South Lake Tahoe casinos see big losses in 2009 |

South Lake Tahoe casinos see big losses in 2009

Annie Flanzraich

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – While Nevada casinos reported a 9 percent drop in winnings statewide earlier this month, four local casinos also reported operating losses for 2009.

Harrah’s Northern Nevada properties, which include Harrah’s Reno, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe and Bill’s Casino, reported $23.1 in operating revenue for the third quarter of 2009. That’s 15.7 percent less than the $27.4 million the company reported in during the third quarter of 2008.

The decline was due to lower customer spending per trip, even though the hotel occupancy rates were about even with the 2008 third quarter, according to the report. Harrah’s said it also off-set more revenue declines with “cost savings initiatives implemented at the properties,” according to the SEC report.

Representatives from Harrah’s declined to comment.

Tropicana Entertainment Inc. also reported a loss for MontBleu Casino and Lake Tahoe Horizon Casino and Resort in a recent SEC filing. The two Tahoe properties had a $12 million loss for the first six months of 2009, according to the report.

The Horizon also completed management changes proposed in May 2009.

Recommended Stories For You

Columbia Sussex Corporation, which managed the property from 1989 to 1995, took over the gaming element of the Horizon in mid-October. That makes the corporation the owner and operator of the Horizon.

“We’re trying to let the community know that we are here and we are here to stay for a while,” said Glenn Koehler, Horizon director of casino and facility operations.

The Nevada Gaming Commission issued a gaming license to LV Casino, an affiliate of Columbia Sussex Corporation, on Oct. 16. Wimar -Tahoe Corporation is the 100 percent owner of LV Casino. Wimar-Tahoe Corporation is owned by William J. Yung III, who also owned the property from 1989 to 1995.

During Yung’s previous ownership of the property, land-owner Park Cattle (a Minden company now known as Edgewood Companies) tried to evict the hotel operator, contending that Columbia Sussex had operated the property badly – allowing mold to develop in rooms and failing to fix a leaking roof, for example.

On June 12 Tropicana leased the non-gaming elements of the Tahoe Horizon to Columbia Sussex Corporation.

In the SEC document, Tropicana reported it “no longer has any involvement with this property.”

– The Northern Nevada Business Weekly contributed to this report.