Lake Tahoe Casino Demolition Begins to Make Way for Health Care Facility

The Lakeside Inn and Casino on Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nv., was sold amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Demolition of the Lakeside Inn and Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nv., begins on Monday, October 3, 2022. The former casino site is being cleared to make way for a new regional medical services facility operated by Barton Health. (Image: Barton Health)

The Lakeside casino and resort, once a favorite hangout among locals, opened back in 1969. It announced its permanent closure in April 2020 and was sold to Barton Health last year for $13.4 million.

Barton Health began demolishing the resort this week. The clearing will make way for a health care facility that is still being developed based on community feedback and wellness needs.

Barton has gathered input from community stakeholders, partner agencies, and physician and staff teams for a broader strategic master plan to accompany the facility plan as the project moves forward,” said Barton Public Information Officer Mindi Befu. “A dual campus strategy will better position the health care system to serve the future needs of the region and ensure long term viability through improved access to services, efficiencies, and state-of-the-art technology and facilities.”

Barton’s Lakeside purchase includes the casino and the eight acres of land the resort sits on at the corner of Kahle Drive and US Highway 50.

Gaming Rebound

Lakeside’s owners claimed they were forced to sell the casino after being initially denied Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the federal government’s Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Congress and the Small Business Administration, the latter of which largely administered the CARES Act distributions, later amended the pandemic funding regulations to allow gaming operators to participate. But the relief came too late for Lakeside, the property’s owners said.

In March 2021, an auction of the property’s assets raised about $7 million. Items sold included slot machines and table games, furniture, kitchen equipment, office chairs and desks, vehicles, and memorabilia.

Though COVID-19 ended the Lakeside Inn’s more than half-century run, gaming has recovered in the South Shore Lake Tahoe market.

According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, gross gaming revenue last year in Douglas County totaled $250 million. In 2019, South Shore Lake Tahoe casinos won $231.2 million — 8% less than in 2021.

End of an Era

The Lakeside Inn opened as a small gaming hall called the Caesars Inn in 1969. The property three years later was acquired by Harvey Gross, who owned and operated Harvey’s Resort Hotel just a mile down the road. Caesars Inn was renamed Harvey’s Inn in 1972.

After Gross died in 1985, the property was sold to a local group of investors who rebranded it to Lakeside. Since then, the casino and resort has been a locals go-to spot for food and drinks paired with some gambling. The Lakeside’s roughly 18,000-square-foot gaming floor housed about 300 slot machines and a handful of table games. A race and sportsbook also operated on the premises.

The property deteriorated over the years, however, with its 123-room hotel struggling to attract visitors in recent memory.

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