Governor Sisolak issues statement on passing of John Ascuaga  

CARSON CITY, NV – June 28, 2021

Today, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued the following statement on the passing of prominent Nevada business leader and longtime casino owner John Ascuaga.

“I was very saddened to learn of the passing of John Ascuaga, a man who transformed a small coffee shop in Sparks into a family-run gaming juggernaut of more than 50 years. A son of Basque immigrants, John brought a boundless energy to work every day. He, his wife Rose, and their children were fixtures in both the business and in the Northern Nevada community. John walked the casino floor daily and popped into the restaurants to visit with tourists and employees alike. From scholarships to countless fundraisers to special events, they made sure John Ascuaga’s Nugget was there to help.

“John was a businessman who hired top-name entertainers to perform in the Celebrity Showroom and an innovator who introduced elephants Bertha, Tina and, later, Angel, who performed on stage and participated in parades and festivals around the state. His own love of ranching and the Old West was reflected throughout the resort in his branding iron collection and artwork, such as the character ‘Last Chance Joe,’ and the Nugget’s famous Golden Rooster.

“Always friendly, always smiling, always welcoming, John Ascuaga was the quintessential Nevadan. Kathy and I send our deepest condolences to the Ascuaga family, the City of Sparks and to all those John Ascuaga touched in his amazing 96 years.”



Meghin Delaney  
Communications Director