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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Hacienda ownership confirms sale to Dotty's operators

7 August 2013

The ownership of the Hacienda Hotel and Casino near Boulder City confirmed Tuesday that it sold the hotel-casino to the operators of the Dotty’s statewide chain of taverns.

A sales price was not disclosed by the Lakeview Company, which said the Hacienda employees were told the property and surrounding land had been sold to Nevada Restaurant Services Inc., which owns the Dotty’s brand.

Dotty’s owner and founder Craig Estey said in a statement that the 370-room hotel-casino, 3½ miles from Hoover Dam on U.S. Highway 93, would be renovated.

“It is our intention to keep the hotel and casino open while we modernize and renovate the building and grounds, including the development of a new gas station and convenience store,” Estey said.

Dotty’s operates more than 80 statewide stand-alone taverns, in addition to serving as the slot machine route operator for gaming areas inside Nevada-based Food 4 Less and Kmart stores.

The Hacienda was built on the site of the Gold Strike Casino, which was destroyed by a fire in 1998. The renamed hotel-casino opened 17 months later. The property is on an 11-acre site, and the owners also control 21 acres across the highway.

The hotel-casino includes 19,000 square feet of gaming space, meeting facilities, a gift shop and movie theaters. The sports book is operated by William Hill. The Hacienda is 2½ miles from Boulder City, which does not allow gaming within its city limits.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity,” Estey said. “The Hacienda is a historical jewel that attracts travelers and locals alike. Its proximity to Hoover Dam, along with boating on Lake Mead, and hiking the surrounding federal park lands, provide entertainment that we hope to include in our guest offerings.”

Estey created the Dotty’s business model in Oregon and brought the concept to Nevada in 1995.

However, the business came under fire from rival tavern operators and the Nevada Resort Association in late 2010. Foes said the operations were nothing more than a glorified slot machine parlor, offering snack food and minimal alcohol while focusing solely on gaming.

In 2011, the Nevada Gaming Commission amended regulations governing taverns, requiring Dotty’s and similar small businesses with gaming to have a nine-seat bar, 2,000 square feet of public space and a kitchen operating at least half the time the business is open.

Clark County enacted changes in tavern laws to ensure that gaming is an incidental part of the business model, as opposed to being the key source of revenues.

The Hacienda sale requires approval of state gaming regulators and the Clark County Commission. The deal became public last week when the Boulder City Review reported on its website that employees of the Hacienda were told of the sale and that they would have to reapply for their positions.