Gaming exec granted license to run struggling Westin Casuarina

A man with wide experience in taking over distressed casinos has received final state approval to operate the gaming operations at the Westin Casuarina, which is in receivership in Las Vegas.

The state Gaming Commission Thursday granted a license to Rory Lee Bedore to run the casino, formerly known as the Maxim Hotel, just off the Strip.

Commissioner Tony Alamo told Bedore, "You're behind the 8-ball. This is a very difficult property," noting the problems encountered by the Maxim.

"The area around it is deteriorating," Alamo said.

Bedore agreed, saying, "This is a tough project" and it is only two blocks away from the "prestigious" Strip. He said there's some cost-cutting possible but believes he can turn it around.

It should be a seamless transition, with most of the same staff being kept on. There are a few at retirement age who will be leaving, Bedore said.

He has a four-year lease and will take over May 1. He has business arrangements with other companies that operate the hotel, bar and restaurant. Asked by the commission what "Casuarina" is, he said it's a tropical plant.

The casino has 268 slot and video games and eight table games.

Bedore took over six properties in receiverships in rural counties in Northern Nevada and was able to turn them around.

He purchased the bankrupt Carson Station in Carson City last July and has made a number of improvements. "We're ahead of projections," said Bedore.

The commission backed the application of former Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander to be allowed to practice before gaming regulators. Neilander said he is consulting on gaming issues in such places as Singapore and expects to appear before the commission or the control board from time to time.

The commission also passed the application of GW AGS Holding, its associated Las Vegas companies and owner Graham Weaver for a license as a manufacturer, distributor and operator of a slot machine route.

Also licensed were company executives Robert Miodunski and Olaf Vancura. The operation also has licenses in a number of other states for gaming and has 5,000 slot machines.

Others approved included:

• Ainsworth Game Technology for a continuous or delayed public offering. The company is licensed as a manufacturer and distributor and its top officer Daniel Gladstone said the shelf offering would get Ainsworth out of debt and end up with $22 million in the bank.

• Dotty's for three more slot machine arcades, raising its number to 78. The new ones in Las Vegas are at 3377 Rancho Drive and 1511 N. Nellis Blvd. The other is at South Lake Tahoe.

• Alexandra Robertson Epstein and Katie McNeely Robertson Epstein to both receive 8.3 percent in the El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas from the Irving Epstein Living Trust.

• Thomas Soukup as vice president of research and development at Konami Gaming in Las Vegas. The company told the control board it was licensed in 21 states and has 7,600 slot machines. It hopes to have 20-30 percent of the units located in Nevada casinos.