Just in time: SLS Las Vegas gets gaming license

Tom Donoghue / DonoghuePhotography.com

The Fourth of July from atop Allure Las Vegas on Friday, July 4, 2014, in Las Vegas. SLS Las Vegas, set to open in August, is pictured here.

State regulators today gave final approval of a gaming license for SLS Las Vegas, two days before the new resort and casino opens on the north Strip.

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the license at its meeting in Las Vegas after the Gaming Control Board gave its preliminary approval earlier this month.

SLS is set to open to the public on Saturday with 800 slot and video poker machines, about 70 table games and a race and sports book on the site where the Sahara once stood.

SLS Las Vegas Exterior

An eye appears to keep watch on landscapers at the SLS Las Vegas Thursday, August 7, 2014. The new resort, formerly the Sahara, will open on August 23. Launch slideshow »

SBE Entertainment CEO Sam Nazarian can’t be involved with casino operations until he gets licensed separately. SLS is Nazarian’s brainchild, and his company has a 10 percent stake in the property.

The gaming side will be overseen by Stockbridge Real Estate, which owns 90 percent of the property. Stockbridge head Terry Fancher told the commission that his company has gaming experience from its involvement with racetracks in California and the Hollywood Park Casino.

Nazarian and SBE Entertainment will manage the hotel and the rest of the nongaming side of the property. Nazarian’s licensing application is in progress and should be brought up for consideration in three to five months.

Rob Oseland, the president and chief operating officer of SLS Las Vegas, will have control over both gaming and nongaming operations.

Oseland brings a wealth of gaming experience to the table, having previously worked extensively with casino mogul Steve Wynn. Oseland reports to Fancher.

Though he noted that Oseland is the one in charge of all aspects of the resort, commission Chairman Tony Alamo still praised Nazarian for being a “visionary” and making the SLS project happen.

“Really, it’s because of him this has all come together,” Alamo said.

The commission honed in on the project’s foreign investors, which was also a major focus at the Gaming Control Board hearing two weeks ago. Eight hundred Chinese investors contributed to the project through a government program called EB-5 that gives legal residency in exchange for investment in the U.S. economy.

Fancher stressed to the commission that Chinese investors have no control over the property’s management.

The commission also approved William Hill as the operator of SLS’ sports book.