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Howard Stutz
 

Slot route owner says wife sold medical pot business

25 July 2014

LAS VEGAS -- The owner of slot machine route operator said Thursday his wife sold her stake in a potential Clark County medical marijuana dispensary, which eliminated any conflict with a regulatory request that gaming license holders stay away from the business.

During the public comment section of the Nevada Gaming Commission and Control Board meeting in Las Vegas, attorney Jennifer Roberts said the wife of Bruce Familian, owner of slot machine route operator Nevada Gaming Partners, sold her 8 percent stake in GB Sciences Nevada LLC. The business was awarded one of 18 medical marijuana dispensary licenses in June by the Clark County Commission.

Earlier this month, members of the Gaming Control Board told owners of a Las Vegas restaurant — seeking approval for five slot machines — they objected to Nevada Gaming Partners because of the connection to the medical marijuana business.

Familian said at the time he was “blindsided” by the ruling. He went on the offensive, hiring a lawyer and a public relations company. In interviews, Familian said the Control Board’s decision was hurting his existing business, which manages slot machines in 40 Las Vegas bars, taverns, convenience stores and restaurants.

However, following a private meeting last Friday in Carson City with Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett, Familian’s attorney said Thursday that Sarah Familian decided to sell her ownership stake in the medical marijuana company.

“We have made a commitment to the Gaming Control Board, as well to our current business partners and prospective clients, that gaming is our number one priority,” Bruce Familian said after the hearing.

Prior to Familian’s decision, operators of the restaurant, the Crab Corner on South Rainbow Boulevard, said they initially contracted with another slot machine operator to manage the games.

However, the commission lifted a Control Board-imposed stipulation and Nevada Gaming Partners was allowed to go forward with the previous Crab Corner agreement.

The Control Board’s decision on Crab Corner marked the first time gaming regulators have ruled on a licensing matter concerning a gaming business in light of the state’s fledgling medical pot industry.

In May, the Control Board in an industry notice admonished gaming-license holders and prospective license applicants to stay away from the medical marijuana business in light of continued federal enforcement of anti-drug laws.

Burnett said splitting the two business interests between husband and wife was not enough separation to satisfy the industry notice, which the regulatory agency published in May.

Roberts said Familian also plans to sell a piece of real estate he owns in Clark County that has been designated for a medical marijuana business.

In other action, the commission approved a planned interactive gaming system that could house online poker websites for multiple casinos, potentially increasing the player pool in Nevada.

Commissioners said the technology, which is operated by Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings Plc, could be the model for the planned system that would run the shared online gaming network between Nevada and Delaware.

Under the plan, that was approved by the Gaming Control Board earlier this month, 888 Holdings will develop an inter-operator poker network that will include Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s WSOP.com and the planned online poker room from Treasure Island.

A separate 888 poker room — connected to Treasure Island — would be the third site on the platform.

Attorney Mark Clayton of Las Vegas, representing 888, said players would be able to log into the system through either WSOP.com or Treasure Island, which could increase the number of players in a single Internet poker room at any given time.

The concept for the system was approved when gaming regulators signed off on Nevada’s interactive gaming regulations.

WSOP.com launched last fall. Treasure Island has been approved for interactive gaming by Nevada regulators, but the casino’s actual online poker room still needs to be approved before the presence can launch on the platform.

In February, Gov. Brian Sandoval and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed the nation’s first multistate Internet gaming agreement, which will allow players in both states to play online poker against each other over a shared platform. 888 Holdings is expected to create the platform.
Slot route owner says wife sold medical pot business is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.