The Carson City Planning Commission approved a special use permit for a new Bodines Casino despite opposition from other local gaming properties.
The Carson Nugget Casino Hotel, Casino Fandango, Gold Dust West Casino Hotel, Max Casino and SlotWorld Casino, all represented by a single attorney, said Bodines’ application failed to comply with Carson City’s master plan and would harm their businesses.
Garrett Gordon with Lewis Roca Rothberger Christie LLP said during public comment the master plan encourages the development of gaming establishments that attract customers from outside Carson City and that such venues should be concentrated downtown.
The new Bodines is planned in NorthTown Plaza, the largely vacant mall at the intersection of Carson Street and College Parkway, outside the downtown corridor.
It will also largely draw in local customers because it won’t have to include hotel rooms, despite current Carson City Municipal Code.
The owners plan to buy and transfer the Horseshoe Club’s license, which was grandfathered in before the requirement to include 100 hotel rooms for a new unrestricted gaming license took effect.
Gordon argued downtown’s defunct Horseshoe Club no longer has a license.
Whether the license is valid will be determined by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission, who must approve the transfer, and the Carson City Board of Supervisors.
Carson City code says gaming licenses grandfathered in lose their 100-room exemption if the casino ceases operating for 24 months.
The two-year anniversary of the Horseshoe Club closing is in January, according to Severin Carlson, partner, Kaempfer Crowell, the lawyer representing Bodines owner, Silver Bullet of Nevada LLC.
Because the new Bodines will target locals, it will have to take away business from other casinos, said Gordon.
“This is actually cannibalism,” he said. “If they were going to build (hotel) rooms we would not be here.”
Dean DeLillo, Carson Nugget’s owner, also spoke.
“The Horseshoe Club was a beautiful casino when I moved here and now it’s been trashed. If you allow this variance to happen other businesses may move,” said DeLillo. “What would downtown Carson look like without the Nugget?”
City planning staff initially required the applicant to obtain the gaming license before the city would issue a building permit needed to do the interior work on the site, said Hope Sullivan, Carson City planning manager.
But the applicant wanted to be able to work on the project while the gaming control board and commission conducted their routine investigation so city staff added a condition the city will not conduct a building inspection or issue a business license, both needed to operate, until Bodines demonstrates it has transferred the license.
Bodines requested a special use permit to operate a bar and casino in a location zoned for retail commercial and to add bigger signage than normally allowed.
The Planning Commission approved the SUP on a 6-1 vote, with Commission Walt Owen voting no.
Owen said he didn’t think the project met the requirement of one of the findings the commission must make, which said it would not be detrimental to public health, safety, convenience and welfare.
“Putting in a facility that’s going to draw from the local economy, that’s no growth,” said Owen. “It affects the welfare, the jobs of people in this town.”
In other actions, the commission unanimously approved SUPs for a go-kart facility at 3777 N. Carson St., and a disc golf course at 3600 Flint Dr.
The commission meets again tonight for a special meeting to consider the Vintage at Kings Canyon development.
That meeting starts at 5 p.m. in the Bob Boldrick Theater, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.