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Nevada Gold & Casinos names MGM Resorts executive CEO

13 Nov 2012

By Chris Sieroty
LAS VEGAS -- Nevada Gold & Casinos, Inc. has tapped MGM Resorts International for its new chief executive, about a month after announcing its plans to move most of its corporate offices and employees to Las Vegas.

Michael Shaunnessy will take over as president and CEO on Dec. 1, the company said last Monday. Shaunnessy, 58, was executive vice president of operations with MGM Resorts overseeing the Railroad Pass and Gold Strike hotel-casinos in Southern Nevada.

Nevada Gold & Casinos, now based in Houston, announced on Oct. 16 its plans to move its corporate offices and most of its 10 employees to Las Vegas and establish a regional office in Seattle. The gaming company operates 10 casinos in Washington state and a 950-machine slot route in Deadwood, S.D.

The company had been in talks to participate in a $60 million hotel-casino project adjacent to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but pulled out of the project.

Nevada Gold was licensed in January as a casino operator and has been considering ways to enter the Nevada market. The company still retains its 1 percent stake in The Nugget in Reno, which it purchased in February 2011 for $26,000.

Shaunnessy fills the CEO position vacated in September by Robert Sturges. Ernest East was named interim president and CEO.

"Over the last several months, we have implemented a variety of steps to reduce Nevada Gold's cost structure and sharpen its business focus," East said in a statement. "With Mike [Shaunnessy] at the helm, we look forward to expanding and accelerating that process."

Before joining MGM Resorts, Shaunnessy's executive experience included vice president administration with Monarch Casino Resorts Inc. and executive vice president, CFO and director with Full House Resorts Inc.

At Full House, Shaunnessy guided the company's move from San Diego to Las Vegas. East said Shaunnessy's "experience in the acquisition, divestiture and development of all types of gaming projects is a perfect fit for Nevada Gold."

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