US District Judge rules on Silver Bullet casino licence transfer

By Robert Simmons
A judge in the US state of Nevada has ruled that the Silver Bullet casino development can be built in Carson City without an accompanying hotel, despite state regulations stating both must be built before a casino licence can be granted.

US District Judge James Wilson upheld the decision of the Carson City Board of Supervisors, allowing an unrestricted gaming licence previously belonging to the shuttered Horseshoe Club casino to be transferred to the new casino developers.

The now defunct Horseshoe Club began operation in the 1970s with no hotel rooms due to its licence being grandfathered in from a previous piece of gaming legislation, eventually closing in 2014.

Under current Carson City ordinances, any new casino is required to have an accompanying 100 room hotel in order to operate unrestricted casino gaming in Nevada’s state capital.

Despite this, the Carson City Board of Supervisors approved the transference of the Horseshoe’s licence to Silver Bullet’s developers, prompting a lawsuit from the neighbouring Carson Nugget, Gold Dust West and Casino Fandango casinos all of whom built hotels with more than 100 rooms in compliance with Carson City regulations.

In its lawsuit the casinos alleged that the transference was illegal due to the fact that the Horseshoe had not paid its quarterly licence fees for 22 months and had filed to dissolve its operations, effectively voiding its casino licence.

The suit also alleged that the Board’s decision was an abuse of discretion, which gave the Silver Bullet an unfair economic advantage as it did not have to use/generate funding for the additional hotel development.

However, Judge Wilson ruled that the Carson City board of supervisors could grant, deny, revoke or transfer a casino licence from one licensee to another. Wilson confirmed that even though the Horseshoe had been effectively dissolved as a business, it could still move its licence to the Silver Bullet on the condition that the Horseshoe clubs remaining quarterly licence fees were paid.

The judge stated that: "Substantial evidence supports the board's grant of Horseshoe Club's grandfathered gaming license to Silver Bullet"

In his concluding remarks, Judge Wilson stated that the licence was not transferred until the Nevada Gaming Commission had approved Silver Bullet’s state gaming licence and as such it was not an abuse of discretion by the Carson City Board.

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