Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval went to bat Thursday for a federal online poker bill, breaking away from fellow governors ramping up to fight it.

Sandoval split with the National Governors Association, which told congressional leaders the proposed bill would restrict states from pursuing their own forms of legalized gaming, and the revenue gained would help fund schools and social programs.

A draft bill reviewed by the governors was an unacceptable “pre-emption of state authority,” according to Govs. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania and Steve Beshear of Kentucky.

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But Sandoval, whose state stands to benefit if Internet poker is made legal, said the legislation drafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., was worth a closer look.

“Internet gaming is inevitable,” Sandoval wrote in his own letter to Capitol leaders. And while many states have shown they can regulate brick-and-mortar gaming, he said, the Internet “has introduced a borderless element that state regulation alone cannot address.”

The Reid-Kyl bill is a “sensible federal approach,” he said. “I offer my full support to the efforts by Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl to draft a federal bill that strikes a balance between consumer protection and maintaining state authority.”

Sandoval, who was a gaming regulator from 1998 to 2001, said he knew what he was talking about.

“As former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, I have a unique perspective on this matter that my fellow governors do not have,” he said.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who has tried to round up GOP support to legalize online poker, said he welcomed the push from Sandoval, a fellow Republican.

“Passing regulated online poker legislation is critical to the state of Nevada, and I will continue working to get legislation passed by the end of the year,” Heller said in a statement.

Wynn, Encore, Four Seasons top Readers’ Choice Awards

Condé Nast Traveler published its 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards in its November 2012 issue, including its Top 15 Hotels and Resorts in Las Vegas.

Wynn and Encore were named (together) the No. 1 resort in the city, with readers citing “outstanding rooms” at Wynn.

At No. 2 in the resorts category is the Palazzo, and the JW Marriott Las Vegas was named No. 3. The fourth spot went to Caesars Palace, and Green Valley Ranch rounded out the list.

As for the top 10 hotels in Las Vegas, Four Seasons took the top spot. The Bellagio came in at No. 2, with the Venetian sliding into third. Mandarin Oriental was No. 4, and Aria completed the top five. The Cosmopolitan was voted in at No. 6. and No. 7 went to the Trump International. At No. 8, 9 and 10 respectively are the Hotel at Mandalay Bay, Wyndham Grand Desert and the Mirage.

Notably, no Las Vegas property made the publications list of the Top 100 hotels in the world, and Las Vegas did not make the Top 10 Cities in the U.S. list.

National steakhouse chain coming to Harrah’s

Ruth’s Chris Steak House has found a home on the Strip. The upscale restaurant chain will open early next year at Harrah’s Las Vegas, replacing the casino’s The Range steak house.

The Range will close Nov. 11.

Ruth’s Chris will be on the second floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the Strip, the company said Monday. It will seat 400 and have two private dining rooms.

CityCenter appeals to state Supreme Court for additional damages

CityCenter filed an emergency appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court of a lower court decision that could seriously cripple its attempt to win more than $300 million in damages concerning the unfinished Harmon hotel.

After a July hearing, Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled that CityCenter, the $8.5 billion Strip complex managed and half-owned by MGM Resorts International, could not use a technique called extrapolation when making its case to a jury. Extrapolation, much like political polling, uses a sample to predict the entire outcome, in this instance how many key structural elements contain defects.

CityCenter engineers tested 397 locations, concluding that all but one contained some sort of flaw, such as misplaced or missing reinforcement steel. However, this covers only 27 percent of the elements; without extrapolation, that would cap what CityCenter could win from a jury at roughly $80 million.

CityCenter attributes the flaws to shoddy workmanship. General contractor Perini Building Co. has admitted to some mistakes and offered to fix them, but had argued that most defects resulted from poor blueprints and not its work.

Wynn reports 12 percent decrease in profits

Wynn Resort Ltd., the casino company founded by Steve Wynn, said Wednesday that its profit fell almost 12 percent in the third quarter as a debt-related charge increased expenses for the operator of casinos in Las Vegas and Macau.

Wynn Resorts said its net income for the third-quarter was $112 million, or $1.11 per share, compared with $127.1 million, or $1.01 per share, for the same period last year.

Excluding the loss on the extinguishment of debt and other one-time items, the Las Vegas company earned $149.2 million, or $1.48 a share. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had expected earnings of $1.34 per share.

Wynn Resorts revenue of $1.3 billion was in line with analysts’ expectations.


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