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Cy Ryan

Silver Saddle Saloon Sale OK'd

26 August 2005

CARSON CITY -- Saeed Reza Shakeri, a professional engineer, has assured the Nevada Gaming Commission he has the ability to run the Silver Saddle Saloon in Las Vegas, a business that has been plagued with crime problems.

To prove his business acumen, Shakeri told the commission Thursday he invested $3,000 of his own money in a business and sold it 12 years later for $35 million. And he has major experience as a manager.

He said he has hired a security company to look at how to solve the crime problems.

Earlier this month, attorney Jeff Silver, representing Shakeri, told the Gaming Control Board the club just east of downtown Las Vegas has "been plagued by criminal activity" in the area. He said he and Shakeri met with Metro police representatives and have worked out a plan to cut down the problems in the vicinity.

The commission unanimously approved his purchase of the club for an undisclosed price. But his license will expire in September 2007, unless renewed.

Shakeri said he plans a 5,200-foot expansion, but wants to obtain the property next door before expanding. But the owners of the adjacent property have raised their price.

He said other property in the area could be developed into a shopping mall and a community center.

In addition to the casino, Shakeri said he will continue to operate a check-cashing service. Board Member Art Marshall questioned whether Shakeri would continue the policy of giving a free drink ticket to a person who cashed a check.

Shakeri said he would. Commission Chairman Peter Bernhard warned Shakeri he could not co-mingle the funds between the casino and the check cashing business.

Shakeri said he has signed a note with the Silver State Bank for a $2 million loan towards the purchase price that was not disclosed. He has also taken out a loan of $500,000 to finance the check cashing business.

In other applications, the commission approved the application of former television star Max Baer, Jr. for a 10 percent interest with his partner Roger Camras in the Beverly Hillbillies Gambler Casino at 2501 E. Lake Mead Blvd. in North Las Vegas. Baer played the role of Jethro, the dimwitted son in the '60s TV show the Beverly Hillbillies, one of the top-rated TV series of all time. John Karras would hold 90 percent of the club.

The Sands Regent, a publicly traded corporation that owns a casino of the same name in Reno, received permission for its $10.3 million purchase of the Depot Casino and the Redhawk Sports Bar, both in Dayton, from Clete Wandler.

Ferenc B. Szony, president and director of the corporation that owns three casinos in Washoe County, said $2 million will be spent to upgrade the slot machines and the food product. He said the Depot Casino will remain the leader in the market, despite the construction of a rival casino Slot World in the Dayton area, one of the fastest growing places in the state.