Frontier Club
220 North Virginia Street
1946 to 1956
Frontier Club
Photo from the Mark Englebretson Collection

John Rauzy
Grade 4

Mark Englebretson
Grade 4

Jim Rauzy
Grade 4

Louie Eliopoulos
Grade 2

The Frontier Club was located at 220 North Virginia Street and licensed from February 1946 to November 1956 as a full casino.

The Frontier Club was licensed for eleven table games and thirty slot machines in February 1946. In May 1946 a grand opening was held for "Reno's newest and finest casino and bar--featuring race horse keno. Also featuring a horse book managed by Jerry Ponica". Partners in the Frontier Club were the Hobson brothers, Joe and Pick, Marion Hicks, Dub McClanahan, George Sedlow, Dave Callahan, and Cliff Jones. The Hobsons took over complete ownership of the operation in 1947 when Hicks moved to Las Vegas to take over the Thunderbird Hotel operation. The logo of the Frontier Club was a cowboy on a bucking red bronco, and one of its slogans was "Look for the Frontier Club at the sign of the pitching red horse". The bucking red bronco was also featured on the reels of the club's slot machines.

In July 1946 Fred Murrill, a nightclub operator from Dallas, came to the Frontier to play dice. The manager on duty, Dave Callahan, gave Murrill unprecedented high limits on the craps table. On the point of four, Callahan okayed Murrill for a flat bet of $23,000 with $46,000 odds. The total payoff on the winning wager was $115,000. Murrill played for several hours and had several other winning wagers, but the $115,000 payoff was the largest of the evening. Murrill gave the dealers over $24,000 in tips. The Frontier did not have the cash to pay Murrill his winnings that night, so in August F. L. (Dub) McClanahan flew to Dallas and paid Murrill $141,375, which was the balance owed to him from his July winning streak.

When the Frontier was opened in 1946, it had an elaborate and expensive glassbrick front. In 1948 the Frontier closed briefly, and the glass brick was removed and replaced by several doors. The Frontier also installed a slot-machine arcade with thirty slot machines. Virgil Smith, a longtime Reno gambler, was licensed for the slot machines, and he operated them on a lease (or concession) basis. In July 1948 the Frontier opened a bingo salon, and for the next six years the Frontier's gaming consisted mainly of slots and bingo.

NOTE: The Frontier Saloon was a section of the Frontier Club that was licensed seperately from November 15, 1950, to May 31, 1952 for slots and 21.

In 1954 Pick Hobson was licensed for a keno game at the Frontier, and James Brady was named keno manager.

On November 29, 1956, Harrah's purchased the Frontier Club for a rumored price of over $500,000. The club closed, putting 150 employees out of work. When the wall separating the two clubs was removed, Harrah's nearly doubled its former size.

When the Frontier closed, it had two craps tables, four 21 games, one roulette table, one keno table, and 172 slot machines. One of the conditions of the sale was that Pick Hobson was not allowed to open another gambling casino for at least seven years. This stipulation was intended to prevent any of Hobson's many loyal customers from following him to a new location.

The site of the Frontier Club is on the north end of Harrah's Casino on the east side of Virginia Street, between Second Street and Douglas Alley.

According to Dwayne Kling