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Nevada regulator grants $120M Legends Bay Casino in Sparks final approval

After the Nevada Gaming Control Board's unanimous recommendation of a license earlier in June, the Nevada Gaming Commission has now given the necessary final regulatory approval for Legends Bay Casino in Sparks, scheduled to start welcoming customers in late summer.

In the meantime, Olympia Gaming CEO Garry Goett told commissioners the $120+ million casino is in the process of hiring some 300 employees ahead of the opening, marking the first all-new, from-the-ground-up casino development in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area in more than two decades.

The job hiring events will take place from July 13 through August 2, with available positions in food and beverage, casino, sportsbook, engineering, security, surveillance and information technology.

Two weeks ago, Goett told the Gaming Control Board that retail development brings in 12 million visitors annually to the area of the future casino. That customer base, along with an average of more than 2.5 million annual visitors to Olympia’s Fandango Casino in Carson City, is expected to help fill Legends Bay Casino.

“We deeply appreciate the support of the Nevada Gaming Commission throughout this process and are excited to open later this summer”, Olympia Gaming COO DeCourcy Graham stated.

The project was first introduced 15 years ago, with its initial construction halted by the Great Recession. In the meantime, Goett’s Las Vegas-based Olympia Companies developed two non-gaming hotels - Hampton Inn and Residence Inn - near the casino location among the Sparks Marina.

This 15-year wait allowed Goett to refocus the casino project’s budget, cutting it down four times its initial value. Refinancing also caught the attention of Gaming Commissioner Stephen Cohen who, according to The Nevada Independent, told Goett he was impressed the developer was funding more than half of the costs: “The finances of your company give the property the opportunity to get up and running."

The company had purchased the land to develop the casino in 2007 and prepared the property’s design in 2008. Over the following decade, Olympia opted to gradually downsize the casino from $500 million, eventually arriving at the ~$120 million price it is today, and broke ground in March 2021.

Even though the property is a small one by Las Vegas standards, it is still expected to draw the attention of hundreds of customers through its 40,000-square-foot casino, featuring 660 slot machines and 10 table games. It will also include a sportsbook, operated by Las Vegas-based Circa Sports, whose license was also approved by the regulator to open its first Northern Nevada location within this project.

Goett also added that Legends Bay will “not be a Las Vegas casino,” and explained that local interior designers were hired to give the project a “contemporary and sophisticated look."

The new facility will also have a “Food Truck Hall”, including street eats served from food trucks such as Pizza Genius, Loco Bueno and Red 88. A Galaxy Theatres complex with an IMAX screen shares a common wall with the casino property, and the venue will also be near two hotels Olympia already owns: the aforementioned 104-room Residence Inn by Marriott and the 102-room Hampton Inn & Suites; as well as a retail center known as The Outlets at Legends.

Goett is not the only entrepreneur exploring opportunities in the area. In February, Colorado-based Century Casinos announced it was buying the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks for $195 million, citing Northern Nevada’s economic climate, which has attracted several manufacturing and technology companies to open corporate facilities in the region, with gaming revenue in Washoe County topping more than $1 billion in 2021.


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