The Lake Tahoe casino scene became a little smaller a year ago when the Lakeside Inn and Casino closed due to COVID-19. Locals who enjoyed the gambling property had hoped that it would one day be able to re-emerge, but when an auction was held this past March to sell much of the property’s equipment, the writing was on the wall. There was still a chance that, perhaps, a developer might step in and resurrect the property, which had been in operation for around 50 years, and keep its legacy alive. Those patrons who had made regular trips to Lakeside’s gaming floor now know with certainty that it’s the end of an era, as the property has been sold and is going to be demolished.
COVID-19 Takes Its Toll on Casinos
Casinos across the US, and other parts of the world, were forced to shut down completely when COVID-19 came in. Some of these are still closed today, with no chance of being reopened. The Palms Casino in Vegas, despite having significant backing by Red Rock Resorts, has already been sold, and more will follow. Lakeside is included in that group of casualties, as well. It closed in April of last year and, as the pandemic wore on, its chances for recovery grew dimmer.
Lakeside has sat in the South Shore area of Lake Tahoe since the late 1960s and has operated under several names, picking up its current title in 1985. It has been a regular fixture for the local gambling scene, as well as more than a few area visitors checking out the sights. When it became apparent that COVID-19 was going to be too much, the property was forced to close down, and its 218 employees were sent home.
The property held an auction this past March, selling everything from hotel room furniture to gaming equipment. Bidders were also able to try for some of the company’s vehicles and memorabilia that had decorated its walls and halls for years. When the auction was over, the casino had raised $7 million. It has now completed a sale of buildings and real estate, picking up $13.3 million, according to records from the Douglas County Recorder’s Office.
Health Care Facility to Appear Soon
Barton Health has an urgent care facility across the street from where the Lakeside Inn has stood and has negotiated a deal to buy the property. Even though Stateline’s casino market is getting smaller, with other local gambling properties expected to be sold this year, Barton Health has identified a need to expand health care access. It plans on demolishing the Lakeside Inn to make room for a new medical facility. Barton Health President and CEO Dr. Clint Purvance explain that this purchase will allow the company to meet its “strategic growth goals” while allowing it to “offer many more services, including lower-cost outpatient services.”
An “environmental remediation” of the property will take place following the demolition to make way for the new health care property. A timeline for the transformation hasn’t been announced, but the sale includes the resort and hotel, as well as eight acres of land on nearby Kahle Dr., where it intersects with Lake Tahoe Blvd. That’s a serious amount of real estate with a lot of possibilities.