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April 24, 2014

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Stardust, Newton sign biggest entertainment deal in LV history

Often a forgotten entity under the crush of billion-dollar megaresorts, the Stardust hotel-casino has made a move to get noticed.

It has become partners with Wayne Newton.

In an agreement that was scheduled to be announced today by Newton and Boyd Gaming Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Boyd at a news conference at the Stardust, Newton and Boyd Gaming have agreed on the most lucrative contract in Las Vegas history.

A source familiar with the contract said Monday that the deal was for 10 years at $25 million per year (surpassing Danny Gans' eight-year, $80 million deal at Mirage), and Newton would perform exclusively at the Stardust 40 weeks per year.

The source said Newton would start Jan. 24 in the 920-seat Stardust Theater, to be renamed the Wayne Newton Theater. The show currently occupying the theater, "Enter the Night," will end its run by the end of the year to make room for the 57-year-old Newton.

The entire hotel, including the Stardust Theater, is due to be renovated in order to compete with larger properties.

Because of the exclusive contract, Newton will no longer perform at the 650-seat Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand (where he has been a regular since 1996). His lease at the Wayne Newton Theatre in Branson, Mo., expires at the end of the year.

Reached through his publicist Monday afternoon, Newton said only, "Because I'm limited to what I can say, my excitement can only be surpassed by what you will hear (today)."

Jim Seagrave, vice-president of marketing and advertising for the Stardust, was equally noncommittal.

"I haven't seen (a contract) yet," he said. "But it is long-term, and it is for a lot of dates at the Stardust. It is an exclusive deal for the Stardust."

Newton and the Stardust made news earlier this month, announcing that Newton would perform on New Year's Eve and do two shows on Jan. 1 at the Stardust Theater. The MGM opted to showcase Barbra Streisand on New Year's Eve, freeing Newton to perform at the Stardust.

Newton has been a Las Vegas fixture since beginning his lounge career at age 16 more than four decades ago. Marquees at the Desert Inn, Sands, Frontier, Aladdin, Las Vegas Hilton, Caesars Palace and MGM Grand have featured his name.

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