|232 North Virginia|
|1931 - 1940|
Photo from the Mark Englebretson Collection
|The Reno Club, Inc., formerly Rovetti's, opened on July 4, 1931. It featured a deluxe gaming casino and a new type of keno (bingo) game called tango. Its ad read: "Come and enjoy profit with pleasure." The Reno Club is thought to be the first club in Nevada licensed for a bingo game.
In December of 1931 the City Council demanded that the license of the Reno Club be revoked because the club was operated by Japanese aliens. A special committee ruled that it must be settled in court whether the owners of the Reno Club- Frank Feruta, Fred Aoyama, Oshira Yamagishi, and the late A.W. Shaw-were in violation of the alien gaming act. The case was settled out of court on November 28, 1931, when Furuta produced his birth certificate showing he was born in Oakland, California, on April 17, 1905. Furuta had borrowed 1500 from Yamagishi, but the loan had been repaid. Furuta was proved to be the majority owner and two other minority owners Grant and Beery, were American citizens.
In 1934 the property at 242 North Virginia was renamed the Heart Tango Club and leased to Ed Howe. The property was owned by Mark Yori and managed by Tom Smith.
The Reno Club, now owned solely by Aoyama and Yamagishi moved its operation to 232 North Virginia Street. The club operated bingo games only, no table games. Early in January 1942, hatred and animosity against people of Japanese descent in the aftermath of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor caused the Reno Club to go out of business. A few months later Bill Harrah took over the lease and operated the property until 1948.
In July of 1947 Harrah was sued by Reno Club, Inc, owned by Fred Aoyama. Aoyama claimed the lease Harrah had signed in 1942 was good for only one year and that he must vacate the property. Aoyama won , and Harrah was ordered to vacate. Fred Aoyama then sold the lease to James O'Keefe. Then, in a lawsuit that took five years to settle, O'Keefe sued Harrah for back lease payments. O'Keefe asked for $133,632. In a settlement reached May 25, 1952, Harrah was ordered to pay $8,155.
According to Dwayne Kling