Filed Under Gambling

Eldorado Hotel-Casino

Opened in 1973, the Eldorado was the first hotel-casino north of the railroad on Virginia Street.

The Eldorado Hotel-Casino was the first hotel-casino to be constructed north of the railroad tracks on Virginia Street. Prior to its construction, the block housed a number of businesses including Welsh's Bakery, the Little Waldorf, the Ace Coin Shop, Silver State Camera, the Reno Hotel, and Leo's Den. Principal partners in the project included relatives Don Carano, his uncle William Carano, and his cousin George Siri, along with George Yori, Richard Stringham, and Jerry Poncia.

The eleven-story property opened on May 24, 1973 with 272 hotel rooms, six suites, a 24-hour coffee shop, and a dinner restaurant. Its casino offered 200 slot machines, 15 table games, and a keno game. Befitting its name, the decor was Spanish-themed in shades of gold, black, and brown.

Because the railroad then ran above ground and because the existing casino district was on their south side, many voiced doubts that the Eldorado could succeed. But it beat the odds, and in 1978 the Eldorado expanded, adding more than 130 hotel rooms, more than a dozen additional table games, and 300 more slots.

A major $30 million expansion in 1985 brought a new 20,000-square foot casino floor stretching the length of the entire block, while a new hotel tower brought the number of rooms to 811. The additions went much further, adding a 350-seat buffet called the Market Place (later renamed the Chef's Pavilion). A 500-seat showroom opened in 1997.

The owners of the Eldorado entered into a partnership with Circus Circus in 1993, the same year they constructed a ten-story parking garage on the west side of Sierra Street. The joint venture, the Silver Legacy Hotel-Casino, connected to the Eldorado and Circus Circus via large sky bridges and opened in 1995.

The Eldorado companies became Eldorado Resorts in 1996 and began to purchase and merge with gaming properties in other states in the years to follow. Eldorado Resorts acquired Circus Circus and took full ownership of the Silver Legacy in 2015 and in 2018 branded the three connected properties as "THE ROW," advertising it as a "city within a city." In 2020, Eldorado Resorts acquired Caesars Entertainment and kept the Caesars name. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023.

Images

The Eldorado Hotel-Casino soon after its 1973 opening.
The Eldorado Hotel-Casino soon after its 1973 opening. Upon opening in 1973, the Eldorado Hotel-Casino had 272 hotel rooms and six suites, a 24-hour coffee shop, 200 slots, 15 table games, and one keno game. Source: Old Reno Facebook page Date: ca. 1970s
Architect's rendering of the Eldorado
Architect's rendering of the Eldorado Published in the local newspaper in July of 1972, an architect's rendering depicts what it describes as the "$6.2 million, 282-room luxury hotel complex to be erected at Fourth and Virginia Streets in Reno." Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: July 17, 1972
The streetscape before the Eldorado
The streetscape before the Eldorado A view of the west side of the 400 block of Virginia Street prior to its demolition to make way for the Eldorado, including Welsh's Bakery and the California Market. Source: Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection
Demolition underway
Demolition underway A photograph published in the Reno Evening Gazette in August of 1972 shows the demolition underway of the block of buildings including the Little Waldorf Tavern and Welsh's Bakery, to make way for construction of the Eldorado Hotel-Casino. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: August 30, 1972
The Eldorado Hotel-Casino in the 1970s
The Eldorado Hotel-Casino in the 1970s A night view of the Eldorado Hotel-Casino in the 1970s. Source: Philip Galbraith Date: ca. 1970s
The Eldorado in 2013
The Eldorado in 2013 A view of the Eldorado Reno in 2013 taken from Virginia Street Creator: Patrick Nouhailler Date: 2013

Location

345 N. Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada

Metadata

Alicia Barber and Dwayne Kling, “Eldorado Hotel-Casino,” Reno Historical, accessed June 17, 2024, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/259.