The Bear Growls: Station Casinos entering Reno is a bad thing
October 20, 2006
I am usually a fan of competition. But this time, I am sorry to see a new competitor enter Reno. Station Casinos traditionally offers nice facilities but mediocre games, especially by Reno standards. It’s management of Thunder Valley, two hours west of Reno, has been a financial success, though a rip-off of the gullible public, with horrible blackjack games, charges for parking, and other indignities foisted upon its patrons. Thunder Valley has hurt Reno. But Station Casinos is a well-run, profitable company that cares only about itself and not the communities it plunders.
Station Casinos will now enter the Reno market and undoubtedly be successful. It’ll put in movie theatres, bowling alleys, etc., and have facilities that locals and visitors will want to patronize, in an affluent part of town. It will offer lousy games. Other operators will see the glow of success despite the lousy games. In the “monkey see, monkey do” environment of casino management, the other operators are likely to think “Hey, we no longer have to offer decent games to our patrons. Look at the fools playing blackjack at Station, despite our better games a few minutes away. We can downgrade our games with little chance of loss of patrons.”
At the risk of being overly pessimistic, I see the entry of Station Casinos into the Reno area as the first nail in the coffin of decent blackjack in Reno. It’ll take a few years to kill it off, but this is the first swig of poison. I am sorry to see it happen.