It’s unusual for a building to straddle a political border, but the California/Nevada state line runs directly through the main lounge of the Cal Neva Resort. The border is marked by a painted line (gold for California and silver for Nevada) that bisects the fireplace and runs across the room. Thousands of tourists have stopped here to have photos taken below the two state flags.
Non US residents may not appreciate the significance of US state borders. States have significant differences in laws, regulations and taxes. For example, gambling is legal in Nevada but not in California. Nevada also has much less stringent regulations governing marriage and divorce. Furthermore, since the federal government has jurisdiction over interstate commerce, laws such as the “Mann Act” also apply. The Mann Act makes it illegal to transport a minor across a state line for immoral purposes – it’s conceivable that the mere act of an adult walking across the room with a minor could be a serious crime.
The Cal Neva Resort uses this border to its advantage. As one of the premier wedding sites in the region, Cal Neva offers the newlyweds the choice of a California or Nevada wedding, just by moving the ceremony a few feet one way or the other – an important consideration since clergy or other wedding officials usually have licenses restricted to their home state.
But straddling the border has disadvantages. It seriously complicates the resort’s operations by doubling the number of regulatory agencies with jurisdiction. Just imagine the challenges involved in bookkeeping and accounting related to paying taxes in two different states and two different counties. Where did that transaction take place? Was it in Nevada or California? How is the property tax calculated? How is a structure’s assessed valuation proportioned between the two counties?
Cal Neva is planning a $45 million renovation. Before they can begin, they must get the approval of agencies in both states – some with conflicting or inconsistent requirements and regulations. A partial list includes: Placer County (CA), Washoe County (NV), State of California, State of Nevada, Nevada State Gaming Commission, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
As the oldest continuously operating casino in Nevada, Cal Neva has a colorful history. It was once owned by Frank Sinatra and there are many stories involving Frank and the Mafia that revolve around this location. The resort is also rumored to be the location of trysts between Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy. Please see the associated links below for the lurid details. Also, the "Show in Google Earth" link below offers a pretty cool view of this location.
Special thanks to Cal Neva's Steve Tremewan for his cooperation and assistance in making this photograph possible.