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SLS owners granted gaming license in time for grand opening

Reported by: Sergio Avila
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Updated: 8/22 7:23 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The Nevada gaming commission did not give the gaming green light to the SLS Casino until the eleventh hour.

Before the big grand opening of the SLS Hotel and Casino, top executives still had one last hurdle to cross with the gaming commission.

The SLS was seeking approval for a gaming license in Nevada, which they finally received Thursday with a unanimous nod from gaming regulators.

It has been months since the SLS first sought a gaming license and now the new casino owners have the news they have been waiting to hear.

The company was unanimously approved by the gaming commission after a long presentation.

The SLS will celebrate its grand opening Friday, Aug. 22 at midnight heading in to Saturday.

The company says 3,400 employees have been hired to run the casino and hotel.

Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo told the executives he thinks this property is very financially viable moving forward.

The north end of the strip has been pretty dormant for a while and CEO and President of SLS Rob Oseland said he feels they're an early catalyst for the north end; now that they've been licensed, they're ready to open the doors.

"There's a special moment that's going to happen tonight. The property will be at its prettiest point, it will be quiet but it's really built for the public and we can't wait to open it," Oseland said.

The SLS' presentation to gaming commissioners began with a short video showing the owners' vision for the property.

The sands of change have converted the Sahara into the SLS Las Vegas.

Terry Fancher is CEO of Stockbridge Real Estate of San Francisco, the company which owns most of the SLS, and says the renovations saved them and all of us some cash.

"We didn't want to spend billions of dollars on a new property because if we spent billions of dollars we would have to charge people such high amounts of money to be guests and the restaurants and so forth," Fancher said.

Commission Chairman Tony Alamo told the SLS execs that he's seen a lot of new properties fail, but is very confident with what he saw. "I look at something like this coming up for the first time and I look, is this project financially viable? I'm very comfortable saying yes," Alamo said.

Alamo and the other commissioners were also concerned about security, as the north of the strip borders a high crime area. Former Assistant Sheriff Greg McCurdy is in charge of security.

"I think we put a good plan together. I feel very confident with it, but I'm not comfortable until we can exercise and test the system," McCurdy said. "I'm sure we'll see things we need to tweak to enhance our ability to keep the community safe and also to keep our employees safe."

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