How many golfers equal a hotel room?

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A new twist on the 100-hotel-room requirement for building a casino in Carson City creates more problems than it resolves.

Supervisors should realize they're trying to mend a flawed ordinance, scrap it and start over.

The rule approved in February says after Aug. 1, anyone who wants an unrestricted gaming license in Carson City also must build 100 hotel rooms.

The idea is to upgrade the quality of the properties that are given the privilege of a gaming license so they boost the tourism economy generally and don't simply carve out their own piece of the existing market.

Now, with an amendment approved by supervisors on Thursday, hotel rooms aren't the only option.

Prospective casino owners could argue their development will involve "an investment in tourism-related infrastructure equivalent to that of 100 hotel rooms, or an annual economic benefit equivalent to that which would have been achieved by 100 hotel rooms."

Examples include a parking garage, golf course, convention center, amusement park or museum.

OK, we'll be the first to ask. How many golfers equal a hotel room? How many parking spaces does it take to create the same economic investment as a roller-coaster?

If we put a swimming pool in our hotel, does that mean we only have to build 90 rooms? Does the restaurant count? Would the stuff that used to be on the walls at Sharkey's in Gardnerville, for example, qualify as museum pieces?

The possibilities are making us dizzy.

While we appreciate the effort to loosen up the regulations, what the supervisors have done is open the door to the kind of wheeling and dealing that can drive developers crazy and encourage good-ol'-boy deals.

Legitimate, professional companies don't want to spend money on architects and engineers, only to have some bureaucrat or elected official tell them a project might win approval if they would just add a putting green in the parking lot.

Instead, the supervisors should return to square one and approach the whole idea by means of specific

incentives. That they're now trying to back into such a concept only shows how poorly thought out it was in the first place.


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