Reno, Nevada has established itself, alongside its more famous and storied neighbor to the south, Las Vegas, as a premier destination for gamblers. Like Las Vegas, Reno is situated in a desert environment and so does benefit from warm weather most of the year round, but is not as hot and dry.
Reno is nowhere near as arid as Las Vegas. The Truckee River flows right through Reno's center, allowing for a refreshingly green urban core. Neighboring Reno is the renowned Lake Tahoe. Skiers flock to the famous lake's ski resorts, including Mt Rose, which boasts the highest base elevation in the Lake Tahoe region at 8260 feet. If going back in time is more your style, the nearby town of Sparks offers turn-of-the-20th-century Victorian mansions along with old-style festivals and barbeques.
Other tourist attractions and activities include the $47.5 million National Bowling Museum, which includes 80 lanes and seating for 1000 spectators, plus a 440-foot-long video screen - the world's longest. Another popular attraction is a behind the scenes tour of the gaming industry where one-way mirrors allow tourists to view the action from the other side of the tables. Car enthusiasts will want to make their way to the National Automobile Museum, with its display of more than 200 vintage and classic cars.
As a gaming attraction, Reno boasts of 22 casinos, which contain more than 14 664 slots and gaming machines and 496 table games. The Reno-Sparks district contains approximately 20 000 guest rooms within five mile of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
The following is a list of the seven best casinos in the Reno district. Most of these venues are located in and around the downtown core of Reno. Each provides what you might expect from first class hotel or resort gaming establishments, with lots of shopping, entertainment and wide varieties in dining and lounging. All are within minutes of the international airport. I have sought to extract some of the highlights from these award-winning destinations.
Perhaps the premiere destination for gamers in Reno is the Peppermill, known for its luxurious amenities and many award-winning features. Some of the Peppermill's many awards include being the number 1 ranked Reno hotel by Expedia and US News and World Report; best slot gaming in Reno; AAA's Four-Diamond Award for 5 consecutive years and winner of 7 best dining facilities.
Gamers will want to know that Peppermill was voted best slot gaming experience in Reno and best place to gamble and all round best Reno casino. The Peppermill also offers smoke-free rooms and a 100 screen race and sports book theatre for tracking your live bets in luxurious comfort.
With its modern silver tower sitting alongside its silver dome, the Silver Legacy is the latest casino, and perhaps the most distinguished, to establish itself on the Reno city skyline.
The Silver Legacy provides gamers with plenty of options, with 1400 slot machines that include progressives, 85 gaming tables and a 30 screen race and sports book theatre. The casino always has special bonus possibilities on tap, including ongoing tournament play.
Those seeking an active nightlife will not be disappointed. The Silver Legacy regularly books world-class acts such as Foreigner, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Johnny Mathis and the popular comedian George Lopez.
With mountain view rooms, the Atlantis is conveniently located across the street from the Reno convention center and offers free airport shuttles to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport 2 minutes away.
Awaiting the gamer at the Atlantis is over 60 000 square feet of casino floor space that contains over 1400 slots and video poker. The slots range from penny game play to the famous, state-wide progressives like Megabucks. The Atlantis hosts the usual wide variety in table and race and sports book play. Table games are provided with instant comps during game play.
The Atlantis recently expanded its high limit area, providing players with 30% more space to enjoy the excitement of high stakes gambling. High limit play includes baccarat, blackjack, progressive video poker and video slots. The biggest winners to date of high stakes play were two guests who, over a five-day period, walked away with over $1 million in jackpot payouts. Perhaps for this reason the Atlantis casino has been voted as having the best video slots and loosest slots in Reno.
Harrah's downtown location is a five-minute walk from the National Automobile Museum and is a few miles from the airport, with rooms offering city or mountain views.
Harrah's 60 000 square foot casino offers 900 slots machines, including state-wide progressives for big jackpot potential and excitement.
Away from the tables, Harrah's provides the gamer with the typical wide selection of amenities and diversions, including a swimming pool, spa, wide range of dining options and an active nightlife with live shows.
The Eldorado is known to visitors for its luxurious and plush interiors. Family-owned and operated since 1973, the Eldorado a nice selection in rooms, including Jacuzzi suites and family suites. It is also conveniently located – and connected via an enclosed skyway – to the nearby Silver Legacy and Circus Circus casinos. Guests can experience fine dining with Eldorado's nine, award-winning restaurants, see live bands at The Brew Brothers and enjoy Broadway-style productions at the Eldorado Theatre, all while staying at the Resort's wide selection of specialty suites.
The Eldorado's convenient downtown is steps away from the National Bowling Museum and the Reno convention center, and half a mile away from Reno's National Automobile Museum.
One of the largest casinos in the Reno area, the Eldorado provides 24-hour access to 81 000 square feet of gaming space. Gamers will particularly be attracted to the slots. The Eldorado offers slot play ranging from penny slots to $100 a pull progressives.
The Eldorado casino was voted the luckiest place to gamble in Reno polls.
The Grand Sierra sits on the shore of the Truckee River, which bisects downtown Reno, and is two minutes from the international airport.
One of the largest casino floor spaces at 90 000 square feet, the Grand Sierra casino provides plenty of opportunities for slots, tables, video poker and race and sports book play. The Grand Sierra keeps things alive throughout the week with tournament play with their Monday Blackjack Tournament and Tuesday Slot Tournament.
The Grand Sierra also offers something special for racing and sports players with its 14 200 square foot William Hill Sports Book containing over 140 screens for race and game viewing and betting, a two-sided wagering counter and special VIP viewing rooms. Also offered is the William Hill Mobile Sports App that, once you are signed up, will allow you to bet from anywhere in the state of Nevada.
The onsite Lex Nightclub and Grand Theatre provide a full array of world renown talent big reason why Casino Player voted the Grand Sierra as the best overall Reno gaming resort for 2015. Acts and bands as diverse as Alice in Chains, Alice Cooper, Chicago, Billy Idol and Counting Crows and Rob Thomas will attract concert-goers of all ages and tastes.
Other unique activities provided by the Grand Sierra include simulated sky diving, go-kart racing, a bowling alley and driving range.
The Nugget provides gamers with over 52 000 square feet of floor space, filled with over 900 slot machines, including state-wide progressives offering huge potential jackpots and lots of excitement.
A highlight of the gaming experience at the Nugget is the innovative approach it has developed to increase the excitement. Such innovations include Three Card Poker Progressive with a Six Card Bonus, where you can bet on the dealer, on your own hand, or both. Another is a variation on craps, called Fire Bet Craps. In this game you bet the shooter "catches fire" and hits a hot streak of rolling 4, 5 or 6 different points before crapping out. The Nugget casino also offers ongoing weekly tournament play, some of which are free to enter. These include video poker, blackjack and keno.
Take a break from the gaming on site with the Nugget's acclaimed Celebrity Showroom and Rose Ballroom, where you can catch live shows from some of the nation's popular entertainers.
While the 2008 recession did slow things down in Reno, Reno developers and city managers are expecting a Reno renaissance in the immediately upcoming years. While Reno property values plummeted several years ago they are starting to rebound, with the median price range increased by 16% over the past year. And this includes lower income properties on up to luxury real estate. In fact, authorities expect the population of the "biggest little city in the world" to increase by 50 000 over the next five years, creating the need for an additional 9000 homes to be built per year.
The reason for Reno's expected boom is at least partly found in state tax laws. For example, adding to the population increase are many Californian professionals relocating to take advantage of Nevada's 0% state income tax.
Because of its compact size Reno is a convenient city to be mobile in. And its proximity to some of the best outdoor recreation, including trophy lake fishing and world-class skiing at Lake Tahoe, convinces many it is not simply a one dimensional gambling town.
However, gamblers and gamers on vacation will also enjoy partaking in the many varieties of recreation that Reno has to offer.
Concerning Reno's gaming future, there is a little more uncertainty. The established casino industry in Reno has been challenged by the up growth in nearby reservation gambling. Examples of competition include the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in nearby Lincoln, California and the Red Hawk Casino located outside of Sacramento, California.
The impact on Reno gaming establishments has been to slow down new development. The Silver Legacy is the latest new casino to be built, which was over five years ago in 2009. However, reservation competition is pressuring established casinos to expand facilities, and thus market share, or else. Casinos like the Peppermill are well able to afford to keep raising the stakes. But less financed casinos may find themselves squeezed out of the game. The result may be a smaller and more consolidated gaming industry in Reno.
Whatever does transpire, Reno will continue to offer a unique gaming destination for the gambler seeking perhaps a less overwhelming experience than what is offered four hours south east. Reno gaming offers a unique blend of outdoor sport and recreation with a wide range of gaming options, all within the convenience of a small, mobile-friendly city and the ease of access via national and international travel hubs.