Fandango discusses partnership with hotel

The Carson City developer of the new Hawthorn Suites and the Casino Fandango general manager said Thursday that a plan to put a casino near the hotel's Highway 50 East location is under discussion, but nothing is final.

Sources in business and political circles have predicted Casino Fandango would drop its plans to develop a 30,000 square-foot "satellite casino" near the Holiday Inn Express on North Carson Street, and opt instead to develop along with the 72-room extended-stay Hawthorn Suites.

Neither Andy Hettrick, project manager for RIDL Ltd., which is developing the Hawthorn Suites on the northwest corner of the highway and Lompa Lane, nor Fandango General Manager Steve Forester would discuss details.

"Yes, we're negotiating, but there's no deal yet," Hettrick said Thursday. "I've got nothing in writing."

Forester echoed similar comments.

"We have no deal done," he said.

Carson City ordinance requires a hotel to have 100 rooms before it can receive an unrestricted gaming license. Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said a gaming license is specific to the location. A gaming company would have to apply for a license at each casino's location. All governing members of a casino company would have to be licensed, but he said it depends on the structure of the corporation.

"Someone who's already been licensed, it does go quicker," Neilander said. "We'd have to update the prior investigation."

The gaming official said a hotel working in conjunction with a casino company may not be subject to mandatory gaming licensing.

"It depends on how he structures it," Neilander said. "If the hotel is only a landlord and is not going to share in the profits of a gaming operation, and is not going to participate in the gaming operation, than he may not be subject to mandatory gaming licensing."

But the hotel owner would still be required to have some form of licensing.

Hawthorn Suites is a four-story, 66,000-square-foot hotel under development near the Carson City Freeway. It will have a full kitchen in every suite, wireless Internet, an indoor swimming pool and a meeting room to accommodate 75 people. It was originally set to open in October, but Hettrick said there have been some delays. The $13.8 million hotel will employ 15 to 20 people.

In January, Casino Fandango approached the city with plans to develop a satellite casino near the Holiday Inn Express, off North Carson Street and Broadleaf Lane. The plans included 250 slot machines, a sports book, coffee shop, two bars and a "storm slot," which is a feature inside the Casino Fandango on South Carson Street. The storm slot simulates rain, thunder and lightning for players.

Jaswinder Singh Dhami, chief executive officer of the Holiday Inn Express, did not return calls seeking comment.


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