family "ranks high in community involvement."
The $1.3 billion merger includes the $400 million South Coast hotel-casino being built along Interstate 15 about six miles south of Tropicana Avenue.
When the deal is completed, the parent firm of Boyd Gaming Corp. will have $2.3 billion in debt. When joined, the company will have gross revenue of $812.4 million in Clark County for about 10.4 percent of the market.
Jeff Rodefer, attorney for Boyd Gaming, said the merger will not result in any market dominance in Clark County. He said the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice did not oppose the merger on grounds it would be too dominant.
Boyd's family moved to Las Vegas in 1941 and his father worked in the gaming business and eventually started acquiring ownership. Gaughan's family arrived in Las Vegas in 1951 and began its involvement with gaming.
The merged companies will have the Stardust and the Barbary Coast on the Las Vegas Strip; the California, Fremont and Main Street Station casinos in downtown Las Vegas; and Sam's Town, Eldorado, Jokers Wild, Gold Coast, Suncoast and The Orleans in the local market in Clark County.
The South Coast being developed on a 55-acre parcel is slated to open in October or November in 2005 with 635 rooms, 6,000 parking spaces, seven restaurants, 2,400 slot machines and 60 table games.
Fifty percent of the revenue from the merged companies will come from Nevada.
Separately, the commission approved the application of Goldman Sachs Asset Management L.P. for a waiver to hold about 11 percent of the stock of Harrah's Entertainment Inc. without undergoing a full-scale investigation. The state Gaming Control Board had split 1-1 on the issue. Goldman Sachs had paid a $110 million settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission over market irregularities.
David Arrajj, attorney for Goldman Sachs, said the company started to correct its problems even before the federal investigation started.
Commissioner Marshall said the company has shown "enough reforms to satisfy me."
The commission also granted a waiver for Putnam Advisory Co. to hold gaming stocks without going through the full licensing process. Putnam had also been penalized $110 million and it said it has corrected the problems.
The commission also heard testimony on the possibility of allowing intrastate gaming in Nevada by computer. Commission Chairman Peter Bernhard said a report would be presented by staff at the July meeting in Las Vegas.
He said that report would provide the basis on whether the commission wants to go forward with online gambling in Nevada and whether laws and regulations must be changed.
The commission also approved the following applications:
Century Gaming Inc., which operates 1,800 poker, keno and bingo machines in Montana, to buy United Coin Machine Co. of Las Vegas that has 8,300 slot machines in its slot route business. The deal is for $96.4 million.
Timothy Poster and Thomas Breitling, who bought the Golden Nugget casinos in downtown Las Vegas and in Laughlin, to allow the privately placed bonds issued to finance the sale to be sold publicly.
MTR Gaming Group Inc. to pledge common stock of the company that was used to buy Binion's Horseshoe Club in downtown Las Vegas. Harrah's operates the gaming at the Horseshoe.
United Coin to install 16 slot machines at the Moulin Rouge in Las Vegas for eight hours on June 29 in order to preserve the opportunity to continue non-restricted gambling when a planned restoration is completed of the structure that was destroyed by fire.
United Coin to install 75 slot machines at Thirstbusters in Henderson.
HCC Corporation, the holding company of Hyatt Gaming management Inc., for a restructuring of the company. The company owns the Hyatt at Lake Tahoe and the Hyatt at Lake Las Vegas.
Robert A. Cashell, son of Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, to operate 18 slot machines for one day at the Roadhouse Casino in Henderson to preserve its opportunity to be considered a non-restricted gaming location.
John M. Garner as chief financial officer, secretary and treasurer of Archon Corp. in Las Vegas.
William Ernest Maxwell to sell his 4 percent in the Aztec Gold Inn & Casino in Las Vegas for $100,000 to partners Donald J. Dombrowski and Gary W. Vause, who would remain the sole operators.
Michael R. and Tammie Rae Debauche of Las Vegas and Debra P. Brooks of Pahrump for one-third each in the Cotton Pickin' Casino in Pahrump to operate 20 slot machines.