Fandango Phase II nears completion; casino proves big hit

"FERTILIZER" is written in big red letters along the south wall of Casino Fandango's phase II addition. The sign is the only remnant from the building's previous tenant, Supply One.

Phase I of the casino opened Aug. 1, and the second phase should be completed by mid- to late-December, said Fandango General Manager Steve Forrester.

"But the fertilizer sign stays until the end," said Forrester joked.

The construction site looks like a set from "Star Wars." Bright lights from welding arcs flash as workers hover over a tangle of bare metal frames, the shine offset by the cement floor and white walls.

Phase II will add another 21,000 square feet of a cabaret, bar and dance floor. The 340-seat cafeteria, which curves around the northwest corner of the addition, will offer Southwest cuisine to seafood.

The Palm Court Grill and New York Deli, part of the first phase, will be expanded.

The third phase, which includes a Chicago-style steak house and larger race- and sports book, should be completed by early January.

When finished, the casino will have 65,000 square feet of floor space and 640 slot machines, Forrester said.

The business has exceeded expectations. Casino Fandango doesn't advertise, for fear of bringing in too many people, Forrester said.

He wouldn't give any revenue numbers, but did say the casino serves 600 meals daily, primarily to locals.

"Using the new slot card system, we can track our customers by ZIP code. We're getting people from all over," he said. "A few people come from Reno, but we're getting more than we expected from Lake Tahoe."

Longtime casino veteran Larry Woolf manages the casino, one of a number of partners in the project.

Woolf is the former chairman, president and CEO of the 5,000-room MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. He was president of Caesars Tahoe and the top executive for 11 years at Harrah's Reno.

Casino Fandango is at 3800 S. Carson St. For more information, call 885-7000.


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