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Gaming Guru

Jeff Simpson

Barrick Gaming Discloses Major Investment Plan

3 March 2004

LAS VEGAS -- The state Gaming Control Board today recommended approval for Barrick Gaming Corp.'s purchase of most of Jackie Gaughan's downtown Las Vegas real estate assets, including four hotel-casinos.

During this morning's proceedings, Barrick Gaming owners David Barrick and Stephen Crystal said they plan to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in downtown Las Vegas.

They plan to add 1,200 hotel rooms and 1,200 time share units to the Plaza, to join the Plaza to the Las Vegas Club with a deck over Main Street. They also would erect an 8,000-seat portable arena at the Plaza, buy the Nevada Club Hotel and the Queen of Hearts motel on Main Street and eventually redevelop the Western casino into a new Latino-themed hotel-casino.

Barrick's license application moves to the Nevada Gaming Commission on March 18; if the commission approves the license, the change of control could take place as soon as that night.

Barrick's $82 million deal to buy the Plaza, Las Vegas Club, Western and Gold Spike casinos from downtown gaming legend Jackie Gaughan was first announced in December 2002.

The downtown property sale also includes two motels and a few additional parcels of developed and vacant land, as well as an option to buy the El Cortez, Gaughan's lone remaining downtown hotel casino.

Crystal, Barrick Gaming's president, told the Las Vegas Sun last week that the company has lined up about $75 million in financing, including a $45 million loan from Aereal Bank, a Frankfurt, Germany-based institution, and $30 million in mezzanine financing from New York-based Fortress.