Dotty’s is a chain of slot machine parlors owned and operated by privately held Nevada Restaurant Services, Inc., with about 175 locations in Nevada, Oregon and Montana and over 40 Dotty’s Café’s in Illinois.
They also own LaVillita’s in Las Vegas and manage the slot operations in Food 4 Less grocery stores in Nevada and inside Kmart department stores under the Dotty’s brand. Craig Estey is the founder and president of Nevada Restaurant Services. Dotty’s debuted in Las Vegas in 1995 in a shopping center at Tropicana Avenue and Maryland Parkway and the company has grown rapidly ever since.
The business model is sometimes considered controversial, with locations “offering minimal food and beverage choices with a heavy focus on gambling.” The chain caters primarily to women aged 35 and older with a clean, well-lit atmosphere meant to invoke “your grandmother’s kitchen.” In August 2013, Dotty’s agreed to acquire the Hacienda Hotel and Casino near Boulder City, its first full hotel-casino. In July 2014, Dotty’s agreed to buy the River Palms in Laughlin.
Dotty’s prides itself in offering its tavern patrons a unique departure from the atmosphere of big-box hotels and casinos. Most are open 24 hours a day, every day.
Unlike the casinos, big windows at Dotty’s allow natural light to filter into the brightly lit rooms where countertops and end tables are adorned with checkerboard table cloths and artificial plants. Slot machines and comfortable chairs are distributed throughout. Televisions are tuned to news channels and programs that favor female audiences, such as “The View” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Dotty’s is viewed as one of Nevada’s most successful gaming and tavern businesses, with more than 300,000 customers in its player database. Most of its taverns operate with 15 slot machines each and 20-plus are non-restricted Dotty’s that average 40 slot machines per facility.
Dotty’s slot club rewards its members with a variety of point multipliers on a daily basis, with up to 10, 15 and even 20 times points on some days and certain machines. There are some designated machines (with signs posted on them) that always offer a minimum of 15x points. One thousand earned points equals one dollar in value for free slot play or food comps.
Determining the coin-in needed to earn points is somewhat of an “unknown” due to factors that determine point earnings like denomination being played and the type of game played, be it slot, video poker or video keno. Seniors, age 50 and up can multiple their point earnings every morning from 6 a.m. to noon with 6-9x points depending on the day.
There are other promotions (something is going on every day) including jackpot bonuses. A monthly calendar of multipliers and promotions is posted on the bulletin boards in all Dotty’s and all promotions are the same for all locations for an entire month at a time. Points can be used at any Dotty’s.
There are a variety of food options available at Dotty’s, depending on the location, including full meals, snacks, sodas, beer and wine. Low priced cigarettes are a favorite staple for locals as well.
Once a player earns a minimum of 5,000 points, promotional calendars and offers will begin to show up in her/his home mailbox, including cash, free slot play and food based on the previous month’s activity.
H. Scot Krause is a gaming industry analyst, researcher and journalist. He is a former entertainment director and 21-year resident of Las Vegas. Email: [email protected].