Proposed law would restrict future Carson Valley gambling businesses |

Proposed law would restrict future Carson Valley gambling businesses

by Kurt Hildebrand
The C.O.D. Casino was the last property to receive a nonrestricted gaming license in Carson Valley.
Photo: Kurt Hildebrand

MINDEN, Nev. — An ordinance that would further restrict gambling establishments was introduced by Douglas County commissioners last week.

Under proposed new rules, which would be effective Jan. 1, half of revenue at new establishments with more than seven slot machines would have to come from nongaming sources.

Further, new establishments would have to have at least 2,500 feet open to the public, in addition to hosting a permanent bar and a restaurant with a separate kitchen.

Commissioner Larry Walsh said he was asked by some with gambling interests to propose amending the current ordinance.

“There was a concern about small gaming operations coming into the county,” Walsh said. “There’s little or no economic benefit to the county. This is a protection as far as I’m concerned.”

Minden resident Rob Hellwinkel said the ordinance would limit his ability to lease or sell his property, and that he felt it was designed to hinder competition.

A building permit to build a Dotty’s Casino near the Gardnerville Walmart was applied for in August.

Douglas County already requires anyone seeking a nonrestricted gambling license to have a minimum of 100 rooms in an effort to head off slot parlors.

The last nonrestricted gambling property approved in the county was for the C.O.D. Casino, which was already approved when the ordinance was implemented in 2010.

County Commissioner Dave Nelson is a key opponent of the ordinance, which was implemented within a year of county commissioners denying Hamdogs owner Greg Sayabalian a gambling district overlay in the Meadowdale Shopping Center.

Nelson sought to have the ordinance overturned in 2017, referring to it as monopolistic and favoring big casinos.

Walsh opposed repealing the ordinance saying it could open the door to a number of small neighborhood casinos.

At the time, commissioners voted to reach out to stakeholders to determine what they’d like to see happen with the ordinance.

There are only two casino approvals in Douglas County that could still be built without the room requirement, one in Sunridge and another on the Carson-Douglas line east of Highway 395.

In Nevada, a restricted gambling license allows establishments to have up to 15 machines. A nonrestricted license allows its owner to have more machines, table games and other gaming devices.

Hamdogs’ original request in 2009 was to include a 50-machine cap on a special use permit.

The restaurant opened in 1994, but asked the county to add a gaming overlay, which would have allowed for nonrestricted gambling, citing the ban on smoking in restaurants.

There are 10 nonrestricted gambling license holders in Douglas County, including the Carson Valley Inn, COD Casino, Sharkey’s, Topaz Lodge and the Stateline casinos.