Boomtown Reno, located just outside the city of Reno, Nevada, has a rich history of providing gaming and Old West style hospitality to residents and visitors of the self proclaimed Biggest Little City in the World for over 50 years now.
I’m not sure Reno can still call itself a little city anymore though, as it’s grown from what was definitely a little city a few decades ago with a big city feel, to a pretty decent sized city now, with a metropolitan population of over 400,000. While this doesn’t compare to the over 2 million in the Las Vegas area now, it is still one of the country’s biggest gambling hubs, with a number of good sized casinos, including Boomtown Reno.
Boomtown Reno started out in the 1950’s as Bill and Effie’s, a truck stop just outside of town, on what now is Interstate 80. In 1964 a small casino was added, beginning the 50 year history of Boomtown Reno, although it wasn’t until Texas businessman Bob Cashill bought the place in 1968 for $1 million that the name was changed to Boomtown.
Cashill transformed what was a glorified truck stop into a genuine casino hotel, although this is more like an Old West town than anything, but it’s far from a truck stop now.
Cashill, who is the current mayor of Reno, sold the property in 1988 to new owners who called themselves Boomtown Inc, which later became acquired by multi casino owner Pinnacle Entertainment in 1997. In 2012, it became sold again, this time to former Station Casinos executive Dean DiLullo and his company, M1Gaming.
M1 Gaming has taken the casino hotel to new heights, adding $20 million worth of expansion in 2014 to the $12.9 million they paid for it two years earlier. It has really been updated and are now poised to better capture today’s casino resort market, which tends to be younger and more demanding.
The Old West motif remains though, and this is still the main appeal, and driving by on Interstate 80, to and from Reno, there is no mistaking that this place is a well done throwback to the Western frontier days.
So although Boomtown has had a long history of success here, they don’t just want to be known as the small casino on the outskirts of town anymore, a place you might just drive by, they are looking to make a bigger impact on the Reno gambling scene, and with their new ownership with their new vision and much deeper pockets than this casino has ever seen, they are making this a reality.
The Accommodations at the Boomtown Reno
Boomtown Reno is set on an 80 acre property on the Truckee River, and is easily accessed by way of Interstate 80. While in a rural setting, you don’t have to go out of your way to get there, which is a real benefit, especially for those who wish to fly in to stay and play here, and it’s only 10 miles from the Reno Tahoe International Airport.
This is Reno, so they have to compete with the other hotel casinos in the area, and Reno is known for its low room rates, and Boomtown Reno certainly does have some, starting at $40 a night for their standard rooms with either a king or two queens.
There are a total of 318 rooms here. The standard rooms offer plenty of value for the money, this isn’t a luxury Vegas room by any means, but are clean and comfortable and come with some nice extras, like an iron and ironing board, hair dryer, free WiFi, and refrigerator. Having a refrigerator is definitely a nicety as you don’t need to fill the tub with ice to keep your drinks or other things cold like you do at a lot of hotel rooms.
For an extra $5 a night, you can get a deluxe room, which is a little nicely furnished. These are fairly basic rooms, and they don’t wow you like some hotel rooms do, but they do the job as far as providing a great deal on a place to stay in while you are here gambling at the casino and enjoying the other benefits of their experience.
This of course started out as a truck stop, and they still have parking for big rigs as well as RV’s, and they have a full featured RV park with over 200 spaces, and a lot of people come here to play and experience the Old West and stay in their RVs, in addition to the guests that stay in the hotel.
If you bring the kids along, they will find plenty to do at Boomtown’s 30,000 square foot Family Fun Center, with arcade games and rides. $15 gets you an unlimited daily pass to everything they have to offer.
There are 6 restaurants on hand here, starting with the newly branded Boomtown Steakhouse, offering casual fine dining Wednesday through Sunday. Peet’s Coffee and Tea is much more than a coffee shop, as it is home to their world famous Lobster Buffet that runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The BBQ Buffet is only open Thursdays, but offers an incredible deal, $3.99 for all you can eat with your player’s card. The Market Fresh Deli specializes in hand made pizza and freshly made sandwiches. Baja Mexican serves up authentic Mexican food. Mel’s Diner has been serving food since 1947, you might remember it being featured in the popular TV show “Alice,” who worked at Mel’s Diner, and this is where the show was filmed.
There are 3 bars here, the Guitar Bar, the Cactus Bar, and the Six Shooter Bar, which provide guests with live entertainment nightly.
The Casino at Boomtown Reno
At only 40,000 square feet, this isn’t the biggest casino in the area by any means, and is actually on the smaller side, but still provides plenty of casino action to keep the many players that come here happy.
There are 600 slots and video poker machines on hand, which is enough to still provide a good amount of variety to their players. It really isn’t about how many gaming machines a casino has, it’s much more about the variety of them, and Boomtown Reno scores well enough in this category in spite of a lesser amount of machines than you usually see at a big casino.
They have a pretty good selection of both classic and newer video slots, including such big favorites as Mega Bucks and Wheel of Fortune where you can play for seven figure payouts.
There are only 11 table games though, which certainly is a smaller amount, but they do have 5 different ones to play, and some of the most popular ones, including Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Pai Gow Poker, and Three Card Poker.
They also have a small poker room where you can go head to head against other players, featuring Texas Holdem, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha Hi Lo.
Boomtown is proud of its keno jackpots and they have keno runners that will take care of all of your keno needs wherever you are in the casino. They also have a William Hill branded sports book, the top rated sportsbook in Northern Nevada year after year.
Boomtown Reno operates their own player’s club, which all players are eligible to join, and this provides gamblers with the customary comps and discounts that pretty much all casinos offer these days.
Boomtown Reno certainly keeps the Old West feel alive, and for those in the Reno area, the Old West isn’t way in the past, it’s only a short drive away.