Monday, Nov. 1, 1999 | 11 a.m.
After spending 15 years building his gaming fortunes in Northern Nevada, Reno native Carl Giudici has headed south to the Las Vegas area.
Giudici on Oct. 22 opened Club Fortune -- a 35,000-square-foot casino in Henderson, the fifth owned by the 46-year-old casino operator. Giudici's Club Fortune is the rebirth of the old Triple J Bingo Hall & Casino on Racetrack Road off the Boulder Highway. Triple J closed at the end of February.
"I'm going to be spending most of my time (now) on airplanes, going back and forth," Giudici said with a laugh. "But I'll be down here a lot; I have to be. We've got a lot of stuff to do to build this organization to company standards. My focus will be here."
The casino opened with 300 slots and no table games, though Giudici said demand is strong enough that table games, more machines, keno and bingo will be added on in the coming months. The site has been approved for as many as 550 hotel rooms, though there's no hotel currently on site.
With 12,500 square feet of casino space, three restaurants, a bar/lounge and sports book, the casino is Giudici's largest to date.
Giudici also owns the Gambler in Reno, and the Mint Casino, the Buffalo Club & Saloon and the Victorian Gambling Hall in Sparks. The Mint was Giudici's first casino, opening in 1984.
In tribute to his newest city, Giudici has themed Club Fortune on the sights and images of Las Vegas itself. Done up in art deco-style are images of "Vegas Vic," the Glitter Gulch, the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign and various sights of the Strip.
"No one's done that down here, and it's very interesting," Giudici said.
Giudici declined to say exactly how much he invested in the property, only saying it was "a seven-figure investment."
So far, Giudici said the visitor flow has been strong -- even stronger than he expected.
"I think it's a curiosity factor," he said. "Their response is very positive, and they say they'll be back. We're very encouraged by the response."
His experience so far in Henderson has turned the Reno native into a big booster of Clark County.
"It just seems like it's easier to get things done down here," Giudici said. "It's the can-do attitude. Everyone says, 'How can we help you make it?'
"In Reno, it's not that way. Everything seems to be a hassle up there. Here, the business community encourages growth and expansion."