A fantastic Original 1960’s Architectural Rendering of the Ponderosa Casino Hotel. 30 x 40. Watercolor ink on board with Metallic Acetate Overlay. In rather great shape. A little History below.
RENO— In a city where gaudy neon advertises potential pleasures at every turn, the Ponderosa Casino has only one neon sign. Its message: ”No smoking.”
The Ponderosa, which bills itself as ”Reno’s breath of fresh air,” is a novel experiment in a city where casinos rarely try anything new. While other casinos have set aside some nonsmoking areas, the Ponderosa is reputed to be the only one in the world that does not allow smoking in its gaming areas, hotel rooms, restaurant and even the bar.
A no-smoking symbol, a red heart embracing a burning cigarette with a slash through it, is emblazoned on the doors of the Ponderosa as well as on the felt of blackjack tables. Scattered throughout the 9,000-square-foot casino are signs that say, ”For the health of it, the butt stops here.” There are no ashtrays among the 125 poker, keno, Megabucks and Quartermania slot machines.
The no-smoking casino was the creation of Bob Rusk, a nonsmoker who worked his way through college in a mortuary where he saw evidence of many smoking-related deaths, and his partner, Joe Keshmiri, a former discus thrower on four Iranian Olympic teams who did not smoke because of his involvement in athletics.
Mr. Keshmiri, who worked his way up in casinos from security guard to dealer to owner, conceded that some casino operators were skeptical about the Ponderosa’s chances of success. But he said: ”Society is ready for nonsmoking now. It’s the right time. Business is a gamble, so let’s gamble a little more.”
The Ponderosa, which has been open only a month and a half, is a gamble itself. The casino was closed for four years after it went through a succession of owners and ended up bankrupt.