New Owners Investing in Northern Nevada Casino

The new owners of John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nevada, led by CEO Carlton Geer (l.) will spend millions to overhaul the landmark casino, owned by one family for almost 60 years.

Looking to lure old, new customers

John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nevada, sold last year to affiliates of Global Gaming & Hospitality and Husky Finance, will undergo a number of renovations to freshen its look.

Carlton Geer, new CEO and president of the company, told the Reno Gazette-Journal he will “deploy capital tangibly and visibly so that our customers see we’re reinvesting in the product, and they now have reasons to visit.”

The Nugget has operated in Sparks for more than 58 years, and until the sale was owned by one family. “It’s a very comfortable old feeling, and that’s a good thing,” said Geer. “The bad thing is, it’s a very comfortable, old feeling. So we’re looking at an interior design update and exterior update.”

The new owners will replace the exterior freeway sign and paint the outside of the casino.

“When you talk loosely about those kinds of changes, they don’t sound like much,” Geer said. “But a new freeway sign is $1 million. Painting the building is $1 million. Changing the carpet in the casino is $1 million.”

He added that the upgrades will be worth it and allow the new owners to take advantage of the Nugget’s great location.

“The Nugget has a fantastic location, maybe the best in all of Reno-Sparks, and then there’s access. There are very few casinos that have their own exit off the freeway. You can’t get closer to 1-80 because it literally runs over our roof.

 “I just need some of the passengers in the 106,000 cars that literally pass over our roof daily to stop in and see what’s going on at the Nugget,” Geer said. “And then they have fun, and they enjoy themselves, and they bring their friends and they bring their family. And then you know you’ve got it.”

Local patron Terri Ogden is happy to hear the Nugget will soon sport a new look.

“The place needs to be restored to its old former, glorious self,” she said. “I know the economic downturn and competition from casinos in neighboring states has taken a huge bite out of the number of visitors. But if the properties aren’t maintained, then locals and tourists are going to stay away.”