Photo of Harold’s Club lighting up the streets during the night
(courtesy of Neil Cobb)

On February 23, 1935, a small casino named Harold’s Club opened on 236 North Virginia Street in Reno. This casino slowly grew as the city expanded and became to be known as the Largest Casino in the World reaching 7 stories high. This casino operated from 1935 until its closure in 1999. Harold’s Club was managed by Harold Smith Sr., however his father Pappy Smith was crucial in all of the decision making. During the more successful years of the Club the Smith family was at the head emphasizing customer service known for its western theme all over the casino, the Smith family wanted to provide a friendly environment that men and women felt comfortable playing at. While it was a casino, the Smith family wanted to make sure that it had all sorts of entertainment that everyone could enjoy. They would consistently put on events such as concerts or firework shows to show that they wanted to be something more than just a casino. Harold’s Club also was an important philanthropist in Reno as they wanted to give back to the community that gave to them. The casino was also the first casino to hire women dealers. Pappy believed that women could bring a different feeling to the gambling tables and the gamblers treated them with a little more respect. The Smith family created a culture in Harold’s Club which provided a safe gaming experience for men and women and provided the foundation for Nevada gambling for the upcoming years.