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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Tahoe News No More

27 July 2001

I hate saying it. I hate admitting it, but Tahoe won't have a column anymore after this one. I tried, and I tried, and I tried again..... I put the progressive jackpots online daily for 447 days straight, then for 48 days I did it twice a week, until I caved to the demand and resumed the daily jackpots.

Today was the 540th day of effort. Why on earth would I pursue something like a dog with a good bone when the casinos won't pay dog bones even for the honor of having their casinos promoted in areas previously closed to them?

Because I felt that they owed their guests as they like to call us.... more than what they were giving us... and because I wanted them to learn to interact more with their regional markets. I tried to open a two-way street of communications.... and I did it because as a gaming observer and a gamer for 16 years in the area, I was concerned about the downward spiral in the gaming numbers for my area. Also because I love gaming, love the people who gamble, and wanted us to be heard... to be able to communicate... to put life back into the corporations... to give them a chance to put some identity back into the hopes of bringing new spirit to the place I call home. Because I thought them able to understand that Lake Tahoe (and Reno) have special needs that can't be met without more participation in the regions.

All efforts to fulfill the vision of an "interactive gaming central" for both Reno and Lake Tahoe have failed. It was with great sadness I sent out the announcements to casino departments and to executives, too, that foretold of the closing of the Tahoe Gaming Guide and the Reno Gaming Guide on August 1st due to lack of funding. The daily progressive jackpots from Lake Tahoe will cease operations, as will the Reno-Tahoe Gambling Weekly. In place of this column, I will be writing about gambling from a different perspective, in an effort to sustain and grow the United Gamblers Association into a full-fledged association, and a collective voice for the gamblers.... a more interactive place. That is if I can find a way to keep paying the server, the phones, and not have to sell my house and leave Lake Tahoe. The future is a very unknown place to me at this time. If I can hang in there I will try to keep the "Collective Voice" newsletter going as well. It's been life in a house of cards for 18 months.... but I know I did make a difference for Lake Tahoe, and I took the Lake to places it has never been, and I brought visitors, old and new, to the beauty of Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe is growing, and changing. It is something worth waiting for and watching. The casinos are changing, the face of the town is changing, and the Marriott is being built on the California side, next to the new gondola that runs up the side of the Heavenly Ski Area.... it's going to be interesting, and I hope that if there is any way I can figure to stay in Lake Tahoe, I will find it before it is too late. I have less than a week to figure it out.... so excuse me if this is a little "spacey".... but the brain is at mach 7 trying to seek the solution.

You know you've been working hard, when you find yourself answering a TV commercial's questions with a "yes" while cooking dinner, and then find yourself self-diagnosed as clinically depressed, and then when it gets to the part where it "might be caused by a chemical imbalance" find yourself arguing with a TV.... Because whatever emotions are running through my little pea brain don't come from any imbalance... it comes with the frustration and disappointment of the picture emerging, and what I see in the future for my own home... and it leaves me feeling like someone who has been "peeing in the wind" for the past 18 months.

I have to thank all the people who have read the columns... and responded, and visited... and held my hand and comforted me during the past 18 months. This effort was for the gamblers... and it was from the heart...I couldn't have met more wonderful people, or had a better time. I'm going to miss going through all the casinos on a daily basis... miss all the wonderful people who make up the graveyard workforce, miss the bright lights, and the sound of jackpots, and I will probably gain all the weight back that I lost while doing my "jackpot rounds...." I think it sounds like life is going to be a wee bit boring.... if you can't reach me by email, my alternate e-mail address is  and I will find a way to get my email....

Meanwhile, I invite everyone to drop by the and register for the Collective Voice newsletter, and check it out. The site will gradually be beefed up with added I phase out "the babies" and bring in "the toddler."