There are a lot of crushing problems in Clark County, Nevada.
A worst-in-the-universe education system. A still-not-recovered economy. High unemployment. Traffic congestion. Health care woes. Crime. Homelessness. Hunger. UNLV’s football program. You name it.
So which pressing problem will the Clark County Commission be tackling at their meeting on Tuesday?
An amendment to the Clark County Code that includes the following definitional change…
“A ‘bar’ is a physical structure with a flat horizontal counter, which shall be at least forty-two (42) inches in height and at least twenty-four (24) inches in width between the back of the bar and the front of the bar…”
In addition, the amendment dictates the number of hours a tavern will be forced to keep their kitchen open, dictates the number of people a tavern is forced to employ in its kitchen, excludes the sale of t-shirts and beer mugs as “tavern revenue,” and restricts who a tavern owner can sell their tavern to if and when they chose to retire.
This living embodiment of Nero fiddling while Rome burns is front and center on the commission’s front burner because…well, because Stations Casinos wants it there.
And apparently what Stations wants, Stations gets.
And why does Stations want county commissioners to micro-manage the operations of neighbor taverns?
Because it wants the government to help it crush a competitor, that’s why.
Make no mistake. These code amendments are aimed at one target and one target only…
Dotty’s Gaming & Spirits.
You see, Dotty’s redefined the look and feel of a neighborhood tavern; catering to a female clientele as opposed to the male-focused sports-themed bars. They’re more like Grandma’s kitchen than John Madden’s man cave.
Nevertheless, Dotty’s are every bit a neighborhood tavern as any beer-soaked sports bar. They serve adult beverages and bar food and have no more than 15 slot machines on the premises.
At the time the Dotty’s model was first introduced back in the 1990s, nobody thought it had a prayer of succeeding. But succeed it did.
Turns out a lot of “locals” prefer to hang out at a local neighborhood watering hole with just a few slot machines rather than patronize a big, full-scale casino – even an off-Strip casino.
In addition, Dotty’s décor attracts older women who apparently appreciate the lack of testosterone permeating the joint.
Simply put, Dotty’s discovered a niche in the tavern/gaming market and catered to it. But rather than compete for those customers fairly and squarely in the free market, Stations decided to go to war and crush the upstart using the powers of government regulation.
As such, Dotty’s has already been forced to spend MILLIONS of dollars retrofitting and remodeling its existing operations – now located throughout the state – in order to comply with never-ending/ever-changing rules.
Alas, in their zeal to destroy Dotty’s the Commission is starting to resemble a blind bank robber: You know somebody is going to get shot, you just don’t know who.
Indeed, this effort to legislate a single company out of business is likely to take out other “real” taverns, as well. And yet, when traditional taverns and sports bars go under and landlords are facing potential huge losses in revenue, Dotty’s is their first call.
Dotty’s has, literally, saved more strip malls in the state than you can shake the proverbial stick at.
And they employ thousands of Nevadans.
And generate millions of dollars in tax revenue.
Yet on Tuesday the Clark County Commission will once consider doing the “dirty work” for a Big Gaming competitor.
This isn’t right. Even for Nevada, this isn’t right.
Here’s hoping a majority of county commissioners put an end to this anti-Dotty’s jihad once and for all on Tuesday and get back to frying bigger fish
Like fixing UNLV’s football program!