Siegel Group Continues to Buy in Vegas

January 27, 2009

By David Stratton

Three hotel/casinos and counting. With its purchase this month of the Barcelona hotel and casino, the Siegel Group now has three gaming properties, all acquired over the past 11 months.

The Barcelona joins the Gold Spike in downtown Las Vegas and the Mt. Charleston Hotel on Siegel’s growing list of acquisitions. The Barcelona and Gold Spike have unrestricted gaming licenses while Mt. Charleston has a restricted license (less than 15 gaming machines).

Granted, none of the properties is considered high profile like the recently announced sale of Treasure Island, but that’s what company founder and CEO Stephen Siegel wants.

“These properties have tremendous upside potential and we were fortunate to acquire them at substantial discount,” Siegel said.

It took about six months to modernize the Gold Spike casino with the renovation of the hotel still ongoing. Siegel said the process has already begun at the Barcelona, located on Craig Road near Nellis Air Force Base.

“We’re completely renovating and upgrading the casino floor, as well as the casino’s exterior,” Siegel said, adding that the property will be re-branded as

Siegel Slots & Suites with a massive monument sign out front.

The casino, which is operated by United Coin Machine Company, has about 260 slots and a Leroy’s sports book. There’s also a stage and seating for live entertainment, and a restaurant that serves seven different steak dinners, all at bargain prices.

In its current state, the casino is reminiscent of the old-style neighborhood casinos – somewhat dark with a meandering style of layout. Nonetheless, there’s a nice mix of slot, video poker and keno machines with decent pay tables.

The next step will be applying for his own gaming license, Siegel said, a process that could take a year to complete.

In the meantime, Siegel has developed a rewards program, Siegel’s Club, which will cross-promote between the casino properties and Siegel’s portfolio of 22 Siegel Suites that contain 3,500 units of daily, weekly and extended-stay apartments.

“Not only will players earn points for their play in the casino, but guests at Siegel Suites will be able to earn rewards, based on things they would ordinarily do anyway, such as paying their rent on time,” Siegel said.

Conversely, casino players can use their points in exchange for room nights, dinners or other inducements at Siegel properties.

“As with everything we do, we’re catering to the Las Vegas locals,” he said. “We want to ensure our customers are provided value and a quality experience.”

Prior to investing in its gaming properties, the Siegel Group built an impressive portfolio of residential income units. Last year the company acquired the Mark Twain and Casa Palms apartments, as well as the 330-unite Deer Creek, which was purchased out of bankruptcy.