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SLS Las Vegas gets preliminary OK for gaming license


Tom Donoghue /

A view of SLS Las Vegas as seen from atop Allure Las Vegas on Friday, July 4, 2014.

Updated Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 | 7:49 a.m.

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Gaming Control Board today gave preliminary approval for a gaming license for SLS Las Vegas, which is set to open later this month on the site of the former Sahara.

SLS is set to open Aug. 23 with 1,613 hotel rooms, 800 slot machines, 70 table games and 3,000 employees.

The license still must be approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Much of the nearly four-hour meeting today was spent on explaining the property’s financing, which includes investments of $500,000 each from 800 residents of China.

Terrence Fancher, the head of Stockbridge Investment Co. of San Francisco, the majority owner of the property, said the Chinese money is put into an investment fund and that individuals don’t have any say about how the property is run.

Their investment does give them a leg up in immigrating to the United States, though they would still have to clear other normal requirements.

Ron Klasco, a Philadelphia attorney who specializes in immigration issues, said these foreign nationals have to go through nine separate investigations to make sure the money does not come from the underworld or is being laundered.

The board delayed licensing of Sam Nazarian, who conceived the project and will hold a 10 percent interest in the property.

Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said Nazarian has extensive business holdings, and further investigation is needed. The board was told that Nazarian would not have any control over decisions made at the resort.

The Gaming Commission meets Aug. 21 to take final action on the license.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the number of planned slot machines and table games. | (August 7, 2014)

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