Most new casinos opening around the country begin with a search for a theme. In the case of the C.O.D. Casino in Minden, the building came with a theme and more than a century of history. In 1911 the C.O.D. Garage opened for business on U.S. Highway 395 in Minden's historic downtown district. The garage derived its name from the initials and nickname of the owner, a son of Carson Valley's founding family, Clarence Oliver Dangberg. One of the original mechanics, "Brick" Hellwinkel, worked his way up the ranks from mechanic to partner to sole owner by 1938. Two succeeding generations of Hellwinkels operated the place until the business was sold in 2003. That left Robb Hellwinkel and his mother, Marlena, with an iconic building in need of a future. Enter Fallon-based gaming executive Scott Tate of Nugget Casinos and the historic structure was converted to a casino that opened in 2015.
The property has been immaculately restored to retain the original brickwork, windows, wooden timbers and former outdoor signage that had been enclosed by years of past expansions. The outdoor canopy on the Esmerelda Street entrance has been rebuilt, along with vintage gas pumps like the ones that used to be located there. A large part of the casino area designated as a smoke-free room features a museum-like display of the garage's history, including the iconic tow truck that is generally considered the first one in the area. There is a continual slide show with fascinating old images of the garage and Minden history along with other memorabilia.
The surprisingly large casino that is beautifully decorated with automobile signage and memorabilia features 236 video gaming machines and the only live Keno games in Minden/Gardnerville. There is a large free beverage bar featuring a good selection of soda, coffees, teas and some snacks. There is also a full bar with gaming machines and plenty of HD televisions to enjoy live sports action. The property does not offer food service at the present time.