Ascuaga's Nugget Gets New Owners

SPARKS, NV - A family-owned casino in Sparks is handing the reins over to new owners. That's the word coming from John Ascuaga's Nugget. The property has been a mainstay for 58 years on B Street in Sparks. Except for the main players involved, the news comes as a shock to just about everyone.

The news came as a surprise to the owner of the Blue Garter Bridal & Tux.

She says the Nugget frequently sent convention guests to her shop just down the street if they forgot formal attire.

“I'm very surprised. I am really shocked about them selling. But I'm excited to see them renovate a little more, maybe get some more people down here, maybe some younger people would be nice,” says Heidi Quadrio, owner of Blue Garter Bridal and Tux.

What started out as a coffee shop 58 years ago, John Ascuaga's Nugget has grown to include two towers, plenty of gaming and restaurants, along with a showroom and convention center.

According to Stephen Ascuaga, the property is constantly having to keep up with the times, and that costs money--and with gaming numbers down, they needed to find someone with the cash and the vision to see ahead of dire predictions.

“We just felt with this kind of investment, quite honestly it will take the Nugget for decades more,” says Ascuaga.

There are reportedly no plans to lay off any of the 1300 employees.

Special events like the rib cookoff and Star Spangled Sparks will stay intact, as will the scholarship program.

Global Gaming and Hospitality says to the contrary, it wants to make them bigger.

The soon-to-be president and CEO of the Nugget says the biggest challenge is defining change as good.

“Communicating to the employees the positive aspects of change. Communicating to the customers to the positive aspects of change. Communicating to the public the positive aspects of change. If I do a poor job of that I understand the risk,” says Carlton Geer, the incoming CEO and President of John Ascuaga's Nugget.

Global Gaming and Hospitality will invest $50,000,000 initially to upgrade rooms, the casino floor, restaurants, the convention space and exterior.

This is all predicated on approval by Nevada's Gaming Control Board.