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Howard Stutz

Lady Luck stays closed for now

2 November 2006

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – (PRESS RELEASE) -- It will be at least another year before the shuttered Lady Luck in downtown is replaced, state gaming regulators were told Wednesday.

The 743-room hotel-casino closed in February and the facility's operator, Downtown Resorts, has spent much of the year demolishing the inside structure of the casino to give designers a clean slate.

Andrew Donner of the Donner Investment Trust, which holds almost 66 percent of Downtown Resorts, told the Gaming Control Board during a routine transfer of interest hearing it would be at least late 2007 or early 2008 before the Lady Luck, which will be renamed, is reopened.

"We're about 85 percent complete in the design of the new facility," Donner said.

After the brief hearing, Donner said the company might be ready to release its plans "in the next 30 days."

The 42-year-old Lady Luck closed Feb. 11, eliminating the small casino-hotel and 689 jobs from the downtown market. Operators said the property would be closed a year while the public areas and hotel rooms were renovated.

However, there have been no visible signs of any remodeling at the property.

Donner blamed the amount of commercial construction currently taking place in Las Vegas as the reason for the delay. In June, a California investment firm said it was loaning the Lady Luck's owners $66 million to be used for the renovation.

Meanwhile, gaming revenues downtown have suffered this year. In August, the gaming win for downtown casinos fell more than 14 percent from the previous year, the third straight month revenues declined in that segment of the market.

Donner told the control board his company remains bullish on downtown and believes a redeveloped Lady Luck will feed into other improvements in the area, such as the recently announced Jewelry Market and a renovation to the Golden Nugget.

"We try and look beyond the gaming index," Donner said. "There's a lot happening downtown and we're looking forward to be a part of it."