Las Vegas Group to Manage Three Elko Casinos

22 September 2006

by Howard Stutz

Las Vegas Gamign Wire

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The casino management empire of gaming executive Larry Woolf grew by three Thursday.

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved Woolf's Las Vegas-based Navegante Group to operate three casinos in Elko under a management contract with the properties' ownership.

Woolf, who was the first president of MGM Grand, will now oversee the operations of nine Nevada casinos. His company already managed four in downtown Las Vegas, the Grand Sierra in Reno (formerly the Reno Hilton) and Casino Fandango in Carson City.

"Maybe I'll go to dinner with (Harrah's Entertainment Chairman) Mr. (Gary) Loveman and ask him how he handles it," Woolf quipped to gaming commissioners in response to a question on how he would manage the operations of nine casinos. Harrah's operates 40 casinos nationwide.

Woolf told commissioners Navegante would add some casino management staff internally, but the Elko casinos had veteran management in place to oversee the day-to-day operations.

Woolf started Navegante in 1995 as a casino management firm. The company also consults with gaming companies on executive recruiting and development.

Woolf said the three Elko casinos -- Red Lion, Gold Country and High Desert -- would be refurbished with ticket in-ticket out slot machines.

In addition, the closure of Casino Express, an airline that brought customers to Elko, meant the company would change its marketing program to focus on local residents.

"You get a fair amount of visitors through traffic on I-80, but there's never been a push before toward the local market," Woolf said.

In December, Woolf's company took over the management of four downtown casinos -- the Plaza, Gold Spike, Las Vegas Club and Western -- on behalf of Tamares Group, a private investment company.

In other action Thursday, the Gaming Commission gave final approval on a corporate restructuring of Cannery Casino Resorts, allowing a Los Angeles-based private investment firm that oversees $31 billion to purchase one-third of the company.

The transaction will allow Cannery Casino Resorts to replace the Nevada Palace on the Boulder Highway with a newer version of the Cannery, a North Las Vegas casino.

Commissioners also approved Fortunet, a gaming equipment manufacturer, to distribute wireless, hand-held gaming devices in Nevada. The company's devices still need to be approved by state gaming regulators.


Related Links
Nevada Online Gambling
Nevada State Gaming Commission
Navegante Gaming Gaming Vendor Information

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