I have written many blogs and articles how Outlaw Sports Radio started in Reno Nevada in 2006 broadcasting live from the Reno Hilton Sports Book in the ESPN booth that use to sit outside the sports book where I worked as a bookie. I also broadcasted on another station and worked for a company called Leroy’s Sports Book for several years in Reno and Sparks, Nevada.
Over the years Outlaw Sports Radio evolved moving to Jacksonville Florida for four years covering a variety of amateur sports in and around the Jacksonville Florida area. In 2012 I opened up a small Sports bar back in Oregon and changed Outlaw Sports Radio to Outlaw Sports Entertainment Company. In Oregon we broadcasted high school football for the 3013 to 2014 season.
In February 2014 I decided to return to Reno Nevada to attempt to reestablish Outlaw Sports Entertainment Company as a broadcasting company once again. I also took a job with the MGM Sports book at the Circus Circus Casino in Reno as a bookie once again. I also found out that William Hill Sports Book bought out Leroy’s, Cal Neva and Lucky’s Sports Books.
In some ways Reno and Sparks Nevada seemed to have not changed at all but sometimes you have to explore the town to find little changes that have happened over the past eight years. The downtown area on Virginia Street Where Circus Circus, Silver Legacy and the Eldorado Casinos are located is where my exploring starts.
As you come of the I-80 Freeway and turn left headed down Virginia Street at first it seems nothing has changed. As you continue to drive toward the Truckee River you will notice several buildings closed and boarded up. Older casinos were either torn down (Mapes Hotel, Fitzgerald’s Nevada Club, Primadonna, Horseshoe Club, Harold’s Club, Palace Club), or smaller casinos like the Comstock, Sundowner, Golden Phoenix, Kings Inn, Money Tree, Virginian, and Riverboat were either closed or were converted into condos.
Harrah’s and the Cal Neva Casino are about the last two casinos on Virginia Street before you hit the Truckee River. Another change downtown is a sky rise with a smaller baseball field added downtown for a team called Reno Aces. It seems to me Reno should try to do something more with this area to attract tourist because it looks like a back alley in the main part of downtown area in my opinion. There are many boarded up and empty buildings that the city or casinos should do something with.
The Sienna Casino sits right on the river front and as you continue North on Virginia Street. Going more North on Virginia Street the two casinos that probably have expanded over the years is the Peppermill and the Atlantis Casino. Many places show signs of the economy as buildings sit empty or boarded up properties can be found as you travel down Virginia Street North.
If you head over to Sparks Nevada the old Silver Club closed and is currently called Bourbon Street Casino, and smaller casinos like the Mint have also closed. The largest Casino the Nugget just was sold to new owners as well. This area really has not seen much change in my opinion. The Marina that was built in Sparks Nevada offers a place to walk or ride a bike or take a pet or kids to the park. Going out of town off Sparks Blvd. there is a large shopping mall with many different stores available.
Some casinos like Rail City, Baldinie’s , and the Sands have managed to stay afloat and operational as well. One casino that has stood on the edge of Reno and Sparks known as Grand Sierra Resorts currently seems to be one of the casinos that are managing to expand. This casino owns a large part of property and seems to maintain it well. They offer a lot of family entertainment at the casino.
As part of my research of changes in the past eight years I investigated the economy. It seems the Indian Casinos in California have taken a large portion of tourism from Reno and Sparks. Nevada also got blasted from the housing crash and other issues in the National economy overall. Depending on what report or what agency you talk to there seems to be hopes of rebounding. However there are many things the area has to offer besides casinos as well events that have made Reno famous like: Hot August Nights an event where thousands of old cars storm the city, or the motorcycle rally called Street Vibrations. Other events like the Hot Air Balloon Races, BBQ cook offs and of course Lake Tahoe.
Reno has always struggled but one thing I have always noticed about Nevada is that things are always changing. No matter what you want to believe everything is moving and changing right in front of us.
In Reno and Sparks Nevada the unemployment rate was 8.9% in December 2013. This was a good sign for the Reno and Sparks area because at one point the unemployment rate in 2012 hit 11.7%. The fact is many things changed over eight years and things will continue to change. No one has a crystal ball that will tell us what will happen tomorrow.
With Nevada having water issues and Las Vegas Nevada possibly being heavily affected more tourists may visit Reno in the near future, or maybe Reno and Sparks will devise a plan to change the game plan for the area to rely less on gambling and more on other industries. Here is a thought for Reno and Sparks Sports is a multi-million dollar industry so why not throw the hat into the world of sports.