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Gaming Guru

Arnold M. Knightly
 

Klondike Sunset in Henderson gets new owner

17 September 2014

The Klondike Sunset in Henderson is changing hands eight months after its owner died, and it may be about a year before its doors are reopened.

Club Fortune owner Carl Giudici has acquired the financially struggling casino on 2.2 acres at 444 W. Sunset Road west of Boulder Highway. Terms of the deal were unavailable.

Giudici is acquiring the casino from Ellen Woodrum, widow of longtime casino operator John Woodrum, who died in January.

The casino was closed Aug. 15 during the pending sale to Giudici’s CG Enterprises, according to a filing with the city of Henderson. The City Council approved a 12-month nonoperational status so the location could hold its zoning for nonrestricted gaming liquor license, and a nonrestricted gaming business license.

The casino housed about 300 slot machines, blackjack tables and 25-cent roulette. However, the Nevada Gaming Control Board limited the number of slots to 65 after filing an eight-count complaint against the casino for failing to maintain sufficient cash to pay out players’ potential winnings dating back to early 2013. In a stipulation signed with gaming regulators in April, the casino risked losing its nonrestricted gaming license if the problem persisted.

Giudici has been involved in Nevada casinos for nearly 29 years, starting in Northern Nevada. He once owned as many as six casinos. He acquired Club Fortune in 1999 and divested himself of his casino interests in Reno and Sparks to focus on Club Fortune in 2007.

Giudici has shown interest in other distressed casino properties during the economic downturn, including trying to acquire some smaller Station Casino properties in 2010 during the local casino operator’s bankruptcy. He also bid $504 million for Herbst Gaming with a group of investors before lenders took back that company.

This is not the first time a casino in that location has closed. Woodrum acquired the shuttered Tom’s Sunset Casino in 1998 for $1.4 million, remodeled the property and reopened it as Klondike Sunset in October 1999. The casino building was built in 1989.

Woodrum acquired the property while owning the better-known Klondike on the south end of the Strip across from the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. Woodrum bought the casino and 153-room hotel in 1976, operating it until he sold it for $23.7 million in 2005 to a Florida-based developer who had planned a large hotel and casino that before the economic downturn. The Klondike on the Strip was raze in 2006.