Lakeside Inn and Casino in Stateline, Nevada, was closed last year when the pandemic struck. This Thursday, the permanently closed casino is auctioning off its gaming equipment.
First Casino Lockdown
When the pandemic hit Nevada, the Lakeside Inn and Casino was the first casino to close in the Lake Tahoe area. It sat on the lakeshore for 35 years of gaming before being forced to close its doors.
Initially, the closure was planned to be temporary, but the pandemic dragged on. Once Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses due to the pandemic, casinos began the lockdown.
The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was not initially offered to casinos. By the time the rules had changed, and federal assistance was finally offered to casinos, it was too late for Lakeside. It closed permanently.
Another casualty of the pandemic lockdown was the Montbleu Casino, also located in Stateline on the Tahoe shore. Eldorado Resorts sold Montbleu Casino as part of a divestment strategy to prepare for its planned merger with Caesars Entertainment.
The Casino Auction
The gaming equipment being auctioned by Lakeside Casino will be available for purchase only by licensed gaming entities. This includes licensed distributors, manufacturers, and casino operators.
Starting on Thursday, the auction will sell off around $7 million in gaming equipment. Lakeside’s 17,852-sq-ft casino floor held 295 slot machines and six table games. The inn had 123 rooms.
The auction will be held over several days, culminating with an auction open to the public. In the final days of the auction, the public will be able to bid on non-gaming items such as art, kitchen and bar equipment, memorabilia, tools, and vehicles.
Small business owners across America have felt the sting of pandemic lockdowns, and small casinos are no different. Unlike their mega-resort counterparts in Las Vegas, casinos like Lakeside could not weather the financial losses.
Another factor affecting small casinos is the lack of diversity. The mega-resorts in Las Vegas offer big-name entertainment options to draw crowds. Without entertainment and other tourist attractions, stand-alone casinos will not be able to survive the pandemic.
Lake Tahoe offers breath-taking natural beauty for visitors to enjoy year-round. Summer swimming and winter skiing draw crowds to the Tahoe region, and the California-Nevada border cuts through the lake. On the south shore in Stateline, gambling is legal as it is throughout Nevada.
But the small town has a population of less than 900 and does not offer enough entertainment options to save the small casinos.
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