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Cinemas at Hacienda to close Sunday

Lakeview Cinemas at the Hacienda Casino will close Sunday, according to the theater’s owner/manager.

The final screenings will be today through Sunday, including “Gone With the Wind” at 2 p.m. Sunday and “The Majestic” at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are being offered for $2.25 per person with the purchase of any food item. For showtimes, visit www.lakeviewcinemas.info.

Gary Bouchard, who has owned the two-screen business for four years, said the closure was a decision forced on him by casino owner Dotty’s.

Dotty’s, which purchased the Hacienda last year, would not confirm the closure. The company only offered the brief statement, “We do not comment on rumors.”

Following Dotty’s announcement in August that the company would be purchasing the Hacienda, Bouchard said he was told that the theater would remain open.

“Before Dotty’s came in there, they told me they wanted me to stay and, in fact, they went on to tell me the movie theater was going to be a big part of their operation,” Bouchard said.

Dotty’s finalized the purchase in late December and closed the casino for a few days to begin renovations.

When he returned to the theater, Bouchard said he was concerned to find that it was boarded up.

“You couldn’t even find the theater,” he said.

Bouchard said he contacted Dotty’s Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer Mike Eide and was assured that there was no change of plans.

Bouchard said he also was pleased to hear the company might assist him with the much-needed and costly upgrade to digital projectors.

“(Eide) kind of led me to believe they were going to keep the theater there, and they might even pick up part of the cost of going digital,” Bouchard said.

But a week after the company’s assurances, Bouchard said he was told last month that he needed to move out by Feb. 1. If he did so, he said he was told he would be given $500.

The move date was subsequently pushed to Feb. 20, said Bouchard, who claims to have a month-to-month lease.

“They want me out of there because (Eide) says they want to turn that into a banquet room, which is just freakin’ crazy because right now what used to be a buffet is being used to store old furniture,” Bouchard said. “That’s set up for food. Why don’t they just use that as a banquet hall?”

Dotty’s would not comment ON the specifics of any remodeling plans.

“The company is moving forward with remodeling plans for the Hacienda. We are reviewing plans and ideas every day. Any changes will be announced once decisions have been made and details have been firmed up,” a spokesman said.

Bouchard, who lives in Las Vegas, said he is going to miss the camaraderie of his customers.

“Boulder is a special place for a lot of reasons, but the best thing it has going for it is some great people, people I have become good friends with,” he said.

However, he admits his business is not a moneymaker.

“I’ve been there for four years and every year it’s gotten worse,” he said.

And with changes that Dotty’s has made to the property since the acquisition, including removing the buffet and table games, Bouchard said he does not predict an improvement.

“It would be really tough for me to make a living out of that place anyways. I would be the only draw,” Bouchard said. “I’m going to guess that in about six months they’re going to figure out they don’t know what they’re doing and it’s not worth doing everything they’re talking about doing. I think they’re going to sell that property to get out from underneath it.”

Dotty’s plans to rename the Hacienda the Hoover Dam Lodge and will feature an interior that Eide described in December as a “boutique mall for gaming” with at least 150 gaming machines.

There are more than 80 Dotty’s taverns in Southern Nevada, characterized by a distinct interior with plants and porcelain figurines that Eide said are “designed to remind you of your grandmother’s kitchen.”

The Hacienda is the company’s first hotel-casino.

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