Published Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 | 11:18 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 | 5:15 p.m.
Dotty’s owner Craig Estey made a rare public appearance at the Clark County Commission today to protest a new law he said is meant to put his company out of business.
“You can’t just legislate your competition out of business,” he said. “Why are you trying to hurt us?”
Estey said the proposed regulations would lead to the closure of 34 Dotty’s slot parlors in unincorporated Clark County and affect 340 jobs.
The law introduced by the commission today adds new restrictions on slot-machine gaming at bars.
Local and state lawmakers have worked for years to craft regulations to stamp out slot parlors around the valley. Critics accuse tavern chains like Dotty’s of operating more like mini-casinos than bars by emphasizing gaming over the sale of food and drinks.
The new law, put forward by commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, requires that bars make no more than 50 percent of their revenues from slot-machine gaming. It also adds new requirements for kitchens and the type of slot machines used in the bars.
Estey was joined in his protest by about a dozen other bar owners, employees and industry representatives.
Bar owners said the law could require expensive renovations and cut into their bottom lines, possibly forcing them out of business.
The proposed changes drew support from industry heavyweights like Station Casinos, Golden Gaming and the Nevada Resort Association, the top lobbying group for hotels and casinos.
Commissioners will gather feedback from businesses over the next two months and are scheduled to vote on the new laws Dec. 2.
Several commissioners said they weren’t convinced that the regulations passed in 2011 are in need of updating, but they agreed to let the new ordinance move forward to a public hearing.
Sisolak said after the meeting that the law won’t affect bars that have legitimate food and drink businesses.
“It’s not going to put anybody out of business. They’re going to run their business the same way they’re running it now,” Sisolak said.