Brothers John Farahi, Bob Farahi, and Ben Farahi own 48 percent of Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. All three are co-chairs of the company, with John serving as chief executive officer and chief operating officer, Bob as president, and Ben as chief financial officer.
Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. owns and operates the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nevada, through its lone subsidiary, Golden Road Motor Inn, Inc. The Atlantis is a tropically themed hotel and casino adorned with such tropical décor as giant artificial palm trees, thatched roof huts, and waterfalls. The property includes three high-rise hotel towers, containing 831 rooms and suites, as well as a low-rise motor lodge with 149 rooms that appeal to value conscious guests. The 51,000-square-foot casino offers nearly 1,500 slot and video poker machines, 37 table games, and a sports book operation run by an outside party. The Atlantis also provides several restaurants, a health spa, indoor and outdoor pools, a full-service salon for men and women, retail establishments, a family entertainment center, and banquet, convention, and meeting room space. Monarch owns 16 acres of adjacent land that is available for further development, but in the meantime is used for parking, which is connected to the Atlantis by the “Sky Terrace,” supported by two 100-foot-tall Grecian columns. The Sky Terrace also maintains a tropical look and contains banks of slot and video poker machines, a comfortable lounge, oyster bar, and sushi bar. While clearly appealing to leisure travelers, the Atlantis also caters to area gaming customers by offering more slot and video poker machines with higher than average payout rates and liberalized rules at blackjack. Much of the success of the Atlantis is due to its location, several miles from Reno’s downtown casinos and the only hotel within walking distance of the Reno Convention Center, which supplies a steady stream of fresh customers.
Monarch traces its history to 1972, when the father of the company’s co-chairmen, David Farahi and his brother-in-law, Isaac Poura, bought a rundown 142-room motel called the Golden Door Motel located on four acres of leased property on the southern edge of Reno. It was well removed from the bulk of the tourist trade that frequented the downtown casinos. The facility’s only tangible asset was its close proximity to the city’s convention center, which provided enough business, along with overflow guests from downtown hotels during peak times, to barely keep the enterprise afloat. The Golden Door was a two-story low-rise structure with an adjoining building that housed the lobby, a coffee shop, banquet room, and lounge. Because it was part of the Golden Door chain, the name was changed to the Golden Road Motel. John Farahi, a political science graduate from California State University, Hayward, soon went to work for the motel and during summer vacations from college he was helped by his brothers. Bob would earn a biochemistry degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and Ben received a mechanical engineering degree from the University of California at Berkeley as well as an M.B.A. degree in accounting from California State University, Hayward. Over the next several years all three sons would eventually come to work for the business on a full-time basis. Poura would not be with the company, however. The two brothers-in-law proved incompatible business partners and in mid-1973 David Farahi bought out Poura. In 1976, with his sons having taken on so much of the responsibility for running the business, he transferred ownership to them and their sister Jila.