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Gaming Guru

Richard N. Velotta

Ex-MGM Grand exec gets OK to run Tropicana

22 June 2009

NEVADA -- The Nevada Gaming Commission has approved a gaming license for a former MGM Grand executive to operate the Tropicana.

Meeting in Carson City today, commissioners voted unanimously to license Alex Yemenidjian and his family trust.

Yemenidjian, who had a clean record as MGM lead shareholder Kirk Kerkorian's right-hand man, will serve as the Tropicana's CEO.

The deal moving the 1,850-room Tropicana out of bankruptcy to Yemenidjian is expected to close July 1.

Yemenidjian promised new slot machines, restaurants, a race and sports book, poker room and a nightclub for the property and "no corporate liposuction" by laying off employees.

Yemenidjian said he knows he faces a challenge, but that there is "nothing more rewarding than while people say something can't be done to be interrupted by people who are doing it."

Commissioner John Moran Jr. applauded Yemenidjian's efforts and recalled playing golf at a course near the Tropicana, adding that he hopes new management will be able to return the property to its glory days.