Casino room requirement proposal returns |

Casino room requirement proposal returns

Kurt Hildebrand
Tribune News Service

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. – Officials are hopeful that not having a casino knocking on their door will make the effort to institute a 100-room limit on unrestricted gaming licenses easier.

The Douglas County Community Development Department is making presentations to the towns on a revision of the gaming district overlay.

The revisions streamline the ordinance and add a provision requiring anyone applying for a new casino to build 100 rooms.

County planner Brandy McMahon said the ordinance wouldn’t affect any existing casinos or those where gaming overlays have been approved. That includes the three casinos in Douglas County that don’t have rooms, such as Sharkey’s, Topaz Joes, and the Road House Bar and Grill in Topaz.

“With the downturn there has been a focus on economic development,” McMahon said. “Anyone who comes forward seeking an unrestricted gaming license must provide 100 guest rooms.”

Also unaffected by the new ordinance would be the four approved casinos that haven’t been completed, including the Goldtown Casino in Sunridge, the C.O.D. Casino and Nevada Northwest casinos in Minden and the Beverly Hillbillies Casino approved for far northern Douglas County. The ordinance also wouldn’t apply at Lake Tahoe.

The debate over establishing a casino in the former C.O.D. Garage helped sink a previous attempt to enact the ordinance.

McMahon made a presentation on the ordinance to the Gardnerville and Genoa town boards at their meetings on Tuesday.

The ordinance is similar to one approved in Carson City. State law requires casino operators to build 200 hotel rooms in any county with more than 100,000 people. That provision applies to Clark and Washoe counties.

Also at the Genoa Town Board was Sharkey’s General Manager Ron Terrell, who told board members the ordinance was designed to require new gaming establishments to make an investment in the community.

“It will prevent small operators from renting a room in an office somewhere and setting up some slot machines,” Terrell said. “Something like that could make just enough of a profit to put Sharkey’s out of business. We want to be part of the community, but we have to find a way to survive, too.”

Terrell said the goal was that casino operations seeking to build in Carson Valley would have to make a significant investment.

McMahon said Gardnerville Town Board members supported the ordinance change on Tuesday. Genoa Town Board members did not make a recommendation, saying they felt there were better ways to regulate gaming.

Genoa House Inn owner Keith Corban pointed out that a similar argument could be made for small hotel operations.

“Building more big hotels would mean a better chance of putting me out of business,” he said.

Wild Rose Inn owner Sue Knight agreed with Corban.

“Frankly we don’t need more hotel rooms in the Valley,” she said. “We can’t fill the rooms we have. Do we really want more rooms and casinos in the Valley?”

Genoa Town Board member Dave Whitgob said he didn’t feel the room limitation was a logical way to regulate casinos in the county.

The ordinance is scheduled to go before the Douglas County Planning Commission on Tuesday and to county commissioners on July 1.

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