“We are trying to do it in a way so it is not an eyesore on the outside,” Silver Club general manager David Mustard said as the winter winds opened the doors behind him with a cold puff of air.
The doors are not Mustard’s only concern as he prepared for the Silver Club’s last day.
“There is more to closing a casino than keeping it open,” Mustard said with a slight laugh.
On Friday, Mustard’s mind was on the slot machines.
Amid the sea of 370 slot machines on the Silver Club’s floor, one flashed a neon “$13,883.”
“Ten-thousand of that is the Silver Club’s portion,” Mustard explained. “The rest is the player bank portion.”
Before the casino closes, that money must be given away to a winner. So on Thursday, the casino will begin a drawing for the funds and pick out a name on Friday afternoon. Entrants must be present to win.
Representatives from the Nevada Commission on Gaming pointed to a checklist hundreds of pages long, provided to local casinos when they either close or transfer ownership. The list provides detailed instructions for closing out slot machines and shutting down a gaming operation.
Mustard explained that the lights on the casino floor were originally hardwired to never go off, so shutting down power would be a coordinated effort.
Various employees will assist with that effort, some continuing to work after the casino’s public close.
“Auditors and accountants will be working … as well as surveillance and security,” Mustard said.
Many employees, especially those in the Silver Club’s Town Square Cafe, are already learning to do their jobs with less as supplies begin to run thin.
“We are just letting some things run out,” Mustard said.
Although the slot machines and table games are scheduled to close down on midnight on Saturday, Mustard was not sure if other casino amenities, such as the café and sports book, would close before that.
“When will the café close down? It depends on how much business and how much food we have left,” he said.
Mustard painted a picture of the lights going off at midnight on Saturday, gamers making their way out the door for the last time and slot machine technicians descending to close out each of the machines.
After close, the slot machines will be parceled out to other properties around Nevada, also owned by the Holder Group.
“The managers (of the other 13 casinos) came through and made their wish list,” Mustard said. “I now have to play referee as to what they actually get.”
The Silver Club is not the only one of the Holder family experiencing trouble. All 13 properties were put on the market in April 2008 and none has found a buyer. According to Mustard, the Truck Inn in Fernley announced its close on Wednesday and the Red Garter in Wendover told employees to be ready for a possible close if a buyer is not found soon.
Representatives from CB Richard Ellis, the property’s broker, confirmed that the Silver Club had several offers and that none ended up coming through.
When asked why the Silver Club was not able to seal the deal with its potential buyer, Mustard pointed a finger at the tight casino lending industry.
After a 22.3 percent tumble in October, gaming revenues statewide have not left lenders with a pleasant taste for casino mortgages.
“It wasn’t anything to do with the Silver Club or the buyer’s ability,” Mustard said, adding that the potential buyer owned several other casinos in Nevada. “It was the moratorium on lending.”
Essentially, they couldn’t get a loan, he said.