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Caitlin McGarry

Temporary casino to open on Moulin Rouge site

19 June 2012

A 40-foot-long trailer will appear early Tuesday at the corner of Bonanza Road and H Street, where the Moulin Rouge casino once stood.

The trailer will open to the public at 6 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. It's a short-lived, pop-up casino of sorts, with 16 operational slot machines intended to keep the Moulin Rouge's nonrestricted gaming license. Nevada law mandates that casinos need to offer gaming at least one day every two years to keep the grandfathered licenses. Losing a nonrestricted license means complying with new gaming requirements, which include adding hotel rooms and other amenities to qualify.

There is no casino where the burned-out shell of the Moulin Rouge was demolished in 2010. So United Coin, the local slot route company that is conducting the casino's gambling operations, is bringing in a trailer and slots. An attendant will be on hand at the site, though United Coin's Rob Woodson said he doesn't expect many gamblers to turn out for the day.

"Generally, we get less than $20 in play for the day," Woodson said. "But it fulfills the requirement of operating nonrestricted gaming on the property sometime during a two-year period."

United Coin has conducted operations for Moulin Rouge five or six times in the past, Woodson said, back when the casino had a building from which to operate.

Retaining the nonrestricted gaming license adds to the property's value when owner Olympic Coast Investments tries to sell, which may be soon, Woodson said.

The Moulin Rouge in 1955 opened as Las Vegas' first racially integrated casino. It closed shortly thereafter and was used for various purposes until two fires, one in 2003 and one in 2009, destroyed much of the property. Its historic sign was carted off to the Neon Museum and now the Moulin Rouge is just a vacant lot.

Until now, for a few hours, when slot machines will briefly trill again.