Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Supported by

New casino opening in Reno area for first time in more than two decades

Legends Bay Casino

Originally aired: July 5, 2022

Over the last decade, the Reno-Sparks area has worked to transform itself into a hub for outdoor recreation and tech companies.

But they haven’t given up on gaming.

For the first time in more than two decades, a new casino is opening there. It’s called Legends Bay.

Court Cardinal is the regional president of Olympia Gaming, the company behind the new project that's taken about 15 years to get built.

Cardinal said they acquired the land in 2005, then the recession in 2008 changed their plans. They later decided to follow the business model of a property they own in Carson City. 

He said it's a luxury property that will feature a steakhouse, an all-hours restaurant, and a coffee shop that's "much more than that." They scrapped plans for a buffet amid the pandemic and will have a built-in food truck lineup instead.

"That's kind of the idea, to drop something in that's fresh, new, exciting, invigorating and looks beautiful," he said.

He's hoping they'll draw a mix of local and tourist crowds. 

"We've got that whole entire area of Sparks, the industrial park out there, but I think we'll capture quite a large amount of them just by virtue of the fact of where we're located," Cardinal said.

The property will also a Circa sports book, which Southern Nevadans may know from Circa in downtown Las Vegas and Derek Stevens' other properties.

Stevens said they've wanted a location in Northern Nevada for a while.

"With the location and the ground-up component, we just thought, 'okay, this is just perfect. This is the place we want to have our first Circa sports in Northern Nevada,'" he said. 

Stevens had been coming to Las Vegas for decades before deciding to do business there, but he always thought Las Vegas was great for sports.

"Sports is still the only thing where consumers change their schedules to watch an event," he said. 

Circa takes bets from pros, which isn't the norm. Stevens said by taking bets from "sharks," they can create a "more robust and solid line."

"We need to develop through price discovery and follow the market to get to a more robust line, which then allows us to be more comfortable to taking bigger and larger bets as time goes by," he said. 

Howard Stutz, a longtime gaming reporter in Southern Nevada and currently with The Nevada Independent, said the timing just seems right with everything else happening in Northern Nevada.

With the focus on Legends Bay’s casino, entertainment and dining, Stutz said “they may find their niche in that market.”

In Nevada, mobile sports betters must sign up in person, and 70% of all wagers are made on mobile apps throughout the state, he said. Having that option with Circa will be a draw.

And, over the past few years, casino business has been lost to Northern California properties.

“That's why Legends Bay may be coming in at the right time because the Northern Nevada economy has changed. That's probably really the real reason for the big draw for them,” Stutz said. 

Court Cardinal, regional president, Olympia Gaming;  Derek Stevens, owner, Circa Las Vegas; Howard Stutz, reporter, The Nevada Independent

Stay Connected
Lorraine Blanco Moss is the host of KNPR's award-winning Asian American Pacific Islander podcast, Exit Spring Mountain. She's also a producer for State of Nevada, specializing in food and hospitality, women's issues, and sports. She started at Nevada Public Radio in October 2021.
Paul serves as KNPR's producer and reporter in Northern Nevada. Based in Reno, Paul specializes in covering state government and the legislature.