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Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas to close next month

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas.

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 | 3:12 p.m.

Casino Montelago

Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas will close at midnight March 14, the casino owner announced today.

The closure is a direct result of last week’s announcement that the Ritz-Carlton would be closing on May 2.

The casino is owned by CIRI Lakeside Gaming Investors LLC and is leased through Village Hospitality LLC, which is an arm of Deutsche Bank and owner of the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas.

More than 170 people will be out of work as a result of the closure. Employees were informed by management today.

John Tipton, a spokesman for the company, said the casino was in the middle of negotiations with other investors when the announcement of the Ritz-Carlton closure hit, resulting in those investors pulling out of the casino.

“It left the current owners in a situation where they felt they could no longer operate the facility without additional investors,” Tipton said.

Tipton said CIRI Lakeside Gaming was negotiating with additional investors because of difficulties in the Las Vegas gaming market. Three individual owners of Henderson-based PDS Gaming, New York-based fund Plainfield Enterprises LLC and several other individuals have interests in the casino, Tipton said.

After the Ritz-Carlton announcement, Jennifer Morton, marketing and public relations director for Casino MonteLago, predicted last week that business for the casino would remain steady without the luxury hotel.

“We have a strong local base, so it’s just going to be business as normal for us,” Morton told the Sun last week.

Casino MonteLago had shut down its casino pit during recent months from Mondays through Thursdays because of low customer levels.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said he wasn’t aware of any other operators interested in taking over Casino MonteLago. Neilander said the property’s gaming license will be surrendered upon closing.

The casino opened in May 2003. It originally was owned by Cook Inlet Region, Inc., a corporation owned by members of an Alaskan American Indian tribe.

The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas announced last week it would be closing its doors in May due to a lack of funding from owners Village Hospitality LLC. The closure will leave about 350 employees out of work. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is an independently operated division of Marriott International.

In addition to the hotels, restaurants, shops and casino, the 3,600-acre Lake Las Vegas development, located about 20 miles from the Strip, includes more than 1,700 residential units. Lake Las Vegas is now in bankruptcy, burdened with $728 million in liabilities amid the worst real estate downturn in memory.

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