The Brothers Brooks, Tim and Mike of Henderson, jumped into the casino business in 2003 at 120 Market Street, ready for a high-energy delivery and the desire to enjoy their new-found challenge — a defunct casino building in the heart of the city.
While many people get swallowed up by the Megabucks machines in humungous establishments, Emerald Island Casino has become a favorite, especially since it specializes in penny slots, among other things.
The 58-year-old twins dove into the current location in Henderson, and hasn’t looked back since. The Brooks’ came to Henderson from Southern California and before they knew it, they were buying a defunct casino and turning into a very profitable new business.
After all, bigger isn’t always better, as evidenced by Emerald Island, which seemingly has become the hit of Henderson, complete with smiling faces and slots that actually pay very well. To borrow a phrase from the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar: “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you will find them everywhere.”
The key is being a friendly soul, and the Brooks tandem has a game plan that fits perfectly in the quaint atmosphere of Emerald Island, now as the Jewel of Henderson and home of Nevada’s only all-penny casino.
“We love doing business in Henderson and serving the community,” Tim Brooks said. “It’s a very friendly community here. Working with the City of Henderson has been a very good experience; and that’s not always the case when dealing with some of the entities of a city.”
Friendships can go a long way, and Emerald Island’s boat is cruising along just fine in an area highlighted by good food, friendly faces and a strong collection of gamblers that include everything from the everyday housewife to a six-figure businessman looking for a great breakfast. In the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Best of Vegas, Emerald Island was selected Best Henderson Casino; Best Henderson Restaurant; Best Video Poker and Best Playing Slots.
Minnie Montemayor, who plays the slots at Emerald Island, raves about her home-away-from-home.
“It has the most frequent payouts and it gives you longer playing time,” she said. “Frequently, you do win jackpots. In most casinos, your wins are almost non-existent and you win if you break even.
“Emerald Island has become our go to place. Please don’t change a thing about your establishment.”
In fact, business is so strong that the Brooks’ bought their second Henderson casino recently when they reached an agreement with the Rainbow Casino in Henderson. The two casinos are the city’s most iconic landmarks in downtown Henderson.
Indeed, the Brooks boys were participating in their own version of a “Casino Leap of Faith.”
Most importantly is the fact that the Brooks are in charge of their own destiny and aren’t restricted by a corporate atmosphere. They are a family business with the freedom to make their own decisions. And in an area where employee turnover can be a tough challenge, Tim and Mike have employees that have worked for them since Day One.
“Many of the Emerald Island employees have been with the business for long periods of time,” Mike Brooks said. “We have several employees who have worked for us more than 12 years and some others that have been involved with us since our inception in 2003.”
So how did this all come to pass?
Tim Brooks jumped into the restaurant business in Redondo Beach where he worked in what was called the Pacific Dining Car. He moved to the gaming industry in 1997 in Reno working for his cousin at the Mint Casino. along with the Victorian Gambling Hall, the Buffalo Bar at The Gambler.
In 2001, he and his brother purchased Pot of Gold Casino and in 2003, with Mike now on board, rebranded it as Emerald Island, which houses 450 slot machines and is modeled after a 17th century village. A 60-foot illuminated light is the perfect guide for those looking for the casino.
Not all family members can work together. However, this pair of twins does very well, as Mike handles the financial element and Tim takes care of the operations.
“It makes for a very good partnership because we play off each other’s strengths,” Tim Brooks said. “I mean, we’re twins.”
Now, as the Brooks brothers expand their operations, they look forward to the next step in their journey running neighborhood casinos.
“We love doing business in Henderson and serving the community,” Tim Brooks said.