Eateries want slots!

Apr 29, 2003 5:14 AM

Operators of "supper clubs" ”” liquor-serving restaurants in Las Vegas, like the Olive Garden and Applebee’s ”” are waiting to see if the City Council grants their request to install up to 10 slot machines in their small-sized bars.

The council is mulling a proposal to permit the supper clubs, defined by law as making most of their profits on food, to have from 5 to 10 slots, with the council deciding on each application separately.

Supper clubs are permitted slots in unincorporated Clark County and in Henderson, but not in the city of Las Vegas.

Restaurant owners asked that the city allow them to offer slots in their undersized cocktail lounges, where customers often wait to be seated. The city’s staff drafted a bill that would let eateries with 5,000 square feet or more to apply for a maximum of 10 slots, and those under 5,000 square feet up to seek up to 5 slots.

But Las Vegas bar owners, who make their money from liquor sales and are normally permitted up to 15 slots, have opposed the law, saying that it would give supper clubs an unfair competitive advantage with slot players.

Bar owners, represented by the Nevada Tavern Association, point out that while bars by law must be at least 1,500 feet from schools, churches and other bars, supper clubs may be within only 400 feet of schools and churches, with no limit on how close they can be from other restaurants.

The council earlier this month tabled the proposal, but officials said it might be passed later with modifications.