Casino MonteLago grand opening dreamy with Barbara Eden

May 31, 2011 3:00 AM

Casino MonteLago has gained a second chance to succeed at Lake Las Vegas, even inviting "I Dream of Jeannie" icon Barbara Eden to make that wish come true.

"It’s a family affair for me," said Eden, who is a relative of MonteLago CEO Jon Berkley. "I live in Los Angeles and came for the opening of the casino; I probably will play here though I don’t gamble much."

Eden’s I Dream of Jeannie machine is one of the most popular in the industry and among the 275 slots and seven electronic table games in the 40,000-square foot casino.

"It was wonderful being Jeannie," said Eden, who leaves for Australia in two weeks to promote her latest book that spent four weeks on the New York Times best seller list. "It’s a beautiful casino."

The once-booming resort community 30 miles from Las Vegas fell on hard times when the recession hit. But the welcome back last Wednesday was an enormous success with well over 1,500 in attendance and cars parked on the hill away from the resort when the self-parking area could handle no more vehicles.

Intrepid Gaming leased the 40,000 square foot casino from Deutsche Bank for $60 million, and then tore down walls, painted, put in a new bar and restaurant and all new electronically operated games targeted for the locals.

"We’re focusing on the locals from Summerlin and Henderson, from Las Vegas and, of course, Lake Las Vegas," Berkley told Channel 8 News. "We’re going to take great care of the folks out here, but this is really for everybody."

Rick Clagette, director of security and surveillance, said the return of MonteLago will help bring the locals back to Lake Las Vegas.

"It’s everything we thought it was going to be and more," Clagette said. "The opening is another challenge we are ready to take. We want to give the guests the best service we can give them so they will return."

Lake Las Vegas resident Susan Syring said it was fabulous to see everything opening again.

"It’s going to be a really positive effect on the village," said Syring, a two-year resident. "Everybody thought the casino was closed and nothing was going on here. I came down to the village a couple of times for the restaurants. We had to find other things to do. I’m so glad the casino is back. People are going to find out what Lake Las Vegas is all about."