Reno is a busy town during the Fourth of July holiday season. Tourists, lots of first-time visitors, and plenty of players for the local casinos. Just a few years back you couldn't get a hotel room in the town during most of the summer. Certainly not at the 4th or during the Hot August Nights celebration.
Reno has gone through several boom and bust cycles, like so many gold strike boomtowns in the desert. Gold was found in the late 1800's in Virginia City, about 30 miles from Reno, but by the early 1900's the gold had played out. Strikes near Tonopah and Goldfield were plenty, but by that time Reno had gone from busy cattle town to a near ghost town.
Jim McKay, a stock-trader and sometime body guard, went to work for Nick Ableman in Tonopah before moving to Reno around 1920. The town was doing better then.
By 1928, McKay was rich, cashing in on casinos and the "rube" trade, but Reno was in dire straights. When open gaming passed in 1931, Reno was the Big Dog in the state, and the town had unparalleled success. During the time that Jim McKay and his partner Bill Graham ran Reno, they were more successful than any casino owner is now.
Sure, they owned several casinos and knew the trade, but that was also 75 years ago. Harrah's and Harold's clubs were very successful, but by the early 1960's Las Vegas was in full swing.
Times have been tough on Reno ever since, and the opening of Native American casinos in the late 1990's left the town without its previous stronghold on gaming in the Northwest.
Fortunately, Reno has a number of industries and no longer relies exclusively on gaming. Which is good, because by next week, it'll be business as usual, and rooms available at the best casinos in town.
So, if you missed the Fourth of July in Reno, visit any time in the next month and you'll find available parking, great 90 degree weather, and casino gambling and hotel rates that won't break you!