Washoe Board Slashes Casino Values

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In a move spurred by the spread of California Indian casinos, property values for two of Reno's largest hotel-casinos have been slashed another $34 million.

The Washoe County Board of Equalization's action Friday regarding the Silver Legacy and Circus Circus brings to $107 million the total taxable value cuts for downtown Reno resorts for the coming year.

Under state law, businesses are allowed property tax breaks if their incomes have fallen while operating under normal industry standards.

Leslie Martin, Mandalay Resort Group treasurer representing both the Silver Legacy and Circus Circus, blamed the resorts' slumping income on last year's opening of the Thunder Valley Indian casino near Sacramento.

"This market is under assault. There has been a significant erosion of this market," Martin said.

Martin said he thinks Thunder Valley is taking $500 million in revenues a year out of the Reno and Lake Tahoe markets.

"Unfortunately, gaming is a market of convenience," he said.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said he thinks local casino revenues will hit bottom and then start to climb this year. He said the city would continue to do its share to revitalize the downtown.