Eldorado Resorts CEO Gary Carano wins NNBW Readers’ Choice ‘Most Influential’ award
RENO, Nev. — Raised in the athletic realm, Gary Carano, chairman and CEO of Eldorado Resorts Inc., abides by a tried-and-true adage when it comes to running a corporation — something he learned from his late father and founder of Eldorado Resorts, Don Carano, who passed away on Oct. 3, 2017, at the age of 85.
“There’s no ‘I’ in team,” said Gary Carano, the Northern Nevada Business Weekly’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Best in Business “Most Influential: Thought Leader” award winner. “I think it (the recognition) is a nice compliment to me, but more importantly, it’s a reflection of the team that my father started when he formed the Eldorado in 1973. We’re only as good as the team around us.”
“So,” smiled Carano, “we’re always looking for the next great team member to join our team and contribute to our success.”
The success Carano and Eldorado Resorts Inc. enjoyed was especially significant in 2017.
With the acquisition of Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. in a cash and stock transaction last year, Eldorado nearly tripled its property holdings — growing from seven properties in five states to 20 properties in 10 states across the country.
Stretching from mountainous Northern Nevada to the cornfields of Waterloo, Iowa, and down to the beaches of Pompano Beach, Florida, Eldorado is now one of the largest regional gaming empires in the United States.
Carano, who has served as the chairman and CEO of Eldorado Resorts since September 2014, was selected last year as one of the “25 People to Watch” in the casino gaming industry by Global Gaming Business, the official publication of the American Gaming Association.
“We’ve come a long ways, but it doesn’t happen overnight,” said Carano. “Wow, we went from going to a company that founded its company with two and a half casinos, then we went to seven, then we went to 20. Everybody in our industry realizes you don’t just purchase 13 other casinos, and all of their people and systems are like ours.”
With that, Carano said integrating Eldorado’s “teamwork” culture into the corporation’s 13 new properties “has been and continues to be” atop his priority list.
“Setting the culture, that’s my job,” said Carano, pointing to his father’s leadership style as the blueprint to follow. “It’s an easy acumen to say ‘treating people like you’d want to be treated,’ but my father actually was great at that and encouraged that … treating our employees like we treat our own family, knowing our guests by their first names.”
Carano said the reward he gets as a leader is more than the numbers and figures that come across his desk. Notably, Eldorado’s stock price was the No. 1 increase over the previous 12 months of any gaming stock in America, Carano said.
“I think it’s satisfying to see how this company has grown and continues to make positive changes,” Carano said. “The reward is watching our team in action. The reward is we have a great reputation as an employer of choice.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.