Sahara Las Vegas Sues Blogger Over Closure Rumors

  • Vital Vegas blog reported that the Sahara Las Vegas would permanently close in September
  • Sahara quickly denied the closure rumor and filed a lawsuit against the blog’s founder
  • The lawsuit alleges that the defendant did not contact the resort to confirm or deny the rumor
  • Sahara executives have been doing damage control since Vital Vegas posted rumor
Gavel next to papers titled "DEFAMATION"
Sahara Las Vegas has filed a lawsuit against a the founder of the Vital Vegas blog for posting a rumor that the resort will soon close permanently. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Taking action

Sahara Las Vegas has filed a lawsuit against a blogger who it alleges defamed the hotel and casino; the resort claims that he spread false rumors about the potential permanent closure of the property.

The lawsuit was filed against Scott Roeben, founder of the Vital Vegas blog, in Clark County District Court on Thursday. The complaint alleges that Roeben did not get in contact with representatives of the resort regarding the story and proceeded to double down despite the Sahara refuting the claims. 

How is the rumor that a struggling casino is struggling even more during a pandemic surprising or controversial?”

Speaking to local media regarding this lawsuit, Roeben said: “This was a rumor clearly presented as such. How is the rumor that a struggling casino is struggling even more during a pandemic surprising or controversial?”

The lawsuit also says that as a result of the spreading of these rumors, executives have been forced to spend time doing damage control, including fielding calls from business vendors, partners, clients, and customers.

According to the complaint, a number of these parties suggested that they might cancel their plans, no longer present business opportunities, or look for a refund of deposits as a result of these rumors. 

Original story

On July 30, the Vital Vegas blog published a report titled “Sahara Las Vegas to Close Permanently, Per Sources.”

The author did not name any sources and reported that the property is set to permanently close in September. Sahara replied to the rumor the same day, saying that the idea is “completely false.” It tweeted:

General manager and resort president Paul Hobson commented on the matter, saying: “We typically refrain from responding to internet gossip, however given these current unprecedented times we felt it important to address these rumors head on to reassure our team members and guests.”

The original report was subsequently removed from the blog and an update/retraction was published.

Sahara’s COVID-19 complaint

Casinos in Nevada have been able to reopen since June 4, after previously being shut down since the middle of March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to reopen, properties have to follow extensive health and safety protocols as outlined by state authorities. 

Nevada regulators are taking the health and safety of gaming properties very seriously and are conducting regular checks to make sure that standards are being met. The Nevada Gaming Control Board filed a complaint against the Sahara Las Vegas on August 6 for the alleged failure to fully follow the state’s COVID-19 safety regulations. 

casino gamblers breaking social distancing rules at blackjack and craps tables

Two different violations were highlighted. One was on July 23 when about 135 people attended a lunch event at the property. Currently, gatherings of just 50 people maximum are allowed. The other violation relates to casino gamblers breaking social distancing rules at blackjack and craps tables on June 16. A spokesperson for the resort stated that all issues have been corrected.