Ex-regulator Lipparelli wins tentative approval to operate Westgate Las Vegas casino Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · July 16, 2020 at 6:35 am A management company headed by former Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli received tentative approval Wednesday from state gaming regulators to take over operations of the casino at the Westgate Las Vegas. The 3,000-room off-Strip resort’s gaming space had been managed by Paragon Gaming, a company headed by Dianna Bennett. Paragon had overseen the Westgate since 2015. Westgate Resorts founder and CEO David Siegel has never sought a gaming license for the hotel-casino, which was long-known as the Las Vegas Hilton and been a fabled resort, serving as the entertainment home of singer Elvis Presley. The property was originally built by gaming industry icon Kirk Kerkorian. The board unanimously approved Lipparelli’s application. The Nevada Gaming Commission will hear the matter on July 30. Mark Lipparelli Lipparelli told the Gaming Control Board that he made a connection with Westgate management when he was consulting on the property’s race and sportsbook back in December. Since that time, the sportsbook – long known as the SuperBook – struck a sportsbook management deal in Colorado, has another deal that hasn’t been announced, and is working three other potential deals. “I went through a process working with the Westgate folks,” Lipparelli told the board in a hearing conducted through a virtual platform. “They have done a great job with the property.” Lipparelli complimented the investment of some $200 million that has been made into the Westgate by Siegal. He also said the current on-property management team, led by General Manager Cami Christensen, who has held her position since 2018, would remain in place. “It’s a good team. They have some good high-level managers,” Lipparelli said. Lipparelli, who held executive roles with two gaming equipment providers, was appointed to the Control Board in 2009 and served two years as chairman. He left the agency to serve a term in the Nevada State Senate and launched his consulting company. Lipparelli has been chairman of casino equipment provider Galaxy Gaming since 2017 and a board member for casino operator Golden Entertainment since 2015. Lipparelli identified two gaming executives who be part of his management team – former Harrah’s executive Bruce Rowe and Scott Schweinfurth, who served as chief financial officer for slot machine developer WMS, which was acquired in 2013 by Scientific Games. Lipparelli told the Control Board will assume the current management contract with Paragon. Bennett, whose company operates Hard Rock Lake Tahoe and the casino for the OYO Hotel in Las Vegas, took over the Westgate after managing the Riviera on the Strip for almost two years before it was acquired by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and demolished for a convention expansion. “I would just like to say it was a pleasure working for Westgate and I wish Mr. Lipparelli much success,” Bennett said. “I’m sure he will do well. He’s taking over a wonderful team. They are good people.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.