Nevada Regulators Give Final Approval to Sale of Laughlin Casinos

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada gambling regulators gave final approval
Thursday to MGM Mirage Inc.'s sale of two Laughlin casinos to
Marnell Sher Gaming LLC.

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the $200 million sale of the Edgewater and Colorado Belle to the business partnership of Anthony A. Marnell III, son of casino construction pioneer Tony Marnell, and Sher Gaming LLC, led by Ed Sher.

Tony Marnell built and operated the Rio hotel-casino in Las Vegas before Harrah's Entertainment Inc. bought it in 1999.

The younger Marnell and Sher Gaming bought the Saddle West Casino in Pahrump last year and spent almost $7 million renovating it.

The Colorado Belle and Edgewater occupy 57 adjacent acres fronting about 300 yards of the Colorado River. Together, the two properties have 2,535 hotel rooms and 138,000 square feet of casino space with 2,224 slot machines and 72 gambling tables.

The arrangement was financed through $81.5 million in equity, split roughly 70-30 between the Marnell group and the Sher group. An additional $170 million was financed through the Bank of Scotland.

Marnell told the commission the partnership planned to spend about $23 million upgrading the properties.

The Colorado Belle and Edgewater were acquired by MGM Mirage when the Las Vegas-based casino giant bought the Mandalay Resort
Group in April 2005 for $7.9 billion.

MGM Mirage last month announced it was investing $160 million in a planned $700 million Marnell property on the far south end of the Las Vegas Strip through a subordinated convertible note.

Sher Gaming chose not to participate in that project, dubbed the
M Resort.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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