2 Las Vegas taverns seek rebranding as Jackpot Joanie’s

The Nevada Gaming Control Board conducted its monthly meeting today in Las Vegas.

The issue: Operators of two taverns want to transfer their interests and be rebranded as Jackpot Joanie’s properties.

The vote: Separate 3-0 votes to recommend to the Nevada Gaming Commission approval of the transfers.

What it means: Regulators questioned Ronald Winchell, top executive for Jackpot Joanie’s, a chain of slot parlor operations that cater to women, about the transfers of the Big Dog’s Café & Casino property at 6390 W. Sahara Ave., and The Triple Play, 1875 S. Decatur Blvd.

If approved by the Gaming Commission, the two taverns would be rebranded to Jackpot Joanie’s, which has six properties in Southern Nevada.


The issue: The board conducted a suitability hearing and considered the registration of Rock Gaming Interactive LLC, Detroit, and its manager, Dan Gilbert.

The vote: 3-0 to recommend to the Nevada Gaming Commission approval of Rock Gaming’s registration as an intermediary company partnering with Caesars Interactive Entertainment and his suitability as a manager.

What it means: Gilbert, the majority owner of Quicken Loans, the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers and a partner in downtown Cleveland’s Horseshoe Casino operated by Caesars Entertainment, was questioned about a $60,000 loan to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick,

Regulators were satisfied with Gilbert’s responses about his association with Kilpatrick, who resigned as mayor of Detroit in 2008 after pleading guilty to felony obstruction of justice charges.

If approved by the Gaming Commission, Gilbert would work with Caesars on its online poker platform.


The issue: The licensing of Las Vegas-based Sterling Resorts, operating through Global Gaming Hospitality LLC, and Legend Rock Capital of New York to operate the iconic John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks

The vote: 3-0 to recommend approval of licensing and suitability to the Nevada Gaming Commission

What it means: If approved by the Gaming Commission on Nov. 21, a 50-50 partnership between private-equity firm Legend Rock and Sterling, headed by Carlton Geer, a former executive at Reno's Eldorado and Peppermill properties, would take over the Nugget, which has been owned by the Ascuaga family for more than 50 years.

The sale of the 1,600-room property was announced last month. The price was not disclosed.

Geer, who has been a CBRE gaming analyst in Las Vegas, said the new owners plan to expand their marketing of the property and told the property's 1,300 employees that they would lift a five-year wage freeze on Jan. 1.

Asked about increased competition from Northern California tribal casinos — the Graton Resort & Casino, managed by Station Casinos, just north of San Francisco, was scheduled to open today — Geer said the new Nugget owners would "attack on every front possible to make the Nugget successful."

The new owners said they would continue to sponsor two high-profile special events, Star-Spangled Sparks and the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off, and would establish a chairman emeritus board position for family patriarch John Ascuaga.