By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
The Hotel Nevada, Four 7’s Motel, Grand Central Motel and Postal Palace have new owners as part of an acquisition that was announced on Feb. 20. Las Vegas-based Gaughan Gaming will take over 50 percent ownership of the properties after the Nevada Gaming Control Board approved the purchase.
“We’re very excited to be a part of this historic property in central Nevada, where the region has a historic past and importance including the mining boom that built this part of the West,” said John Gaughan, CEO of Gaughan Gaming, in a released statement. “We look forward to becoming an integral part of the Ely and White Pine County community and are committed to continue offering a strong level of customer service at this landmark property.”
Gaughan Gaming’s Vice President Rick Richards will take over for previous owner Bert Woywood as the head of operations at the Hotel Nevada. Richards has had more than 30 years experience in gaming, including being the former President of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. He said he wants to build upon the solid foundation set by Woywood and his partner and other 50 percent owner Paul Kellogg.
“You always look at improving on what Bert and Paul put 20 years into building,” Richards said. “This was not in financial straits when we bought it, it was a good model.
“We’ve said to everybody that we don’t want to make any changes as far as the people or the way that Bert has been doing business. We’d like to add to it and give our insights to build on what was here.”
Woywood, who still maintains ownership in the Prospector, declined to say why he parted with the properties, saying that he wanted the attention to be on the new company stepping in.
“I think Bert wanted to take a step back a little bit and enjoy life,” Richards said.
The Hotel Nevada was built in 1929 and features 67 rooms. In their released statement, Gaughan Gaming calls it “one of the storied hallmarks and travel destinations in Central Nevada.”