GARDNERVILLE -- The new year brings in a new owner for Sharkey's Nugget, Gardnerville's landmark casino.
As of 12:01 a.m. today, the casino became Sharkey's Nugget Holder Hospitality Group, owned by Harold Holder, operator of the Silver Club in Sparks, the El Capitan in Hawthorne and the Sundance Casino in Winnemucca.
The Begovich family planned to mark the transition with a New Year's Eve party.
"We have some special favors for our longtime customers," said comptroller Elaine Agnason, who worked at the casino for 16-1/2 years before her position was eliminated in the change in ownership.
"We're going to have karaoke in the bar one last time," she said Monday.
Holder purchased the casino from Milos "Sharkey" Begovich in late June. Begovich operated the casino for 31 years, getting each new year off to a rousing start with the annual Serbian Christmas on Jan. 7, a free feed that attracted more than 4,000 people.
Some dinner guests came every year from as far away as Arizona, California and all over Nevada for traditional dishes like goat, roasted pig, turkey and apple strudel.
"We're still getting calls from people asking if we're having the Serbian Christmas this year," Agnason said. "We had to tell them no."
Begovich's daughter Mashelle thanked Sharkey's loyal customers Monday and urged them to keep coming. Her father is at her home recovering from quadruple bypass surgery and wasn't expected to attend Monday night's festivities.
"It's hard for me to put it into words," she said, on her last day of work in the casino where she grew up.
"The people who bought it are wonderful. I wish them all the luck in the world," she said.
Douglas County commissioners are honoring Begovich with a proclamation on Thursday, thanking him for all his contributions to the community.