Don Carano, one of the most influential figures in Reno’s history who revolutionized the local gaming and resort industry; was a partner at one of the state’s most powerful law firms; and built one of California’s top-selling wineries, died Tuesday night at age 85. A native of Reno, Carano was a star running back at Reno High School before he earned a degree from the University of San Francisco. After two years as a U.S. Army officer, Carano graduated with honors from USF’s School of Law and was a member of the influential firm McDonald Carano Wilson.
Carano left active practice to build the Eldorado Hotel and Casino in 1973, his knowledge of the business sharpened after managing the affairs of several Nevada gaming companies and partnering in a couple of Reno gaming properties. Eldorado Resorts now owns 19 properties in 10 states. In addition to his resorts, Carano was influential in the construction of the National Bowling Stadium in 1995 and Reno Events Center in 2005, which further improved downtown.