When I’d have out of town guests visit me in Las Vegas they were inevitably surprised by one of the city’s attractions that doesn’t get the attention it deserves–the beautiful mountains ringing the valley. Mount Charleston is just Northwest of the city and is Nevada’s 8th highest peak. Up North, Reno and Tahoe are known as much for their mountain resorts and their skiing and snowboarding as they are for their casinos and hotels.
It’s no secret that being perceived as ‘environmentally friendly’ is beneficial for the public goodwill toward any company. Some corporations even make their commitment to sustainability part of their brand identity. There are also financial upsides to implementing environmentally beneficial practices–and particularly for a casino. A casino is extremely energy intensive plus they’re open 24/7. In Southern Nevada, you can also throw in the huge air conditioning bill to keep the property cool in the scorching Summer desert heat. This makes power a big part of the operating expense and thus even a small percentage energy savings can translate into a significant boost to the bottom line. When MGM Resorts swapped out 1.3 million old light bulbs and replaced them with energy efficient LED equivalents it cut $10 million per year off of their corporate electric bill.
This isn’t to say that a corporate commitment to sustainability is all about image and the bottom line. Many companies legitimately want to be a good ‘corporate citizen’ and an asset to their community. This is particularly true in a beautiful and pristine natural environment like the Lake Tahoe area. Not only is it good business to take a strong public position in favor of protecting the environment it’s definitely the right thing to do. The gaming industry has several huge players that have made environmentally friendly policies a central component of their corporate ethos including MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment. There are also smaller gaming enterprises similarly dedicated to doing what is best for the environment.
Here is the CASINO INSIDER list of the 7 Most Environmentally Friendly Casinos. This list is not exhaustive by any means and admittedly focuses on the aforementioned large gaming corporations. There’s a good reason for this–large companies have a vested interest in making their environmentally friendly philosophy known to the public. They make it a significant part of their marketing and PR efforts. Smaller properties–particularly the many tribal casinos in the US–don’t have the same resources or the focus on creating a ‘brand identity’ for a large corporation. Since many of the large gaming companies are headquartered in Nevada there’s also a definite focus on the Silver State:
7 MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CASINOS
ARIA RESORT AND CASINO
MGM Resorts has made sustainability a high priority at the corporate level with 15 properties receiving Green Key Global Eco-Ratings. 5 have received the top rating of ‘5 Keys’ but the centerpiece of MGM’s sustainability efforts is the City Center project. The Aria Resort and Casino along with the Vdara both earned ‘5 keys’–a designation awarded to less than 2.5% of Green Key rated properties. The entire City Center project is one of the largest sustainable developments in the world. It includes 6 buildings that have received received 6 LEED Gold Awards from the US Green Building Council. Sustainability notwithstanding, the Aria is one of the finest all around properties in Las Vegas. Another MGM property of note–the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino has one of the largest rooftop solar arrays in the country.
Aria Resort & Casino
3730 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, Nevada 89158
THE PALAZZO RESORT & CASINO
The Las Vegas Sands Corporation is another big gaming group that has made sustainability a corporate priority. This is reflected worldwide in their resorts such as the Venetian Macao which was the first property to be awarded the Macau Green Hotel Platinum Award. In Las Vegas, the Venetian Resort receives similarly high sustainability marks. The Palazzo Tower at the Venetian has the distinction of being the largest LEED certified building in the world–four times as large as the second place building. The swimming pools are heated via solar energy and all throughout the property technology is leveraged to reduce energy waste while maintaining a high standard of accommodations.
The Palazzo Resort Hotel and Casino
3325 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
PLANET HOLLYWOOD RESORT AND CASINO
You can add Caesars Entertainment to the list of gaming corporations with a commitment to sustainability. This is reflected in the operation of all of their properties as well as at the corporate level. They even have an incentive program for employees who take the company’s commitment to sustainability to the next level and implement environmentally friendly practices at home. We could have selected any of the company’s properties but the Planet Hollywood has always been a favorite. Other Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas are the Rio, the Flamingo, Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, The Cromwell, The Linq, Bally’s and Paris. Caesars Entertainment also deserves props for the company’s strong commitment to their LGBTQ customer base.
Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
SILVER SEVENS HOTEL AND CASINO
The property formerly known as Terrible’s Hotel Casino (and before that Continental Hotel & Casino) might be an unexpected entry on this list. The property is owned by Affinity Gaming, which traces it’s roots to the gaming arm of the parent company that owns the ubiquitous Terrible Herbst gas stations throughout Southern Nevada. Affinity also owns properties in Colorado, Missouri and Iowa along with three casinos in Primm, Nevada and one in Sparks, Nevada. This property was re-branded as the Silver Sevens in 2013 after over a year of renovations. Affinity makes a strong commitment to sustainability including upgraded heating and air systems to conserve energy, recycling programs and waste cutting measures. Overall, the Silver Sevens offers a decent experience in a smaller than usual footprint for a Las Vegas casino. Pro tip–the Silver Sevens has a good sized William Hill race and sports book with much easier access than other properties in the area.
Silver Sevens Hotel and Casino
4100 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89169
GRAND SIERRA RESORT AND CASINO
The Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is the largest in Northern Nevada. They’ve made it a priority to establish themselves as a corporate leader in environmental responsibility in the Reno area. They seek to practice this commitment at every level of their operation including energy efficiency, reduce wasted and improved water conservation. The Grand Sierra has also invested in new technologies to improve energy usage as well as electric car charging stations. As for the property’s amenities they’ve got great dining, a relaxing pool and a very nice William Hill Race and Sports Book. The Grand Sierra annually cleans up in the many ‘Best of Reno’ awards and listings and for good reason–it’s got an amazing array of lodging, dining, entertainment and gaming options.
Grand Sierra Resort and Casino
2500 East 2nd Street
MONTBLEU RESORT CASINO AND SPA
The MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa is now owned by Eldorado Resorts who receive high marks for environmental friendliness at their three Reno properties (Circus Circus, Eldorado and Silver Legacy). Eldorado has grown from their namesake property in Reno and now owns 26 locations nationwide. The MontBleu has been recognized as an Environmentally Conscious Tahoe Business due to their commitment to sustainability. They’ve got an extensive recycling program, have banned Styrofoam and upgraded their lighting with LED bulbs to save energy. In addition to being a good steward of the environment the MontBleu remains one of our favorite places to stay and play in beautiful Stateline, Nevada on Tahoe’s South Shore.
MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa
55 Highway 50
Stateline, Nevada 89449
LAKESIDE INN AND CASINO
Not a huge surprise that many of the properties on this list are located in beautiful Northern Nevada. The Lakeside Inn and Casino is one of my favorite places in the Lake Tahoe area. Perfectly located equidistant from the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort and the Lake, Lakeside Inn is small by modern hotel/casino standards with 124 rooms–all decorated ‘Tahoe Style’. They’ve got a casino with all of the necessary amenities including a William Hill Race and Sports Book. They don’t charge resort fees and they’re pet friendly. They’re also the favorite among Stateline and South Shore locals. Lakeside is all in on helping to protect Tahoe’s water resources. This includes raising money for Tahoe-centric environmental causes and doing everything they can to minimize their own water use. There’s plenty of hotels that try to encourage guests to re-use towels but the Lakeside gives you a $5 dining certificate for each day you decline housekeeping.
Lakeside Inn and Casino
Stateline, Nevada 89449
PEPPERMILL RESORT SPA CASINO
OK, this is #8 on our ‘Top 7’ list but Reno’s Peppermill Resort Spa definitely belongs. They’ve got a laundry list of ‘green initiatives’ that include a composting program, water recycling and electric car charging stations. The coolest thing about the Peppermill is that it’s heating source is completely provided by geothermal power. Yeah, it helps to have a geothermal well under your property but they’ve done a lot with it:
Peppermill Resort Spa Casino has been recognized by the Geothermal Energy Association as the only resort in the United States to use geothermal energy to power their facilities and produce heat for guests. To accomplish this, Peppermill had to drill a well tapping into the geothermal aqua filter allowing it to capture and convert water through a loop system into energy. The well created for this energy source reaches depths of over 4,400 feet, which is the deepest geothermal well in the city of Reno. For this, they have received a Special Recognition Award as part of the Baseload Renewable Energy Summit. This energy source heats 100% of the resort’s water and mechanical heat of the 2.1 million square foot facility.
In addition to being the only geothermally heated resort in the United States, the Reno Peppermill is one of my all around favorite casinos in the country with plush accommodations, great food and a downright amazing sportsbook. The Peppermill already earned the CASINO INSIDER award for the ‘Best Casino for Outdoor Adventure Enthusiasts‘ and will no doubt be the recipient of many more to come
Peppermill Resort Spa Casino
2707 South Virginia Street
Reno, Nevada 89502