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Buffett Answers Questions at Nevada Gaming License Hearing

March 7th, 2012

Jimmy Buffett was in Las Vegas Wednesday morning to appear before the Nevada Gaming Control Board. At stake was licensing to share revenue with Caesars Entertainment for his newly opened Margaritaville Casino at the Flamingo.

It was an interesting event as Buffett told stories of his Margaritaville brand and answered questions about two drug-related incidents in his past: the Jamaica Mistaica incident and the time French authorities detained him, mistakenly believing he had ecstasy.

Buffett’s business partners and managers also answered questions. Long-time Coral Reefer Michael Utley was questioned as well.

The Las Vegas Review Journal and Vegasinc.com both have good articles on the hearing.

The state Gaming Control Board questioned Buffett for about 15 minutes and approved its recommendation in less than an hour. The matter will be considered for final approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission on March 22.

During the hearing, at which Buffett and his associates told several stories about his successes with the Margaritaville brand. He said he became interested in the restaurant business when his friend, superstar chef Emeril Lagasse, told him that his best nights at his MGM Grand restaurant occurred when Buffett was performing at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Buffett said he approached MGM about opening a restaurant, but the company went with an Irish pub concept instead. That led Buffett to inquire with Harrah‚s Entertainment, now Caesars Entertainment, and the Margaritaville restaurant was born.

“I occasionally wonder about the guy (at MGM) who made that decision and where he‚s working now,” Buffett said.

The Margaritaville restaurant opened at the Flamingo in 2003 and the casino was added in 2011.

Vegasinc also has a photo gallery with several photos from the hearing.

Tagged in Business Empire, Casinos