New casino rules force changes at Dotty’s chain
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Officials at a 60-location Nevada casino chain that markets primarily to women says its business model is under attack and the chain will be forced to make about $6 million in renovations after gambling regulators changed the definition of a tavern.
The Nevada Gaming Commission’s decision Thursday came after a hearing focused on Dotty’s Gaming & Spirits, which has been accused of skirting state law and putting other establishments at a disadvantage by offering slot machines without other features typical for taverns.
Dotty’s taverns have slot machines and a snack bar where patrons can buy packaged foods and drinks.
The new rules require taverns have a bar that seats nine patrons and a restaurant that seats at least 20 if they also want slots.
The Nevada Resort Association said Dotty’s takes away customers from casinos catering to locals.
Pete Bernhard, the commission’s chairman, voted against the changes, saying they discourage economic growth.
During a seven-hour hearing, Bernhard had several heated exchanges with lawyers for the resort association and the Nevada Tavern Operators Association, saying they were the only people unhappy with the Dotty’s model.
Dotty’s attorney Patti Becker told the commission that the business is targeted toward 40- to 60-year-old women who want to play slot machines but don’t want the atmosphere of a typical sports bar or tavern.
She told regulators she felt the company had been treated differently by regulators for months, even though they approved each location since 2000.
Michael Eide, Dotty’s chief operating officer, said remodeling will cost about $100,000 per location. He said some locations don’t have kitchens or staff for food service.