Gaming regulators create opening between marijuana, casinos

Can a gaming licensee lease a building from a businessman who also rents to someone in the marijuana business?

By Richard N. Velotta / Las Vegas Review-Journal

Yes, the Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously determined Thursday.

In what was the first case in which regulators had to make a determination of whether a gaming licensee was too closely aligned with the marijuana business since industry policy makers clarified the issue earlier this year, commissioners voted unanimously to support a license for Apollo Coin Corp. for The Lodge at St. Rose.

Licensee Stuart Apollo had told the state Gaming Control Board and the commission that he wanted to develop an upscale tavern with a restricted license in Henderson.

Apollo had planned for 15 slot machines in the tavern.

Investigators found that Apollo had negotiated a lease with an option to buy a building at 3540 St. Rose Parkway and when it was determined that landlords had contracts with business associates in the marijuana industry, it triggered a policy discussion.

The commission determined after meetings of the state’s Gaming Policy Committee in February that gaming regulators would frown upon a licensee conducting business with anyone in the marijuana business. Federal law enforcement personnel consider marijuana an illegal controlled substance, even though Nevada voters allowed its use for medical and recreational purposes.

The Control Board recommended approval of Apollo’s request on May 3, but the commission had the final say and unanimously concurred.

In other action, commissioners licensed a British company as a new competitor in gaming information technology in a segment that is poised for growth.

Commissioners unanimously approved Brighton, United Kingdom-based Miomni Gaming Ltd. as a geo-location and information technology service provider.

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