Railroad Pass owner approved to run historic casino

Henderson commercial real estate broker Joe DeSimone, shown Thursday, April 16, 2015, has taken charge of Railroad Pass. Changes at the historic property are already taking place.

The new owner of the historic Railroad Pass casino is finally in complete control of the property he acquired from MGM Resorts International this spring.

The Nevada Gaming Commission today approved local real estate professional Joe DeSimone for a gaming license to run the 84-year-old casino. Gaming industry veteran Marcus Suan, who was in control of operations while DeSimone went through the regulatory process, will stay on as chief operating officer.

“The property is iconic,” DeSimone said. “As a landlord and observer over the last few months, I have learned much about the details of the gaming and hospitality business. The process has been constructive and rewarding.”

The property has already started to feel the effects of DeSimone’s ownership of the casino, located just off U.S. 95 en route to Boulder City.

Click to enlarge photo

Henderson's Railroad Pass Casino bills itself as the longest running casino in the country.

The building received a new paint job, and DeSimone said work on fixing the casino roof is almost finished. DeSimone also plans to build a new entrance on the south side of the property.

Railroad Pass opened in 1931 — the year casino gambling became legal in Nevada — and bills itself as the nation’s longest-running casino. It fell under the control of MGM Resorts when that company acquired Mandalay Resort Group in 2005.

Railroad Pass is not the only property from that acquisition that MGM has made moves to sell. The casino company has already sold the Gold Strike in Jean and earlier this month announced that it’s selling Circus Circus Reno and its half of the Silver Legacy.