Las Vegas Club sold to owners of the D casino

Las Vegas Club in downtown Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

The Las Vegas Club, an aging Fremont Street casino that was partly closed more than two years ago, has been sold to a pair of other downtown casino owners.

Jonathan Jossel, CEO of the company that operates the property as well as the Plaza hotel-casino, announced in a statement today that the Las Vegas Club was sold to Derek and Greg Stevens, the owners of the D.

Jossel did not disclose a sales price. Clark County records indicate the property sold for $40 million, but it was not immediately clear if that included the business inside.

The hotel portion of the Las Vegas Club has been dormant since the property shuttered its rooms in 2013. But it has continued to operate a 19,616- square-foot casino, according to the most current Gaming Control Board records.

The Las Vegas Club recently drew strong opposition from nearby casinos when it sought city approval to convert part of its property into a drugstore that would sell packaged liquor. The board of the Fremont Street Experience, which includes Derek Stevens, wrote in a letter in July that there was “no doubt that such an action would have a severely detrimental effect on this tourist destination.” Packaged liquor sales have long been an area of concern in the downtown tourist area, and the city took steps last summer to crack down on public alcohol consumption there.

Jossel alluded to the drugstore plan when announcing the sale today.

“The Tamares Group, owner of the Las Vegas Club, and PlayLV, its operator, had been working on various development prospects for the Las Vegas Club, but it is clear that the sale of the property provides a greater opportunity for the future of the company, its staff and the Fremont Street neighborhood,” Jossel’s statement said.

In an interview, Jossel characterized the process of selling the Las Vegas Club as fast but based on mutual interest.

“It was very quick the way it all happened, and it was very fluid,” he said. “It wasn’t like we just woke up one day and said, ‘Let’s do this.’”

The drugstore was just one of “many components” of a broader vision that Tamares had for the Las Vegas Club, Jossel said. But Tamares wanted to focus on the Plaza, and they already knew Stevens was interested in the Las Vegas Club, he said.

Jossel said opposition to the liquor-selling drugstore wasn’t the main reason why Tamares sold the casino, but it was a contributing factor.

Tamares and PlayLV anticipate bringing over “many members of the Las Vegas Club staff” to the Plaza “in the coming weeks,” the statement said. PlayLV will run the day-to-day operations of the Las Vegas Club until the new ownership closes it for renovations.

“We are excited by the opportunities this sale creates for Tamares and PlayLV, and that the new owner shares our commitment to the Fremont Street area and the continued growth of downtown Las Vegas,” the statement said.

David Schwartz, the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, said he wasn’t surprised to see the Stevens brothers acquire the Las Vegas Club. He noted that Derek Stevens has been “pretty aggressive” in gaining control of downtown casinos, including not only the D but also the Golden Gate, which is across the street from the Las Vegas Club.

The sale has bigger implications, too.

“It shows you that Derek Stevens and Greg Stevens are both very optimistic about Fremont Street,” Schwartz said. “(The Las Vegas Club is) a property that has probably not gotten the attention it should have for the past several years, so I think that will change.”

Derek Stevens could not be immediately reached for comment.

Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said he was not familiar with the specifics of the transaction, but that regulatory approval will likely be necessary.