Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Will the Silver Dollar Casino be the first to "Bust"?

After selling his beloved casino in 2007, local entertainment icon Frank Sissons must be cringing at the state of his former pride and joy. Old Frank's Silver Dollar Casino looks like its about to go "craps", which is no big surprise to me. Having been in this facility many, many times, I cannot see how it can compete with the six ( YES...SIX!) other casinos in the City.

Until this facility was purchased by evergreen gaming, the place was truly an eyesore. It looked like a perfect movie set for a film set in 1970's Calgary. Here are some gems:

  • The Blackjack tables all had some strange smell to them and were covered in mystery "stains". The blackjack chips used to be from somewhere called the "Calgary Tower Casino"... ( This frugal move should come as no surprise, as Frank was believed to be a real tightwad....even going as far as to take his own cash deposits to the bank himself, well until he got robbed and shot in the knees! )

  • The food in this place was horrible. I mean HORRIBLE! I work just around the corner, and even though there is limited choice of menu options in the area...I never learned my lesson.

  • I wonder if Frank is doing any interior design work since retiring? The pictures on the walls of this place were hilarious. I would categorize them as "Hillbilly Chic". He had the lounge decorated with dozens of "B" and "C' List stars autographed pictures, most of which the average person has never heard of.

  • The Rats Maze: Walking through this place was a real challenge. It was an old industrial warehouse and not really suited for this type of use. There was an old Bowling Alley in the back, which was the original Silver Dollar Bowl.

Now I must give credit to the NEW owners, the Evergreen Gaming Corp for the excellent work that they have done since taking over. The decor has changed, the place has been transformed from a dingy basement to a real casino! The food is actually quite good now also.

That said, the casino is doomed to fail. The "new" casino facilities are where people want to be. You cannot compare the tiny one room Silverdollar with the Mega Facility Deerfoot Inn, Grey Eagle, Stampede or Elbow River Casino's. Location aside, (the Silver Dollar is tucked away in an industrial area in the SE) there is nothing else to attract customers to the Silver Dollar Casino. The casino market is over saturated in Calgary. Unless you have the size and entertainment options, you are doomed to fail.

Frank Sisson would never change with the times, so the best he could do was sell the business off. As usual, Frank picked his timing right and made a killing on the sale of the building and casino. Even he knew you cant beat the house!

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