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Cashing In

Eldorado Hotel Casino Continues To Bet Big On Reno, NV

Friday, September 22, 2017
Steve Pike
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There is no doubt that Reno, NV, has seen its share of big bets. Some have paid off over the past 86 years since the city legalized gambling. But as is the nature of the beast, most have not.

Count Don Carano among the former. In 1973, Carano went against the advice of almost everyone he knew and founded the Eldorado Hotel Casino between Sierra and Virginia Streets in downtown Reno. It was the first property north of the city’s railroad tracks. Most viewed Carano’s gamble the same as a lone prospector’s chances of striking silver in the Sierra Nevada mountains—slim and none.

But Carano’s gamble paid off. The Eldorado has been a staple of the Reno hospitality scene for 45 years. Carano is recognized as a pioneer in Nevada gaming and Eldorado Resorts—which became publicly traded in 2014—is one of the more successful companies in the hotel and gaming industry.

Under the leadership of Don Carano’s son, Gary, as CEO, the company in 2015 acquired the Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Reno hotel casinos. The triumvirate—joined together by skywalks so that guests have easy access to each hotel and its amenities—are sparking Reno’s downtown renaissance, which includes the nearby Reno Riverwalk and Terry Wells Nevada Discovery Museum.

All told, the three resorts’ take up an eight-block footprint of prime downtown Reno real estate.

Eldorado Resorts is in the midst of $50 million in facility enhancements to Eldorado Reno, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Reno. In addition to the renovation of more than 4,100 guest rooms, each of the three resorts is introducing new restaurant concepts, reinvigorated nightlife and resort amenities. Future plans call for a full-service luxury spa at the Eldorado hotel and a new pool at Circus Circus.

The Reno properties are only a part of the Eldorado Resorts hotel and gaming empire. In 2014 the company merged with MTR Gaming Group to give it seven properties in five states. Earlier this year Eldorado Resorts completed its acquisition of Isle of Capri Casinos that brought its portfolio to 19 properties in 10 states.

But it’s in Reno—where it all began—where the company continues to build its legacy. “We acquired the remaining 50 percent interest in the Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno, as well as all of the assets of Circus Circus Reno, based on our extensive knowledge of the Reno market and the surrounding region and the emerging recovery which is attracting new businesses that are catalyzing long-term economic support,’’ said Gary Carano. “We have undertaken detailed analysis and design work to develop a comprehensive master plan for our Reno Tri-properties focused on significantly elevating the gaming, entertainment, food and beverage and other amenities we bring to guests with a concurrent focus on generating an attractive return on our investment.

“Downtown Reno’s renaissance and re-emergence as a vibrant growing economy has been remarkable, and as the leading gaming and lodging operator in the market Eldorado Resorts has and will continue to benefit from the increased economic, tourist and local activity,”

New businesses, which include Tesla, Panasonic and Google, are helping transform Reno and the Washoe Valley into a northern Nevada version of the Silicon Valley. In that regard, Eldorado Resorts’ impact in the Reno/Washoe Valley economy is comparable to impact the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail has had on the Alabama economy the past 25 years by attracting such major companies such as Hyundai and Airbus. The idea being, of course, that the more diversified a city or state, the easier it is to attract new businesses, as well as tourists.

Along those same lines, Eldorado Resorts last year brought in golf industry veteran Mark Conn as its first director of sports marketing. Conn’s mission is to drive revenue growth through professional, collegiate, adult and youth sports groups, bowling groups and golf group bookings. In other words, attract groups to Reno’s renaissance the same way the city (and Eldorado Resorts) is attracting businesses to the Washoe Valley.

“It's a great time to be here, with the three properties coming together and Reno is just a great spot to be with all the tech companies coming over here,’’ said Conn. “Whatever they’re looking for, we can pretty much do it based on their priorities.

“We’ve brought in new groups, but we went to keep our repeat customers happy, too. After being here for a year and understanding the properties, this winter is going to be huge in terms of getting out the word about Reno.’’
Steve Pike
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than ...
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