French, Italians team up on Nevada casino complex

Fri, Dec 11, 1998 (11:52 a.m.)

Italian resort investor Fabrizio Boccardi says French gaming concern Groupe Partouche has joined his consortium of investors looking to build a hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Groupe Partouche operates or is developing resorts in Belgium, Morocco, the Caribbean, Romania and Tunisia. Publicly traded on the Paris Stock Exchange, the company controls 16 percent of the French casino market.

Through his company, Boccardi Capital Systems Inc., Boccardi wants to build a 2,500-3,000 room Strip resort with a 100,000 square-foot casino and several restaurants.

Mark Weishaar, director of lodging and gaming for Perini construction, the Phoenix company hired as general contractor on the project, told the Sun in July that the project will "be an engineering challenge that will exceed the Luxor as one of our greatest building endeavors and change the look of resorts in Las Vegas."

But in a statement last week, Boccardi said he is aware the Las Vegas gaming market is seen as overserved.

"Boccardi Capital Systems is aware of the current situation in the Las Vegas gaming industry, and we realize we are an underdog in a heavily competitive field," Boccardi said. "By aligning ourselves with Partouche and other investors, our company is leveraging some of the best in the industry. We do not intend to simply build another casino or entertainment complex, but to develop a product and brand that will set a new industry standard and take Las Vegas to a new level."

Boccardi has declined to provide more details of his plans until he purchases a Strip site.

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