spinoffs. There’s Dog-opoly, Chocolate-opoly, KISS-opoly,
Muppet-opoly, Elvis-opoly and even Las Vegas-opoly.
There isn’t yet a Nevada-opoly, but if there was, the rules of the
game would have to be changed significantly to be realistic.
First, there would be two competing businesses. Biz #1 would own
Boardwalk and Park Place and have a hotel/casino on each space. Every
other property would be owned by Biz #2, with just one little
neighborhood tavern on each space.
Naturally, the Government would control all of the Railroads and
Utilities and also serve as the Banker and Jailer.
Forget the dice. When it’s their turn, the players would simply
announce how many spaces, between 2 and 12, they wish to advance. Biz
#1 and Biz #2 would offer incentives to get the players to visit one
of their properties. When they do, the player spends the listed amount
while on that space.
Now a player with a lot of cash might be enticed to go to a Biz #1
property in return for dinner for two and a show. Players with less
cash would likely settle for patronizing Biz #2 properties for nothing
more than convenience and an occasional free drink for playing the
video poker machines.
Different strokes for different strokes. Free market competition. But
here’s the twist.
Let’s say a lot people like to go to Biz #2 properties and Biz #1
doesn’t like having the competition. So in the middle of the game Biz
#1 goes to the Government and gets the Government to force Biz #2 to
retroactively make major operational changes and expensive upgrades to
To make matters worse, after Biz #2 completes the forced upgrades,
let’s say Biz #1 comes back to the Government and demands that Biz #2
be forced to make even MORE expensive upgrades and redesigns. A
Unfortunately, this isn’t a game. It’s exactly what’s been going on
the last couple of years — with Station Casinos being Biz #1 and
Dotty’s Neighborhood Taverns being Biz #2.
Dotty’s is a great Nevada business success story. In 1995, founder
Craig Estey opened six Dotty’s neighborhood taverns in Nevada. At the
time, all the so-called experts predicted his business model would
fail. Instead, Dotty’s took off, and now has dozens of locations all
across the state.
So in 2011, Stations and other Big Gaming operators started agitating
state and local governments to screw with Dotty’s successful business
model and inhibit the small business’s ability to expand and compete
profitably. Outrageous, real-life crony capitalism.
Oh, and get ready to play the newest spin-off version: Taxi-opoly. In
this game, the Government will team up with the state’s taxicab
industry to crush ride-sharing competitors such as Uber and Lyft.
* * * * *
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public
policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at