Can you see it?

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’ve gotten a fair amount of guff for the early endorsements we’ve been running. I’ve gotta say, I don’t much care about other people’s opinions on this matter. Smart people, not necessarily rich people, not necessarily educated people, not necessarily plugged in people, have got to take the reins of this town, and there has never, in my memory anyway, been a better opportunity to do it.

We’ve written about the “plight” of downtown practically since the day this newspaper started publishing. I don’t think downtown casino execs believe there is a “plight” downtown. The most interest I ever saw from them—other than the fact they ran City Hall up until the developers took over in the early ’90s—was forcing the issue of the train trench, and I doubt any of them thought it was going to be more than a convenience to ensure their guests wouldn’t be awakened by train whistles. I don’t imagine any of them saw the trench as a salvation because they knew far better than any of us what the real effects of the spread of gambling across this country were.

So how do I read the actions of the casino owners? I see two strategies downtown.

The first is the take-the-money-and-run strategy: Drain every dime out of Reno until the properties are no longer profitable and then shutter the hotel-casinos and leave giant closed towers.

The second strategy I see is the last-man-standing strategy. One or two locally owned casinos, as long as there is little competition, will always be profitable downtown. Look at the amenities already offered, and imagine those amenities if they were to become exclusive to one or two casinos. Even a casino without a hotel could be one of the last men standing, and wouldn’t a closed hotel tower be inexpensive then?

Hey, you know me, I like to think about things. And wouldn’t one of those towers make for great first-home condos for the creative class that will be patronizing the restaurants and bars and tables in those downtown casinos?