The Bear Growls: RIP Reno Siena — It has downgraded itself to a low-level grind joint

Reno Siena 

As reported in the June issue of Current Blackjack News, Siena has lowered its table max to only $300. A pit employee recently told an inquiring patron, “Management doesn’t want anything but small action anymore.” There is now a laughable $3 minimum, $200 max double deck where on a recent visit, most patrons were indeed playing coins. Such a table is unlikely to be able to make more than a few dollars an hour, if even that. On a recent weeknight swing shift, a total of just three blackjack tables were open, including the $3 table. Siena management should be embarrassed and ashamed. When Siena began business, it was a classy place. However, it had few customers. But at least it targeted upper echelon customers that could be exploited for profit. Unfortunately, the awful neighborhood it’s in, with the drug and gang-infested flop houses across from it, bums hassling patrons for money, and the murders within a stone’s throw of the valet entrance probably didn’t help. So now it is a grind joint with few customers. I seriously doubt that it has positive cash flow. The stupid decision to run off all but the low-rollers will likely preclude Siena from ever being reasonably profitable.

It’s a shame that Siena and Fitzgeralds have so quickly deteriorated within a few months of each other. Soon after opening up the new “better” games, Fitzgeralds suffered a self-inflicted, probably-terminal case of shuffling disease. Fitz’s now-horrible games are tied with Circus Circus as Reno’s worst — except for Harrah’s, of course. The new Fitzgeralds owners who bought it out of bankruptcy will probably soon be putting it back into bankruptcy.

It appears that the current business plan for some Reno casinos is for present ownership to loot as much from them as quickly as they can, then let them go under. As a staunch Reno supporter for a decade, and as one who makes at least fifteen trips a year to Reno, I am truly sorry to see these casinos rotting from within and beginning their death spirals.

Reno casino failures within the last few years:

Golden Phoenix
Baldini’s (downgraded from a casino to a slot house)

I predict none of the following will survive another five years under their present ownership and incompetent management, if they survive at all. The current Reno-area Casino Death Watch List:

Sands Regency
Silver Club
Rail City
Grand Sierra (though it has recently mounted a comeback, and has the best chance of survival)

A “bonus” — the South Tahoe Casino Death Watch List:




  1. “… the awful neighborhood it’s in, with the drug and gang-infested flop houses across from it, bums hassling patrons for money, and the murders within a stone’s throw of the entrance probably didn’t help.”

    Its unfortunate that a poor neighborhood can convert an upscale casino into a financially troubled grind-joint that has now embarked on a downward spiral. Banks in Paducah, KY started giving away downtown houses for one dollar to artists and forced the city to revitalize the downtown neighborhood by strict enforcement of zoning codes. Finally the neighborhood came up far enough that the various banks remaining inventory of foreclosed assets in the area were finally worth something.

    Maybe its time for Reno casino owners to flex their muscles rather than become grind joints that only contribute to continued decline as dealer’s tokes decline and fleas become the only customers in the casino.

  2. FoolsGold makes good points. As for the Siena, I wonder why it doesn’t build an eight-foot high block wall along the east and south sides of the property, with crash gates for emergency access. That would effectively seal off the bad neighborhoods, and improve the aesthetics of the parking lot.

  3. Usually a casino has the economic clout to seal off the bad neighborhoods through law enforcement and building code enforcement. If that is not happening, I would be looking at other casinos being responsible for the lack of such enforcement. It used to be that racial minorities were used as BlockBusters to ‘turn’ neighborhoods, now crack houses and gang members are used for the same purposes.

Leave a Reply