Sharing the dream

Reno casinos are losing gamblers and doing nothing about it. The casino industry has many options at its disposal but avoids acting, while Native American casinos in California are our customers. It’s everyone’s problem; casinos are our tax base and when they fail, we are all affected through higher sales, property and luxury taxes.

If downtown Reno is going to survive as a viable option, casinos need to make Reno fun again. Here are some of my suggestions on how to do it. Casino owners and managers should:

Treat employees better; that will ensure that employees treat customers better.

Value existing customers and treat them with respect. Winners tell their friends how they make out, so do losers. People tell me that Indian casinos have looser slots than Reno casinos do.

Bring more entertainment to Reno. Produce a show on the level of Hello, Hollywood, Hello. This could be done as a cooperative effort among more than one casino, particularly with plans for redevelopment of the Bowling Stadium.

Make food a better bargain so that people are willing to travel to enjoy luxury dining at an inexpensive price.

Comp customers. Casinos, after loosening machines and increasing customer volume, should give away hats, shirts, trinkets and meals faster than ever. Shirts should say, “I emptied a slot machine at (insert name here) casino,” or “I won a royal flush!”

Make it easier for “players” cardholders to attain luxury gifts such as suites. The word spreads like wildfire when a customer wins something that they normally couldn’t afford. There should be promotions such as five times bonus points on cards on certain days.

Casinos should do more regional marketing. We need to tie together the Truckee Meadows, Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, golfing and skiing.

Reno needs at least 20 events of the same magnitude as Street Vibrations, Hot August Nights and the Reno Championship Air Races. A special emphasis should be put on events November through July.

More national conventions are needed. With a new convention center and competent people at the RSCVA, we need to get more conventions lined up.

The city needs to take Mayor Cashell’s advice and eliminate decaying, blighted buildings like the King’s Inn. A new casino or two—with plenty of bells and whistles—is needed.

I don’t mean to sound cynical, but I don’t really expect any of this to happen. If Bill Harrah or Pappy Smith were alive, this would have happened already.