Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 | 1:30 p.m.
CARSON CITY — Veteran Las Vegas gaming figure Blake Sartini has gained preliminary state approval to become the biggest slot machine route operator in Nevada.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has recommended approval for Sartini and his Golden Gaming to buy from Affinity Gaming its slot machine route and two casinos in Pahrump.
Sartini told the board this would give him 8,500 slot machines at 650 locations, and he would become the largest casino owner in Nye County. He already owns the Golden Pahrump Nugget and is acquiring Terrible’s Lakeside Casino and Terrible’s Town.
The deal calls for him to transfer his three casinos in Colorado to Affinity Gaming. Sartini also told the board he is looking at expanding into gaming in Illinois.
Before the board considered the Sartini application, it heard attorney Dennis Kennedy, who represents the Corrigan family, which had an agreement with Sartini to buy their Roadrunner bar and restaurants in Clark County.
The deal fell through and the Corrigans filed a breach of contract suit.
A civil trial is set for July in Las Vegas on the suit.
“We’ll do our talking in court,” said Todd Bice, an attorney for Sartini.
In making the motion for approval, gaming board member A.G. Burnett said Sartini is suitable.
“Our policy is to let litigation to take its course,” Burnett said.
The board reserves the right to look into the allegations in the suit later, he said.
If approved by the state Gaming Commission at its Feb. 23 meeting, Sartini and his Golden Gaming will have 2,000 employees. A company official said it intends to retain all the casino employees at the two new clubs in Pahrump.
CORRECTION: The original version of the story incorrectly reported Blake Sartini was buying Affinity Gaming. Sartini is buying the slot route and two Pahrump casinos from Affinity. | (February 8, 2012)