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October 30, 2014

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Sunset Station lawsuit puts Roadhouse casino renovation plans on ice

Click to enlarge photo

The entrance of Sunset Station as the sun goes down in Henderson.

Roadhouse Casino

Map of Sunset Station Hotel Casino

Sunset Station Hotel Casino

1301 W. Sunset Road, Henderson

Plans to renovate and reopen the Roadhouse casino in Henderson are now on hold because of a lawsuit filed by competitor Sunset Station Inc., a Roadhouse spokeswoman said Monday.

"Due to Station’s aggressive litigation stance to thwart any competition, any plans to move forward are contingent on the outcome of this lawsuit against Bob McMackin and the city of Henderson," Roadhouse spokeswoman Elizabeth Trosper said.

McMackin, longtime owner of the property at Boulder Highway and Sunset Road, and unidentified investors had planned to begin work in January and reopen the property next summer, she said.

Improvements planned for the property included renovating the interior to include the casino, two kitchens and an entertainment area. The outside area was supposed to be rehabbed and the landscaping upgraded, Trosper said.

Sunset Station, a Station Casinos Inc. property, filed suit in Clark County District Court this month against the city of Henderson, McMackin and McMackin’s company Marengo Inc., charging the city unlawfully granted the Roadhouse a permit to operate as a nonrestricted casino.

The Roadhouse has been closed for years but reopens once a year for one day to maintain its state nonrestricted gaming license.

McMackin initially closed the Roadhouse in 2002. It was leased to a separate party from 2004-2007.

Unlike current nonrestricted applicants, the Roadhouse license is grandfathered in by the state with no hotel.

Sunset Station and two of its sister properties in the region, Fiesta Henderson and Boulder Station, all have hotels and Station has been fighting plans by McMackin to operate with the nonrestricted license without him having invested in a hotel.

Henderson has determined the Roadhouse’s 1988 conditional use permit rights for nonrestricted gaming never expired, though attorneys for Station say the city has exceeded its authority "by approving an application permitting nonrestricted gaming without a resort hotel or specific nonconforming use."

McMackin is represented in the litigation by the Las Vegas law firm Nitz, Walton & Heaton Ltd.

"We are disappointed by Station Casinos’ ill-conceived attempt to eliminate perceived competition, especially in an economy where small business should be encouraged," Trosper said in a statement Monday. "The Roadhouse is positioned at the gateway to the city and its transformation will serve as a catalyst for future economic prosperity. The city of Henderson has been thorough in its assessment and approval of this project and we stand by and support the city’s legal opinion and are hopeful the District Court will see the lawsuit for what it is and dismiss it. We are grateful to be in the position to provide construction and permanent jobs as well as a tax revenue stream to the city of Henderson."

Trosper declined to identify partners or investors McMackin has lined up for the project.

"Due to Station’s aggressive litigation stance to thwart any competition, at this time we do not feel comfortable disclosing outside partners and exposing them to litigation," Trosper said.

She did say two entities previously linked to Roadhouse development plans -- the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians and a company called Creekside Holdings -- are not involved in the litigation or development possibilities.

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  1. Station Casinos! Once again, the big bully on the block. When will the state step in and corral this monstrosity they have helped create? Stations goal is to monopolize the local gambling industry and they will apparently will go to any lengths to achieve it. The Nevada Gaming Commission did the right thing when it denied Howard Hughes a monopoly on the Strip in turning down his attempt to buy the Dunes, but has been derelict in its responsibilities when it comes to Stations. Just whose interests are its members looking out for? Certainly not the public's.

  2. Station Casinos use to be a good casinos for the locals, but that all change, about five years ago.
    They turned into one of the biggest sweat joints around! The locals don't stand a chance in any of them any more! The cut back their pay outs, and everything else that made them local friendly!

    Now they want to stop any competition, this country was built on competition, and that is one of the problems we have right now, all the corporations putting the small businessman out of business!

    Of course Sunset Station would lose players to anyone that would give them a good deal for their money, and shouldn't the players have the right to play where they want too?

    No court should allow SunSet station to win this law suit, and they should be made to pay the cost for the Roadhouse to defend the suit! The same thing goes for the gaming commission, they should put a stop to this suit!

  3. McMackin has floated rumors of reopening and cleaning up that property of his many times over the years but has done nothing. That place has been an eyesore on the edge of town and he has not cared.

    Now people are upset because Stations wants McMackin to play by the same rules as everyone else?

    What has McMackin done for the city, county? Nothing but let an old property become a home to the local bums.

  4. Shows you how badly managed station s casino is. A small, local hole in the wall wants to remodel, and the big bully thinks it will cut into its business...

  5. jaquekeno: Bullseye! It is not about McMackin, at all. I live all the way across town, near Texas, Fiesta & Wildfire (all Stations properties), and wouldn't ever go to the Roadhouse yet I'm on their side. It's about the broader picture - about stifling competition in a most unsavory way - and the state "watchdog" being complicit in it. All one has to do is look at what has transpired on the Strip over the past few years to see who Nevada's gaming "regulators" really work for. And see how it has taken a toll on our economy. Sure, there's a recession, but I'll bet a dollar to a donut, many former visitors are not coming back because they've been getting screwed at the tables & machines by the concentration of ownership and lack of competition on the Strip.

  6. There really isn't enough in this article to decide how much merit Station's lawsuit has. The question is, though, why does Station's care?

    Haven't they spent enough time in the courtrooms over the past two years?

    The dilapitated building that housed the former Roadhouse has been an eyesore for years. I'm sure the city of Henderson would be thrilled to have it renovated and opened, bringing in tax revenue.

    To think that little casino would cut into Sunset Station's slot handle is laughable.

  7. lvfacts101 ... you are correct. There is no advantage to go to Vegas when the boats have the same lousy games / machines. Competition is what set Vegas apart from the boats, tribals .. etc.