We need to offer new sins

Not so long ago, Reno’s casino bosses had little more to do than make sure the doors were open, the lights were on, the booze was served and not too much money was winding up in the wrong pockets. It seemed reasonable to boast, “Nevada gaming is the best … we perfected it … they’ll always come here to gamble.”

But the hordes of gamblers packing into small casinos across California on Tuesday afternoons probably don’t see it that way.

Indian gaming in California is a fait accompli. It will work through some legal challenges, grow and probably become spectacular. Reno has only begun to feel the impact. In this region, only a handful of mega-casinos acting in concert may thrive. Others, particularly those already operating on the margins, will fail.

Whatever makes Reno attractive is made possible with money from gambling and related industries, plain and simple. How attractive we are to diversifying investors is proportionate to the number of gaming dollars that find their way back into our community. As those numbers shrink, we become less attractive.

We can build a dozen theaters, bowling alleys, shopping centers and galleries. We can re-route trains via the moon, but relying on an envisioned diversification of our economy without first kick-starting the source is putting the cart before a horse that may turn into a pony.

Alcoholism, teen pregnancy and suicide notwithstanding, there are people in this community who consider gambling to be the only vice moral enough to support. The rest of the world does not share the same “family value” image of Reno. They’d prefer that we be more like the romanticized Reno they imagine. That’s why they came here.

Personally, I’d rather raise my son in a quaint, cultured Reno with few casinos in the beautiful high-desert setting. Back to reality. For gaming and related industries to flourish and continue to augment our coffers, nothing short of radical action must be taken now:

·Lower the drinking age to 18.

·Create and advertise the classiest brothels in the world.

·Legalize pot.

·Make marriage and divorce even easier.

·Sell cigarettes for $1, one pack at a time.

·Provide gasoline for the drive home.

That would do it! To hell with Indian gaming in California. We’re heading to Reno! Only those self-righteous locals, who always condemn the digger as they slurp from the well, would think they were offended. The alternative? We could extort the feds and make the rest of America pay up the nose for storage of its waste. They’re going to do it here anyway.

One thing is for certain. The competition is life-threatening. Our reckless ride up gaming’s easy street must now become a carefully navigated tour down some different roads. So long as it is the loyal, realistic and honest voices who are leading the way, that is fine with me.