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Gaming Guru

Richard N. Velotta

Company Roping in Plans for Rural Resort Developments

6 September 2005

A Seattle investment company believes it will hit the jackpot with three rodeo and casino resorts in rural Nevada.

Triad Resorts LLC, whose managing member is a principal with the investment banking firm Capital Access LLC, is moving ahead with a plan to build three four-star resorts in the border towns of Jackpot and Wendover and in Elko.

Patrick Howard said Triad is under contract to acquire 113.4 acres in Jackpot and is in the process of getting financing, zoning changes and construction permits to build a network of resorts in the three communities.

While the Jackpot property is expected to be built first, the Elko development would be the centerpiece property and serve as a supply point for the other two satellite developments.

Elko, located nearly 200 miles west of Salt Lake City on Interstate 80, has a population of about 45,000. Wendover is on the Utah-Nevada border on I-80, while Jackpot is on the Idaho-Nevada border on U.S. 93.

Each resort would be centered around a rodeo arena and Triad plans to play host to 150 rodeos a year between the three facilities.

Each resort also would have a condominium-hotel development, casino, spa and salon, indoor waterpark, full-service recreational vehicle park, events center and restaurants. The Elko facility also would have a seven-furlong horse racing track and the company plans to seek permission from the state Gaming Control Board to offer pari-mutuel wagering and daily simulcast satellite racing from mid-May through Labor Day.

"We felt that the time was right to do this," Howard said from his Seattle office. "One of the gentlemen involved in the project spent some early growing-up years in Elko as a young buckaroo and has been watching these markets for a long time. It wasn't ready 10 years go, but quite honestly, it's time."

Howard said there has been virtually no new development in Jackpot for the last 10 years, but that the demographics of the population centers of Idaho have changed dramatically and that Jackpot is an ideal location for the first of the three developments.

He said the company hopes to start construction in Jackpot next spring and open two years later. The Elko and Wendover properties would start construction by spring 2007 and open by spring 2009.

The company estimates that two 300-room condo-hotels of 360,000 square feet in Jackpot and Wendover will cost $72.2 million each to build and a 400-room property of 480,000 square feet in Elko would cost $93 million.

The events centers, casinos and waterparks in Jackpot and Wendover are estimated to cost $24.5 million each and the larger Elko facilities would cost $30 million. The rodeo containment area and horse-racing facilities in Elko are estimated at $10 million, for an estimated total construction cost of $326.7 million.

Triad expects to spend $1.5 million to $2 million over the next six months for reports documenting the feasibility of the resorts.

Howard said the resorts are expected to be busiest during the summer vacation months when horse-racing events are scheduled. However, the indoor waterparks and the events centers, which also could draw country music entertainers as well as rodeos, and the casinos would make the resorts year-around attractions.

The Elko horse-racing facility would include two training tracks, 300 indoor stalls and more than 100 portable stalls. Grandstands would seat 4,000 people and include 12 sky boxes. Portable bleachers from the events center would provide seating for an additional 4,000 people.

In each of the resorts, a single-story 50,000-square-foot casino would house the spas, restaurants and gift shops. The owners are expected to apply for gaming licenses and provide slots, table games and poker rooms.

The 30,000-square-foot waterparks in Wendover and Jackpot would have a daily capacity of 450 people while the park in Elko would be twice as large and have a daily capacity of 900. Slides, lazy rivers, water coasters and water cannons are expected to be the main attractions.

The Jackpot and Wendover RV parks would have 80 spaces each, while the Elko park would have 200 hook-ups.

The events centers in all three locations would seat between 500 and 4,000 people in bleachers and 1,200 in the floor area.

In Elko, a 200-acre livestock containment area, capable of holding 150 bucking horses, 100 bulls, 100 roping steers and 100 roping calves, is planned. Triad plans to develop an amateur rodeo association and encourage cowboys to compete for prize money.