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Las Vegas Hotel-Casino Closed After Ownership Change

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A financially troubled Las Vegas hotel-casino closed suddenly after an ownership change left it without a gambling license.

Some 66 hotel guests at the 315-room Vacation Village hotel-casinos were ordered out by noon Wednesday and equipment vendors were told to start removing their property, employees said.

People were still arriving at the resort with luggage and plugging coins into slot machines as workers began Tuesday night to wheel casino furniture away from the property two miles south of Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.

Late Tuesday, managers cordoned off the casino, which had 700 slot machines and 10 table games, while state Gaming Control Board agents took possession of the casino cage, standard during casino closures.

The sudden closure that left at least 280 workers unemployed stemmed from a dispute between the former owner and the Las Vegas developer who acquired it at auction in November.

"We're closing the casino because Shawn Scott told us to close," said Saint John Martin, hotel-casino general manager. "It's ironic, because December was our best month."

Scott, owner of Capital One LLC, bought the 25-acre property on south Las Vegas Boulevard at a Nov. 20 bankruptcy auction for $17.8 million.

At the time, Scott said he would "make every effort to keep Vacation Village open in the short term while developing a long-term plan."

That included operating the casino under a license held by the Heers family, the resort's former owners.

Jim Norcott, a member of the board of directors at Vacation Village, said the property closed after negotiations broke down between the Heers family and Scott.

After a court hearing Tuesday, Scott took possession of the property, though without a license to operate the casino.

Scott, who was formerly licensed to operate casinos in North Las Vegas and Henderson, has not applied for relicensing, state gambling regulators said Wednesday.

Vacation Village listed assets of $148.7 million and liabilities of $21.3 million when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2000.

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