Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 | 12:51 p.m.
While the buzz at Station Casinos’ Aliante Station grand opening party Tuesday was shaded with concern about the company’s ability to generate decent money at this suburban casino amid this downturn, everyone is hoping for the best.
Even as they compete fiercely for business, Las Vegas casino companies want their competitors to do well. Successful and unsuccessful casinos can have a wide ripple effect.
So it seemed especially appropriate that the gaming industry elite turned out in force to congratulate – and perhaps commiserate with – the Fertittas, which includes Station Casinos Chief Executive Frank Fertitta III, Station Vice Chairman and UFC chief Lorenzo Fertitta and the family patriarch, Frank Fertitta Jr.
Attending casino openings are a grand tradition for elites and Joe Sixpacks alike. For Station, which opened its 10th major casino Tuesday, it’s a chance to mingle with their counterparts on the Strip, which aren’t so much competitors as colleagues.
The Fertitta legacy in Las Vegas has earned them the friendship and respect of many on the Strip, including top executives at Wynn Resorts and MGM Mirage.
Turf battles with Station’s chief competitor Boyd Gaming means the Fertitta and Boyd clans don’t break bread much. Rob Stillwell, Boyd’s public relations director, and Ellis Landau, the company’s former chief financial officer, were on hand for the festivities.
Las Vegas Sands’ top executives didn’t show, though that company has a reputation for keeping to themselves.
The gaming folks included MGM Mirage President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Murren, former MGM Mirage executive John Redmond, Palms owner George Maloof, casino owner Randy Black, Golden Gaming and former Station executive Blake Sartini, former Harrah’s Entertainment executive Tony Santo, casino developer Anthony Marnell, Larry Ruvo of Southern Wine and Spirits, former Station executive Glenn Christenson, Wynn executives Andrew Pascal, Tim Poster, Tom Breitling and John Pucci and former International Game Technology executive Bob McMonigle.
This for a casino that’s only 15 miles from the Strip but seems, to this crowd that isn’t from North Las Vegas, like it’s located at the edge of the world – or at least the edge of civilization.