Boomtown completes $20 million makeover

Boomtown is about to mark its 50th anniversary after a $20 million makeover.

The Verdi hotel and casino is celebrating in late March by honoring a former owner and current Reno mayor, Bob Cashell, and donating all the proceeds from the event to a local charity, likely one dedicated to helping children, that is still to be determined.

“I happen to be turning 50 at the same time so it feels like good karma,” says Dean DiLullo, chief executive officer of M1 Gaming in Reno, which acquired the property for about $13 million in June 2012.

The party comes after a year and a half of massive renovations and redecorating that include a new look for the gaming floor, the sports book, bar and eateries. More importantly, says DiLullo, guest and employee satisfaction has been overhauled, too.

“We inherited a very good team and we’ve worked on training to improve our guest services. That’s one of the secrets to the turnaround,” says DiLullo, who says the casino has been profitable every quarter since M1 acquired it. “Just making things pretty doesn’t get these results.”

But M1 has been busy working on a physical facelift, too. The company laid new carpeting throughout the casino and rearranged the slot floor for better traffic flow and transformed a lounge into a VIP slot area with new machines and its own bathrooms located near the front desk and the renamed and refurbished bar in the center of the casino.

The new Guitar Bar features new tile, lighting and countertops and live entertainment every night.

Boomtown now has a range of restaurants, says DiLullo, including the Market Fresh Deli open 24 hours, Bistro 2100 and the Famous Lobster Buffet. Another restaurant will be opening this year in space previously operated as a Denny’s franchise.

The casino’s sports book was completely revamped with all new furniture, televisions and countertops.

“The sports book went from zero to hero overnight,” says DiLullo.

The hotel’s guest rooms have been tidied up, but a complete remodel of the 318 rooms is planned in 2014-2015.

The casino’s Fun Center, a 30,000-square-foot arcade for kids, has new machines and improved concession products, says DiLullo.

DiLullo says the casino is focusing on weekly promotions with VIP events and giveways.

“We’ve given away dozens of cars and trucks,” he says.

The 10,000-square-foot special events ballroom features a monthly headline act such as Foghat, Little River Band and Juice Newton and is scheduled through 2014.

But DiLullo still attributes the casino’s renewed success with improvements in customer service and employee happiness.

“It’s been a huge financial turnaround and 100 percent improvement in team and guest satisfaction,” says DiLullo. “Everything else is bells and whistles.”


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