ommissioners unanimously approved the licensing of Isle, which is gaining a toehold in Nevada with a 0.1 percent interest in Fernley Pioneers, which operates a small casino in Fernley, east of Reno.
But Virginia McDowell, President and Chief Operating Officer of the company, said Isle plans to enter the Las Vegas locals market when an opportunity arises. In an interview, McDowell echoed what she told the state Gaming Control Board on Sept. 1 – that the company would review potential opportunities in Las Vegas.
McDowell told regulators that Isle, which operates 15 casinos in six states, would be best suited to operate a local property in Las Vegas. The company recently was under consideration to manage four Station Casinos properties that were proposed to be spun off as part of the Station Casinos’ bankruptcy settlement. It turned out that Station management maintained control of its properties and the Isle management proposal never occurred.
Isle also was licensed and owned the downtown Las Vegas Lady Luck property in 2000, selling its interest in 2002. After two ownership changes, the most recent holders of the Lady Luck, Los Angeles-based CIM Group, closed the property in 2006.
McDowell said the company decided to sell the Lady Luck “because it was not a part of our core competency.” She said the company has since broadened its expertise. When investigating the market when under consideration to run the four Station properties, the company decided it wanted to be in Las Vegas.
She said a survey of her customers indicated that 80 percent of them visit Las Vegas at least once a year and it made sense for the company to have a Las Vegas presence.