Colony Casino
254 North Virginia Street 1940 - 1964
280 North Center Street 1967 - 1971
Colony Casino
Photo from the Pam Goertler Collection




Jim Bothwell
Grade 3

Don Totoian
Grade 2

Don Totoian
Grade 2

Mike Klackle
Grade 2

Mike Klackle
Grade 2

Don Boyer
Grade 2

Don Boyer
Grade 2

Mark Englebretson
Grade 2

Chris Krauss
Grade 2



The Colony Club was located at 254 North Virginia Street from 1946 to 1964 and 280 North Center Street from 1967 to 1971. It was licensed from 1946 to 1964 as a full casino and from 1967 to 1971 for 21 and slots.

The Colony Club, formerly the California Club, was opened in 1946. Its first owners were James Powers, Jack Richards, and Bob Taffee. They participated in what was a common pratice at the time--leasing areas of the club to various individuals, known as "leasing out the gambling concession". Vern Bell was licensed for five slot machines and two poker games in 1950, and later in the year Virgil Smith was licensed for the remainder of the slots in the club.

In early 1954 the Colony was closed for remodleing. It reopened in May. James Contratto had purchased 17% of the club for $100,000 on May 7. The other owners were James Powers and Jack Richards.

In July 1954 a keno game was added, and Joe Munley was named keno manager. A faro game was also added to the license. Faro, once one of the most popular games in Reno, was at that time licensed at only one other property in town, the Golden Hotel.

In July 1955 Lester Larson was licensed by the state for 50% of the keno game. In August 1955 Contratto sold his 17% interest for $150,000 and became a partner in the Cal-Neva. In October 1955 the Colony raised its keno limit from $10,000 to $25,000.

In 1956 some major changes were made in the ownership of the Colony Club. Jack Richards, Joe Padilla, Jack Austin, Morris Orloff, and Henry Hornstein applied for licensing. Richards, Padilla, Austin, and Hornstein were approved, but Orloff was denied. Jack Richards remained as owner until October 1964, when he sold his percentage of the Colony Club and bought a percentage of the Riverside Hotel.

The Colony operated until December 1964, when Harolds Club exercised its option to purchase the property. The Colony closed on December 7, and approximately forty employees were put out of work. The price of the 125-by25-foot, two-story building was not disclosed, although it was rumored to be "in the neighborhood of one million dollars". Owners at the time of the sale were Henry Hornstein, Jack Austin, and Joe Padilla.

In 1967 Henry and George Hornstein, Padilla, and Austin were licensed to open the NEW Colony Club at 280 North Center Street. The state licensed them for seven table games and one hundred slot machines; however, the licensing was subject to Reno's red-line gambling law (the "red line" limited casinos outside the central downtown area to only 3 21 games and twenty slot machines). In June the Colony Club's owners decided they did not want to be hindered by the red-line law, and withdrew their application. It wasn't until March 1969 that the Colony reopened with only a bar, a few slot machines, and a single 21 game.

In 1971 the Hornsteins and Austin changed the name of the Colony Club to the Colony Turf Club. It operated as a race and sports book from that time until it closed in 1976. Two years before the closing of the Colony Turf Club, Jack Austin bought out the Hornstein brothers and became the sole owner.

The site of the original Colony Club at 254 North Virginia Street was part of Harolds Club as of 1999. The site of the second Colony Club/Colony Turf Club was occupied by the Reno Turf Club as of 1999.

According to Dwayne Kling