Reno's Silver Legacy Casino in Bankruptcy Protection
Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee, May 22, 2012With a big push from Northern California's Indian casinos, one of Reno's largest casinos has fallen into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The Silver Legacy, once hailed as the savior of Reno's troubled casino industry, has instead become the most visible symbol of Northern Nevada's inability to draw gambling tourists from the all-important California market.
The 37-story resort, with 1,700 rooms, a laser-light show and a silver-mining rig looming over the casino floor, filed for bankruptcy reorganization last week. The filing followed the collapse of a deal to restructure $142.8 million in debts.
The Silver Legacy will stay open. In a letter posted on the resort's website, chief executive Gary Carano promised "business as usual."
But the Northern Nevada market remains deeply troubled, and Reno gambling consultant Ken Adams said one of Reno's casinos could close.
"Long term, there are too many casinos in the market," he said.
The Silver Legacy opened in 1995, a $300 million-plus joint venture between the Carano family and MGM Resorts. The Caranos own the Eldorado hotel and casino and MGM owns Circus Circus, which flank the Silver Legacy.
At the time, the Silver Legacy was intended to help Reno win back customers from Las Vegas. Indian gambling in California was more of a nuisance than a threat.
That changed when California voters approved full-fledged Indian gambling in 2000. In particular, the opening of Thunder Valley Casino near Lincoln in 2003 has peeled away scores of Bay Area and Sacramento residents who used to flock to Reno.
The Silver Legacy "was built on a false premise …