Customer loss causes closure of Dayton’s Red Hawk casino |

Customer loss causes closure of Dayton’s Red Hawk casino

Appeal staff writer
Appeal staff photoDayton's Red Hawk Casino, which has closed because of a dearth of customers, many of whom have migrated to a casino across the street.

Why did the gambler cross the street? To get to the bigger casino.

The Red Hawk Sports Bar has closed and its employees laid off after most customers began frequenting the Terrible’s Casino across the street.

Sean Higgins, a general counsel at Herbst Gaming of Las Vegas, which owns both businesses, said the customer base was gone.

“It was just lacking customers,” he said. “It had only 17 games and was really just a bar at the end of the day. Most customers had migrated across the street.”

He said the company would hold onto its licenses for the business but wasn’t sure what they were going to do with the building just yet, though a sign on the window indicates it is available for lease.

He said business at Terrible’s across the street is going well.

Herbst Gaming’s annual report showed the company has more than $1 million in debt, which company officials said was due to rising gasoline prices that has led to people spending less on travel and gaming.

Competition from Indian casinos in California, a statewide smoking ban and the poor economy is also being blamed for the downturn.

Herbst made $849.2 million in 2007, 43 percent higher than the year before, thanks to a $543 million acquisition of two companies, but has lost 20 percent of its revenues from a slot route business.

With increased costs and expenses an Herbst suffered a net loss of $127.2 million last year.

– Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or call 881-7351.