Judge rejects petition that would effectively block Bodines North Carson City casino plan
District Judge James Wilson on Friday refused to issue an order that would effectively block Bodines plan for a new casino in north Carson City.
Officials from the Carson Nugget, Casino Fandango and Gold Dust West are challenging the Carson City Board of Supervisors’ and Nevada Gaming Control Board licenses allowing Bodines to move a grandfathered gaming license from the Horseshoe to their planned new casino.
The core of the issue is without that grandfathered license, Bodines would have to build a hotel/motel of at least 100 rooms in order to run a nonrestricted casino in Carson City. The room requirement was put in place in 2002 but exempted or grandfathered gaming licensees predating that ordinance — including that of the Horseshoe Casino which closed nearly two years ago.
Bodines lawyer Sev Carlson told Wilson in order to keep that grandfathered license, gaming control required them to open for business at the Horseshoe in downtown Carson City for at least eight hours on Friday — the day after they received both their city and state gaming licenses. He said by demanding an order shutting the Horseshoe down on Friday “they are trying to run out the clock,” effectively eliminating the grandfathered license and locking the project.
He argued Bodines jumped through all the city and state hoops to legally transfer the old license. Carlson said his clients went through city staff, the planning commission, Board of Supervisors, Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission, winning approvals for the plan.
“They’re 0-for-5,” Carlson said about his opponents, adding the project has been lawfully granted city and state licenses.
Carlson told Wilson the issue is those other casinos don’t want the competition.
But the lawyer for those casinos, David McElhinney, said that’s not the case, that the Nugget, Fandango and Gold Dust West just want a level playing field, which means Bodines should have to build at least 100 rooms for guests. He said those casinos are concerned about the image and reputation of gaming in Carson City.
Pointing out the city isn’t even a party to this petition for an order shuttering the Horseshoe, Carlson said the other casino operators need to take their complaints up with the city.
“You’re argument is that the city did wrong in allowing them to open so you want me shut them down rather than having an action against the city,” said Wilson.
McIlhenney said they have an action against the city in the form of a petition for a writ of mandamus ruling the city violated its own ordinances in approving the Bodines plan.
Wilson ruled the company “applied to the city and state for gaming licenses and were granted licenses by both entities.”
“If there is an error, the error is the city or state, not the defendant’s,” Wilson said. “The court finds that because (the company) has licenses from both agencies, it isn’t operating illegally.”
Wilson said that issue must be addressed in the petition for a writ of mandamus against the city and the Board of Supervisors and at this point, the casinos don’t have any standing against these defendants.
”The hardship would be much greater on the defendants if the order were issued than it would be on the plaintiffs,” Wilson said.