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If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em: Dotty’s to buy full-fledged casino

Cindy Clark plays a slot machine at Dotty’s near Eastern and Serene in Henderson on Thursday, March 24, 2011.

Dotty's

Cindy Clark plays a slot machine at Dotty's near Eastern and Serene in Henderson on Thursday, March 24, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Dotty’s wants to buy the Hacienda.

If state regulators approve the sale, the resort would be Dotty’s first full-scale casino.

"I am thrilled to have this opportunity,” Dotty’s Owner Craig Estey said. “The Hacienda is a historical jewel that attracts travelers and locals alike.”

The Hacienda sits about three miles from the Hoover Dam, just outside Boulder City, where gambling is illegal. Built on the former site of the Gold Strike Casino, it features 19,000 square feet of gaming space, a William Hill sports book, retail shops and a movie theater.

Current owner the Lakeview Company announced the acquisition to employees last month. Dotty’s parent company, Nevada Restaurant Services, operates more than 80 stand-alone taverns throughout the state.

The property’s price tag has not been disclosed.

Estey plans to keep the hotel-casino open but renovate it and the surrounding grounds. New developments could include a gas station and convenience store.

“Although is a project that will take time, we have an extraordinary team at Dotty’s that is excited for the challenge,” Estey said.

Dotty’s will make employees reapply for their jobs. The company will begin accepting applications later this year “with the intention of providing continued employment to as many employees as possible,” Estey said.

Before the sale becomes final, Dotty’s needs approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Clark County Commission. That process could take until the end of the year.

Dotty’s has been embroiled in controversy since 2010, sparring both with competitors and the Nevada Resort Association over its gaming-heavy business model.

Critics point out that Dotty's depends more on gaming than snacks and beverages. They argue that since the company has only a restricted slot machine license, gaming revenue should be incidental and the bulk of the profits should be made through food and beverage sales.

The Nevada Gaming Commission in 2011 changed tavern regulations and demanded that Dotty’s and similar businesses have a full bar and kitchen open at least half time.

The company complained the changes could cost them $6 million because they'd have to remodel locations. Dotty’s tried to fight the changes in federal court but failed when a judge tossed the charges in 2012.

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