Reno casino petition fails to qualify for Nov. 7 ballot
RENO (AP) – A petition drive backed by the Culinary Union to require a public vote on proposed casinos outside Reno’s traditional gambling areas has failed.
Election officials said after reviewing signatures, many who signed the petition either were not registered voters or live outside the city.
Organizers of the drive had collected 17,683 signatures, but election officials challenged more than 7,000, or 40 percent.
Late Monday, officials said only 10,615 signatures were valid – 1,046 short of the 11,661 required for the question to qualify for the Nov. 7 ballot.
Under the initiative, the proposed Station casino along the Mount Rose Highway or others built outside downtown, airport and convention center tourist areas would have been required to donate money to help pay off debt for the Reno Redevelopment Agency. Voters would then be asked to approve that donation at the next general election.
“We’re obviously thrilled at the outcome,” said Lori Nelson, Station casinos spokeswoman, whose company was prepared to go to court to keep it off the ballot.
“This is yet another tactic by the Culinary Union in its shameless effort of corporate harassment against us,” Nelson said, contending the union has been harassing the Las Vegas-based company for 15 years because its casinos are nonunion.
Union officials and others argue the south Station casino will take away business from casinos downtown and harm the redevelopment agency’s tax base, which has dwindled to half of what it was in 2000.
Union spokesman Chris Bohner said the union is disappointed the ballot question failed to qualify and will move on.
“We still think the issues remain,” Bohner said. “People in the south can look forward to a Las Vegas strip casino and taxpayers can look forward to finding a way of bailing out downtown debt.
“I don’t think the issues will go away.”