Nevada’s Little Nugget Casino to Permanently Close July 30

Posted on: July 22, 2020, 08:28h. 

Last updated on: July 23, 2020, 09:24h.

Reno’s Little Nugget casino is to shutter late this month because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the venue announcing it will close for good at the end of July.

Nugget Casino Reno To Close
Reno’s Nugget Casino and Diner reopened earlier this year, but now will shutter later this month. (Image: Brian Bahouth/ Sierra Nevada Ally)

Despite the closing, the property will try to keep a non-restricted gaming license in place that was issued by state gaming officials.

“The worldwide COVID-19 virus pandemic, which no one could have anticipated a mere six months ago, caused all non-restricted gaming to close in the state of Nevada,” Little Nugget proprietor Rick Heaney said to KRNV, a Reno TV station.

The venues then briefly reopened, only to see bars inside the casino close again. That has made it clear that the Little Nugget cannot survive through the winter months,” Heaney continued.

Cancellation of key events in Reno and a drop in the number of visitors to the city’s downtown also led to the casino closing, KOLO, a Reno TV station, added.

“We told our employees yesterday that we were going to close at the end of the month because of the economic impossibility to stay open,” Heaney told the Reno Gazette-Journal on Tuesday. He said all employees that stayed until the closing would receive severance pay.

Known for Awful

Heaney acquired the Little Nugget in 1989 from previous owner Jim Kelly, who was a business partner of Dick Graves. The Little Nugget is particularly known for its Nugget Diner. It features the popular Awful Awful burger, which will be served until 5 am July 30.

The Awful Awful burger was given the name because it is “awful big and awful good,” according to the Gazette-Journal. It weighs a half-pound and is served on a toasted bun, and features a house sauce, trimmings such as a red onion, cheese, tomato, and lettuce, and rests on a pound of fries, the report said.

The Awful Awful burger was first served in northern Nevada in 1952. Dick Graves and his partners served the iconic burger in Nugget casinos located in not just Reno, but also in Sparks and Carson City, the Reno newspaper reported.

Bars, Pubs Closed Earlier This Month

On July 11, Reno’s Santa Fe Basque restaurant — associated with the Santa Fe Hotel — closed after a 70-year history, the newspaper reported.

Earlier this month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered bars, pubs, and taverns in several counties that do not serve food to close temporarily, given the spike in coronavirus cases.

Given the rising number of coronavirus cases, Wynn Resorts also will reportedly furlough some Las Vegas employees. The operator of Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore has yet to announce which employees will be impacted.