Gold Dust Casino
34 West Second Street
1976 - 1982

Mark Englebretson
Grade 2

Mark Englebretson
Grade 2



In march 1976 John Cavanaugh Jr. applied for and was granted a city gaming license. In 1976 the City of Reno was still enforcing the red-line law (an ordinance requiring a gaming casino to have 100 hotel rooms), and in order for Cavanaugh to be granted a gaming license he had to combine the Royal Hotel and the Parkway Hotel. This combination gave him a total of 101 hotel rooms, which made him eligible for unlimited gaming. At the time, many local businessmen claimed that some of the 101 rooms were only spaces with flimsy walls erected for the sole purpose of beating the red-line law. True or not, Cavanaugh was licensed by the city, and in May 1976 the state granted a gaming license to the Gold Dust Corporation.

The corporation consisted of John Cavanaugh Jr. as president and director, Robert Hall as vice-president, and Margery Cavanaugh as secretary-treasurer. Frank Sorce was approved as general manager and casino manager with 4 percent of the annual net income, less debt service.

The Gold Dust opened on July 1,1976. The casino had two levels and featured four hundred slot machines, twelve table games, a keno game, and a twenty-four-hour food and beverage operation. The exterior combined outdoor illumination with sculptured steel, and the exterior walls, down to street level, were tiled in antique gold.

During its short existence, the Gold Dust frequently changed the layout of the casino as well as its upper-level management. Some of the general managers were Al Gomes in 1977, Dennis Small in 1979, and Darl Voss in 1980. Some of the casino managers were John McClure in 1977 and Ted Kelty in 1979.

The Gold Dust had two major expansions, one in 1978 and another in 1979. After the 1979 expansion, the casino offered live entertainment and the only Mexican restaurant in downtown Reno, El Sombrero.

The Gold Dust closed in 1982, and in 1987 the Riverboat Corporation bought the property. The casino was torn down in November 1987 and the site cleared for construction of the Riverboat Hotel-Casino.


According to Dwayne Kling