Casinos must have 100 hotel rooms

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Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko argued unsuccessfully Thursday city supervisors lacked the details to officially approve a new law requiring any new casino with more than 15 slot machines to also have 100 hotel rooms.

"This concept at some level could make sense," he said. "But the devil, as always, is in the details. We have chosen to lump all unlimited gaming with hotels. That to me is unfortunate. We've sent the wrong signal to those outside of this community."

The concept received final approval Thursday despite misgivings from Masayko that the ordinance was incomplete. Supervisor Richard Staub abstained from the 3-1 vote because of potential future conflicts of interest.

The ordinance was passed without any revisions on what basis a developer could appeal the 100-room rule, although supervisors insisted a good development with less than 100 rooms was likely to find sympathetic ears on the board.

Carson resident Dan Leck charged supervisors were making a decision not based on statistical data. He noted if there was a demand for casinos with 100 rooms, why hadn't any of Carson's casinos started that way?

Leck pointed out that most, if not all, of Carson City's large gaming establishments started as small casinos before expanding to include hotel facilities. Only Pi-on Plaza could meet the new requirement.

"I would venture to say part of this community's problem is its arrogance thinking that incoming developers have to bring something to us," Leck said.

Leck charged if such a law is needed, it should have been written with comments from multiple business people, rather than one "written and initiated by a special interest group."

"The interest of the city shouldn't be dictated by a few," Leck said. "The laws of a democracy should not be written in the back rooms of special interest groups."

Jim Masini, part owner of Bodine's Restaurant in South Carson, said he wasn't against supervisors "raising the bar" but contended the 100-room requirement was an arbitrary number that will hurt small businesses.

"Raising the bar means better things for the community," Masini said. "In track, as things get tougher, you raise the bar less. Raise your bar, but raise it to an achievable level rather than raising the bar so high no one can jump over it."

While the law's opponents argue the change in the ability to get an unrestricted gaming licenses interferes with what they can do on their property, Supervisor Robin Williamson said the 100-room rule could be appealed and the law would increase the value of property.

Representatives of the Carson City Gaming Association argue the room requirement will help bring to Carson first-rate hotel/casinos and restrict the competition ability of lower class startup slot arcades.

The law provides a small window for interested developers to start or revive a gaming operation under the old rules. They will have up to 180 days to apply for an unrestricted license, while a defunct casino, which at one time held an unrestricted license, will have the ability to apply for renewal under the old rules within one year.


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