Good News: Herbst Gaming loses its casinos

From this news article:

Herbst Gaming, which has spent the past year seeking a financial restructuring plan for its $847 million in debt, announced an agreement Tuesday with its bondholders in which the company will lose ownership of its 15 casinos in Nevada, Iowa and Missouri, but retain control of its Nevada slot routes.

As I have previously growled, the Herbst brothers were particularly rapacious in the manner in which they operated their dumpy little casinos. Their shameless preying on addicted, compulsive gamblers with the miserable table games in Primm was the worst of their worst. Though they had a monopoly on a location at which few would even bother to stop, except for addicts who couldn’t stand to wait another 45 minutes to get to Las Vegas to give away their money, the Herbsts permitted atrocities such as double deck blackjack paying only 6 to 5 to infest their casinos.

In Las Vegas, Terrible’s is a casino that truly lives down to its name. Management has repeatedly lied to patrons about various promotions, and the atmosphere in the casino is one of constant hostility towards patrons from the slugs employed there. Even after the sportsbook, long among the unfriendliest in town, was taken over by Lucky’s, some of the same inept, rude staff remained. The entire sportsbook staff should have been fired long ago, before the failing sportsbook was handed over to Lucky’s.

In Reno, the Herbsts continued a
bizarre and player-unfriendly blackjack rule
they should have done away with when purchasing the dump Sands Regency. And they continued a culture there of hostility towards patrons. Even worse, in a casino surrounded by fleabag motels and populated largely by street people and gang-member types, they did little or nothing to clean up the place and make it safe for patrons.

In contrast, Herbst Gaming did make substantial improvements to the other low-end Reno-area property it purchased, the seedy Rail City. However, the typical patrons of Rail City are not much better than Sands Regency’s. Somehow, the Herbsts weren’t able to figure out that the money wasted on improvements to Rail City would never be recovered by continuing to cater to the coin-playing fleas that make up Rail City’s patron base.

In retrospect, it looks like the Herbsts did just about everything wrong. Judging by the terrible mismanagement, it appears that they actually wanted their little casinos to fail, for whatever reasons. Well, fail they did. Good riddance to the Herbst-operated casinos. Let’s hope that decent, competent operators take over after the bankruptcy proceedings.

The Herbsts can go back to their gas stations and car washes, with which they do a good job. And they can continue to plunder and prey upon the addicted gamblers who play the slot machines in those places and others on their “slot routes.”


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