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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Thunder (in the) Valley and More

3 May 2003

The news rattling around all week has been heavy with Tribal gaming plans in Northern California... as Tribal casinos announce their intentions. The biggest news, of course, is the opening of the Thunder Valley Casino in Auburn, California. According to their compact with California, the casino must be opened by June 26th. The newspaper had a photo of a really nice looking casino under construction. The Auburn Rancheria thinks they may be able to open even earlier. This is the casino that will be operated by Station Casinos. Station is also working with a tribe that wants to open a casino within 30 minutes of San Francisco and Oakland, and there’s still the flap going on in El Dorado County (includes So. Lake Tahoe, Placerville, Shingle Springs) where the county is vowing to squash the Miwok Tribe plans for a casino that would be larger than any in Lake Tahoe in Shingle Springs...which is on the main highway to the South Shore casinos of Lake Tahoe. I sincerely doubt that they will succeed except in losing millions of bucks on the fight, and really wish the county had worked out a revenue sharing plan rather than stooping to being the neighbor from Hell to this Tribe. Enough said.

Cinco de Mayo in Reno is a big affair, and three different activities are being featured that are a real draw. The street festivities taking place downtown Reno kick off Friday, May 2nd and run through Sunday, May 4th. I like to go down and check things out.... they have those hydraulic lifters on the cars that make them hop... and they have a contest, there will be tons of musical events going on up and down the street.... Latino bands, some of the best Mexican food in town... and then Rail City has an event, taking place for the first time since the mid-nineties, "A Day in the Barrio" taking place from 11 AM to 6 PM in Sparks on May 4th. The big event drawing tons of people, and sounding like a ton of fun is over at the Reno Hilton where they are having the "Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Grande" in the Hilton’s outdoor amphitheater with all kinds of vendors, arts and crafts and carnival games... worth checking out. Fun things in a fun place. I love Reno when it sprawls into the outdoors with all the festivities. I think this coming summer is going to be exciting, and fun for everyone lucky enough to be able to visit!

Mother’s Day is coming up and I highly recommend any one of the casinos in Reno for dining... I’ve been drooling over the wide assortment of foods and menus crossing my desk. Or check on the RENO GAMING GUIDE and you will find a list of dining choices available on Mother’s Day. Do something fun for mom this year... a little gambling, a little food, and a little entertainment makes one heck of a gift.

The Reno Casino Tournaments section just got an enormous re-do and is up to the minute again.... so if you want to play, win, and have fun, here’s the guide! Also still coming is the RENO GOLF section... did you know that there are 48 courses in the area within approximately an hour’s drive from Reno? I was looking at the photos of the area greens, and they are gorgeous.... No wonder the area golfers are always so darned happy!

My wanderings this last week led me out to an area of Reno called Sun Valley, which is a bedroom community with a population of approximately 20,000 just North of Reno... where I visited a place that does not advertise because they have the local business... Hobie’s Casino... and you know... even a tourist would enjoy Hobie’s if they are a nickel video poker player... the place was ringed with progressive nickel video poker machines, and the mix of machines was probably 90% IGT machines, and lots of popular penny games too... as well as lots of Player’s Choice multi-game machines... Hobie’s also has a newly done Steakhouse, and I’ve heard it is really good. That, I noticed was open Wednesdays through Sundays. I peeked in, and it looked really nice. They are still remodeling and expanding, but it was really comfortable inside.

Big news for South Lake Tahoe... which has been without commercial air service more than it has been with lately... Sky West will begin flights from the South Lake Tahoe Airport starting May 4th... flying between the Lake and San Francisco, there will now be 4 flights per day. Congratulations to SLT... on getting someone to serve you after all the efforts. I hope it lasts.

Would you like to have a little scenery with the gambling? It is just so pretty this time of year in Reno. The mountains are still snow-capped, the sky is so blue, and the clouds so dramatic.... and the same thing goes for Lake Tahoe, but it still looks like winter up at the lake... while in Reno the spring blossoms are appearing, and the hillsides are greening up... wow.... hope you can get here to see it like this. You sure have a lot fewer hassles in a city like Reno than you do in a place like Las Vegas. If you haven’t been here before, what's keeping you?