Nevada: Expedited gaming-license transfer applauded for saving jobs

July 10, 2024 4:26 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
July 10, 2024 4:26 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

Fourteen months after fast-tracking a transfer of gaming licenses at five truck stops to avoid their shutdown, Nevada gaming regulators praised the new ownership for saving jobs across the state.

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The emergency resulted from a $1.3 billion transaction involving British Petroleum acquiring TravelCenters of America. It prompted the Nevada Gaming Commission to hold a special meeting and transfer the gaming licenses to a previous owner.

Without enough time for BP to go through the Nevada gaming-licensing process, TravelCenters of America jettisoned its Nevada operations. The multinational company reached out to Robert Cashell, Jr. The Cashell family, headed by late Reno mayor and lieutenant governor Robert Cashell, previously owned the properties.

Now, Cashell’s RPI, Inc., holds the licenses and leases the properties from BP. TravelCenters has the right to re-acquire the operations in five years.

The issue came up during the Gaming Control Board in which it recommended to the Nevada Gaming Commission that Joseph Linscott receive licensing to be general manager of the operations.

“We’ve saved Nevadans’ jobs by this expedited transaction,” said Board member George Assad. “You’re an excellent choice by Mr. Cashell as general manager.”

There are four non-restricted licenses in Wells, Mill City, Sparks, and Las Vegas at Blue Diamond Road and Dean Martin Drive. They range in size from 2,700 to 7,150 square feet and operate between 52 and 164 gaming devices, along with table games in Sparks and Las Vegas. A restricted location in North Las Vegas has 15 devices. Three separate William Hill licenses include counters in Sparks and Las Vegas.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been a year,” Cashell told the Board.

Cashell said employees were scared of losing their jobs. One asked him if she should go ahead and purchase a home that was already in the works.

“I assured her she should buy that home and she’s the site manager at our North Las Vegas operation,” Cashell said. “It stood out as an example of what we all came together and did. It’s a testament of what we can still do in Nevada as gaming operators and regulators when we come together.”

Cashell said the operations are going according to projections, based on pre-pandemic numbers and not post-pandemic highs.

“Looking at the numbers historically, you could see the peak post-pandemic and I knew from my experience that it wasn’t sustainable,” Cashell said. “We have pretty much trended with their historic pre-pandemic numbers, and that’s how we continue to operate today.”

Cashell said 110 jobs were saved.

“It shows what people can do when you put differences aside and put your mind to work,” Assad said in thanking staff for expediting the matter. “These are rural areas, so jobs are scarce to begin with out there.”