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Gold Rush, Magic Star Deal Approved

15 Jul 2004

By Chris Jones

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada gaming regulators on Wednesday approved Station Casinos' request to take over management at Henderson's Gold Rush and Magic Star casinos.

The Las Vegas-based gaming operator in late March announced it would buy the small casinos from Sidelines and Great American Corp. for an undisclosed price.

On Wednesday, Station Vice President of Gaming Development Ned Martin told the three-member Nevada Gaming Control Board that his company expects big things from its newest diminutive gambling halls.

"We've had a lot of success with smaller properties we already own," Martin said, citing the Wild Wild West, Wildfire and Barley's.

Station has no plans to expand the Gold Rush or Magic Star, which have 179 and 191 slot machines, respectively, as well as sports books and restaurants.

However, Martin would not rule out changes in those properties' appearances and mix of gaming machines.

Steve McLaughlin, general manager of both casinos under their former owners, will remain in his current position under Station.

But Martin said Station will supplement on-site management teams at each casino rather than continue dividing such workers' time between two locations.

The properties' 200 combined employees will be retained by Station, subject to background and drug tests, Martin said.

In other business Wednesday, the Gaming Control Board:

• Approved a request to transfer 100 percent of Sheldon Adelson's shares in Interface Group Holding Co. to Las Vegas Sands, parent company of The Venetian. The move was part of a corporate restructuring designed to consolidate Adelson's Las Vegas holdings under one business structure.

• Granted an 18-month extension to a limited gaming license held by Marvin Lipschultz, majority owner of the Golden Palm.

Lipschultz had hoped to be awarded a nonrestricted gaming license, but board members expressed at length their concerns with his failure to disclose multiple problems related to past business activities, including a recent investigation into charges Lipschultz failed to pay proper overtime benefits to some workers at his West Tropicana Avenue hotel-casino.

Lipschultz claimed his past regulatory troubles stemmed from misunderstandings, but the board ordered him to develop and follow a compliance procedure that would include regular updates to the board.

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