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Nevada regulators recommend Full House CEO for gaming license

9 Jul 2015

By Howard Stutz
Full House Resorts CEO Dan Lee was recommended for a gaming license by the Gaming Control Board on Wednesday, seven months after he led a takeover of the Las Vegas-based casino company.

Full House owns three casinos: Rising Star Casino Resort in Indiana; Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, Miss.; and Stockman’s Casino in the Northern Nevada community of Fallon. The company also manages the Grand Lodge Casino at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe.

Lee took over as CEO of Full House in December after a two-month proxy fight. He was brought in by several Full House investors who controlled 6 percent of the company’s stock and wanted new management and new direction.

Lee, 57, spent almost eight years as CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment. Before that position, he was chief financial officer of Steve Wynn’s Mirage Resorts. After leaving Pinnacle, he formed a casino company that was developing a property in Lake Charles, La. He sold the site to Ameristar Casinos for $32.5 million in 2012. The project opened in December as the Golden Nugget Lake Charles.

Lee said he saw value in Las Vegas-based Full House. He and his new management team will try to unlock that value.

“Business is better,” Lee said. “The stock is up 60 percent. We make most of our money in Mississippi.”

Lee said the Full House made several improvements to Stockman’s and is looking at extending its operating lease at the Hyatt.

Also, the Control Board approved Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino owner Joe DeSimone Jr. to operate the small Henderson-area casino. DeSimone acquired the casino earlier this year from MGM Resorts International for an undisclosed price.

Marcus Gaming LLC, which is headed by Marcus Suan, has operated it since March. Suan will stay on the property’s chief operating officer. The Railroad Pass opened in 1931 and is known as the oldest active casino in Nevada.

The Nevada Gaming Commission will look at both matters on July 23.

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