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Howard Stutz

Searchlight Casino operator to surrender license

5 September 2014

LAS VEGAS -- The 90-year-old owner of the Searchlight Nugget Casino has agreed to give up her license for the small casino after state gaming agents found numerous irregularities in the operation and accounting for the property’s 50 slot machines.

A seven-count complaint filed by the Gaming Control Board last month marked the fourth time since 2009 that Verlie May Doing has been told bookkeeping and accounting records for the Searchlight Nugget were not in compliance with state gaming laws.

In a stipulated settlement, Doing agreed to surrender her gaming license for the casino, which fronts North Highway 95, on Dec. 31.

The Control Board could extend the license surrender until June 30, 2015 if a buyer for the property is found and is being investigated for a gaming license. The casino could remain open if a slot machine route operator takes over.

In 2013 Doing told the Review-Journal she wanted to sell her Searchlight businesses, including the Nugget, the 21-room El Rey Motel, various commercial buildings and 41 acres for $5 million.

The Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to sign off on the settlement later this month.

According to the complaint, state gaming agents discovered Doing had been overseeing the accounting functions for the slot machines, although she was not supposed to handle those tasks.

The Control Board said it “has worked vigorously” to help Doing comply with gaming regulations. But the casino operator continued to operate in violation of previous stipulated settlements.

In 2013, Doing paid a $12,000 fine and agreed to hire a slot machine route operator for the Searchlight Nugget to settle a 27-count complaint.

State gaming agents said their recent investigation showed discrepancies between the casino accounting and the general ledger and numerous inaccuracies in the casino’s bankroll calculations. The door to the accounting room was also left open.

The Gaming Control Board filed complaints for similar violations against Doing in 2009, 2011 and last year.

Gaming Commissioners Joe Brown and John Moran Jr. voted against the 2013 settlement, saying they wanted a full hearing or a harsher penalty levied against the casino.

Doing and her late husband Warren Doing bought the old Sandy’s casino in 1967 in remodeled the property into the Searchlight Nugget.