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Bourbon Square opens doors, hosts first customers
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Aug 01, 2013 | 2770 views | 3 3 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Mary Anne Geiger watches the inaugural spin of the first slot machine played by a Sparks resident inside the new Bourbon Square Casino during the 'unmasking' Thursday morning. The casino opened to the public at 6:30 p.m. after finalizing many of the main floor slot machines.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Mary Anne Geiger watches the inaugural spin of the first slot machine played by a Sparks resident inside the new Bourbon Square Casino during the 'unmasking' Thursday morning. The casino opened to the public at 6:30 p.m. after finalizing many of the main floor slot machines.
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It was a hard hat-clad pre-opening Thursday morning at the new Bourbon Square Casino in downtown Sparks as the first local residents were able to view the New Orleans-themed casino and try their luck at one of 300 new slot machines.

As the final hours before the 6:30 p.m. grand opening ticked away, construction crews were putting the finishing touches on the cashier cages, testing the last few slot machines and grooving to the Louisiana music blaring from the newly opened buffet. Bourbon Square Casino executives and employees joined Sparks and Reno residents, Sparks City Council members and plenty others for the inaugural turning of the first slot machine.

Mary Anne and Joe Geiger were the first Sparks residents to push the ‘spin’ button inside Bourbon Square, and as long-time Silver Club customers, the Geigers were all smiles coming away with more than $5 winnings.

“We have been coming here for roughly 30 years when it was the Silver Club,” Joe said. “It is really good for the economy that they are here and we were really surprised and thrilled to see Bourbon Square open.”

The Sparks natives have traveled to Louisiana’s Bourbon Street and said Bourbon Square’s refurbished and festive vibe really resembles New Orleans culture. They said the theme will fit in well in downtown Sparks, but there is one thing they will miss about the Silver Club.

“We really did enjoy the table games,” Joe said. “We understand how things go and that they will have to wait some time before they have table games here, but we love slots so we will still be here.”

Mary Anne said there was no need to head to Reno for any gaming given the location of Bourbon Square on Victorian Avenue.

“It is just so convenient,” she said. “We just live out in Spanish Springs and so it is very convenient, and I am looking forward to some cajun food to spice things up a little. Victorian Square is such a nice area so it is a good addition.”

Several visitors for the ‘unmasking’ of the renovated property said they looked forward to having something new and exciting in place of the Silver Club, which closed in 2009, and Bourbon Square owner Rick Holland said he expects no problem fitting in. In fact, he said tweaking the casino’s name a bit from Bourbon Street to Bourbon Square was done to hone its Sparks identity.

“Bourbon Street is kind of a popular name,” Holland said Thursday, “and we wanted to do something to directly identify with this area. We thought it had a good ring to it.”

After leading the Ascuaga family on a brief tour of the ground floor of Bourbon Square, Holland said operating alongside the Nugget serves to benefit everyone, from businesses to residents.

“We are creating 150 jobs here and creating a spurt for the economy, and more jobs is something that is going to help everyone,” Holland said. “I think we will help to revitalize the entire area. Activity kind of breeds activity and more reinvestment in the business down here, and I think that is good for everybody. I think that is how John (Ascuaga) and I are both looking at it.”

Michonne Ascuaga, CEO of the Nugget, said there is a strong bond between upper managements of the two casinos, which formed during the years of the Silver Club. She said she looks forward to continuing the relationship.

“Each of us has played a role in different events and it has been great, and I think it has been to the benefit of everybody down here,” she said. “We have had close relationships with some of the management down here for years and we expect that to continue now that they have reopened.”

Stephen Ascuaga shared Michonne’s enthusiasm and said working in tandem with Bourbon Square executives will improve the Victorian Square landscape and boost the energy downtown.

“We really want to see that activity downtown,” he said, “And to take a closed building and recondition it is something we are really supportive of and we are looking forward to working with them. They know what they are doing. I think a lot of it is being accessible to one another.

“Prior to them opening, we have walked the street and gotten an idea of what they are going to need and what we are going to need (for various special events) and it is about keeping that dialogue open. We’re all in it together down here and it is great to see.”
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TLH-Sparks
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August 21, 2013
I first went on Friday. I did think they should have prepared better. But I've been back a few times and I like the casino. It looks like it's getting better and better. The people there are sure nice to me. My friends from CA really liked the restaurant's food. My mom and I spent many, many years in the Silver Club. I've missed it.

I wish the casino a lot of success and I hope you are there for many years. It gives us a reason to come to downtown Sparks. They've lost so much.
F.N
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August 05, 2013
I was really disappointed in the NEW casino and dining area. My husband and I sat in a booth and saw how bad the painting job and cleaning job was. The dirt had been painted over on the wall, there was old food on the walls below the painted area and the seating area had a tremendous amount of dust/dirt in the slats of the benches. This had to be left over from the old restaurant since this one just opened. I was really unsure of eating there since the booth areas were so dirty. I really think they opened too soon and did not do a very good job of preparing for the opening. I guess getting the casino area open fast was first and foremost to get the money flowing into the casino. The poor preparation of the area does NOT bode well for the Bourbon Square.
J,C,
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August 13, 2013
I was one of the first 6 players allowed ( hard hats were still required)into the casino prior to the general public opening that evening. This is still a work in progress and as time goes by they plan on new carpet and will definitely check and redo everything that wasn't quite up to par. With "Hot August Nights" in town they had to seize the moment and open their doors. There were minor problems but the staff was great and they bent over backwards to accommodate all the guests. I hope the locals support Bourbon Square and make it a success. Every business in the area will benefit as well.
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