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Gaming Control Board OKs casino takeover

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Gaming Control Board Wednesday approved a non-restricted gaming license for Herbst Pahrump Acquisitions LLC for the Mountain View Casino and Tim Herbst as manager.

The application now goes to the Nevada Gaming Commission for final approval Sept. 25.

The Herbst family operated Terrible’s Town and Terrible’s Lakeside casinos in Pahrump, which were eventually acquired by Golden Gaming Inc. Rochelle McCaw, widow of the founder of the Mountain View Casino John McCaw, will be a partner in a joint venture with Tim Herbst.

Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett asked about their plans, their market and how they foresee being successful.

“We’ve got a lot of friends out there, a lot of our old customers,” Herbst said. “The town needs new gaming products, new technology. It needs a new fresh face. We’ve got plans to renovate the interior, the exterior, bring in pretty much all new equipment, player tracking and a new restaurant facility, we’ll do some things with the bar. All things that we’ve put on paper we’ve done some elevations for but until we get recommendation at the board level we didn’t want to spend hard dollars on things. Eventually we’re going to work our way into this thing and hopefully be in a position to have a brand new Terrible’s out there by the end of the year.”

The Terrible’s Casino will have 175 slot machines and 36 employees, but the application was for no table games at this time.

When asked how he acquired the property, Herbst said he talked to Nevada State Bank about a note they were selling. McCaw’s attorney Scott Sherer said there was a deed in lieu of foreclosure for the property. Mountain View Recreation will continue to be on the lease from the operating company, pending Nevada Gaming Commission approval, Sherer said. McCaw will be on the board of directors for the company but said hopefully down the road the company will replace her as manager.

“Well knowing the McCaws for a long time in the past, I knew Shelley out there, great operators and I knew the company had fallen on tough luck with the economy going the wrong way she had some hard times and I felt that this would be a great opportunity for myself to get back into a small, rural, gaming business,” Herbst said.

Herbst recalled when he first received a gaming license in the late 1980s and how they built up their slot route.

“My brothers are very proud of what we accomplished here in the state, the state of Missouri, the state of Iowa. We took a little business out of a back room of a gas pump maintenance yard and turned it into a route that at one time had about 7,500 machines in the State of Nevada, we had operated over 600 restricted locations,” Herbst said.

After a non-compete clause expired, his family’s slot route business, Jett Gaming, is back up to 1,500 slot machines, he said.

“I’m just excited about the future, about what we bring to the State of Nevada. Also we’re excited about the possibility of getting back into Pahrump. Our family has been out there for about 40 years with service stations and we operated Terrible’s Casino and also Lakeside. We know the market really, really well. We believe they need a new kind of face out there, some new energy and we’ll bring the people of Pahrump some new product and some new things that can excite their gaming experience,” Herbst told the board.

Herbst’s attorney J.T. Moran III said Herbst Pahrump Acquisitions has applied with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office for their gaming and liquor licenses. Troy Herbst has divested of his interest in the family gaming business while he awaits approval for a medical marijuana establishment in unincorporated Clark County and Henderson, but reserves his right to return to the gaming industry, he said. That followed a memorandum by the Gaming Control Board that forbids people with gaming licenses from having an interest in medical marijuana.

“This was a very, very difficult decision to separate himself and divest himself of these gaming opportunities because all he really knew essentially was gaming,” Moran said of Troy Herbst. Troy Herbst remains involved in the Herbst Oil business, he said.

Gaming Control Board member Terry Johnson was pleased Herbst was proactive in addressing the medical marijuana issue first before they did. Troy Herbst’s application to withdraw as a manager at the Mountain View Casino was made without prejudice, meaning he can reapply.

Burnett said he didn’t have any issues with either Herbst’s or McCaw’s background.

“I’m just very excited to join with the Herbst family in this industry. It came to a point where it was just very difficult to continue on by myself,” McCaw said.

Herbst said they could’ve closed the Mountain View Casino but chose to keep it open.

Pahrump residents have been teased for months about a sign on the ground at the Mountain View Casino advertising a Terrible’s Casino coming soon.

“It was a long investigation because of the fact that Mr. Herbst, both Troy and Tim, have not been licensed in some time,” Moran told the board. “We’re really looking forward to this opportunity in moving forward out there in Pahrump. There will be many, many other opportunities that will come down the pipeline that will present itself to you in the near future that remain confidential at this point in time. This is not going to be a one-shot deal for Mr. Herbst, Tim, he is looking to get at least as involved as he was pre-2007 going into the future. He has also learned a lot from his experience in the past, both good and bad.”

“What we’re seeing here is really a comeback,” Burnett, the chairman said.

The Gaming Control Board also approved an application for the Tim Herbst Gaming Trust to have a one-third interest in Jett Gaming, with his parents holding the other two-thirds.

After the meeting, Tim Herbst told the Pahrump Valley Times he couldn’t yet disclose any further building plans for the property. The casino occupies only about a quarter of the two-acre site at 1750 S. Pahrump Valley Blvd.

“As Terrible’s has always been out in Pahrump, it will be a cute, really fun place for the people in Pahrump to come back and get reacquainted with the Terrible’s brand. Lakeside has its own theme, Terrible’s had its own theme and this site will have its own uniqueness to it. We’d like to break that out a little later. We got elevations in, we got interior designs, we’re still working on what Terrible’s theme it’s going to take,” he said.

When asked whether he missed being the owner of a Pahrump casino, Herbst said, “oh absolutely. I had a blast doing it and hopefully we’ll have another great time.”

When asked why he wasn’t applying for table games, Herbst said, “in time it grows itself. We’re going to walk before we run.”

“If we figure out it’s something we need there, we’ll bring it,” he said, “and maybe bring a race or two back out there.”

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