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Nevada Commission Approves Mesquite Purchases

17 December 2004

Las Vegas Sun

by Cy Ryan

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- The state Gaming Commission on Thursday approved the application of Randy Black to buy out his partners in three casinos in the fast-growing community of Mesquite in a $175 million deal.

Black will now own the Casablanca Resort & Casino, the Oasis Resort Casino Golf & Spa and the Virgin River Hotel & Casino, and about 75 percent of the gaming business in Mesquite.

Black told the commission he intends to build a hotel tower at the Oasis in four years. And there are plans for a convention center, he said. Part of the money he's spending goes to refinance existing debt.

Gaming win in October in Mesquite increased by 21.5 percent.

Black said that the construction of a hospital has spurred growth and new companies are coming to the city, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Three new homes a day are being built, and the present population of 16,700 is expected to double by 2011, he said.

The cash flow return on investment from the market's casinos has risen to 23 percent and Black is predicting it will jump to 30 percent.

Questioned by the commission, Black said there is a city ordinance that any new gaming property must have 400 rooms and other amenities to draw tourists. He estimated it would take $200 million to enter the gaming market in the city.

Other non-restricted applications approved by the commission included Irving Epstein, Ike Epstein, Alan Woody and Michael J. Nolan for non-restricted slot machines at The Lift in Las Vegas.

The commission also licensed Kristy League, Frances Spurlock and Rock Hopkins as trustees of the Warren Hopkins Trust Number Three, owner of the Stateline Casino in Mesquite. Warren Hopkins died in October and the commission gave the three people permission to participate in the operation for the next year while the estate is settled.

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