Thursday, Oct. 20, 2005 | 7 a.m.
An anonymous Denver businessman is auctioning his extensive collection of casino chips on eBay. The opening bid for the 6,800-chip collection is $1 million. Experts have placed a value of between $2 million and $3 million for the lot.
Meanwhile, here in Las Vegas, a local businessman is trying to find a home for his own vast collection of casino chips -- which numbers 15,000 and is the largest collection of its type in the world. He's also attempting to find a home for the 90,000 other casino-related items in a collection that for months has been packed away in a warehouse and at his home.
Steve Cutler, founder of the Casino Legends Hall of Fame, is tracking the online auction, titled the Platinum Collection, with keen interest. That's because his collection is probably worth more -- a lot more -- than what the Platinum Collection will fetch once bidding commences at 3 p.m. Friday.
Yet Cutler still cannot find a home for his stuff -- says he can't get an audience with someone with real resources (money) and the authority to make decisions. He says what he is willing to part with can make a huge profit for any hotel in town.
"It's so frustrating," Cutler said Tuesday afternoon when I visited his home in Spanish Trail. Cutler has been attempting to make a deal since he was cut loose from the Tropicana in April after a six-year run there.
The Casino Legends Hall of Fame display at the Trop was home to just a fraction of Cutler's collection -- just 10,000 of about 105,000 items were shown. Stored away are binders full of letters handwritten by stars dating to the 1930s, casino contracts, original hotel stationery, thousands of swizzle sticks, dice molds, a trumpet once owned by Louis Armstrong -- and all of those chips.
Cutler dreams of building an attraction to rival the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. But at the moment, he's stuck in a game of solitaire.
"It's so frustrating."
In like Flynt: Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt announced this week his plans to open a chain of "casual" themed restaurants to be called Hustler Bar & Grille.
Hustler Bar & Grille President Brad Saltzman said Wednesday the first restaurant will open in Las Vegas in the first quarter of 2006.
"Sexy, not racy" is Saltzman's description. "Hooters ZX" is ours. Saltzman is negotiating with two Las Vegas resorts -- one on the Strip and one off -- to launch the new chain, which is to feature "Larry Flynt's Fish & Chips" on the menu and portraits of the telegenic Flynt on the walls ...
No Spears for Donald: Las Vegas consultant Jack Wishna reports that negotiations between Trump International Hotel & Towers and Britney Spears are off; Spears has reportedly turned down a multimillion-dollar deal to headline at Trump's condo resort on the Strip.
Wishna, who negotiated Wayne Newton's 10-year contract at the Stardust in 1999, said Wednesday he is trying to lure a rotation of three big-name headliners who can fit into the 21-to-35-year-old demographic, without offending the 35-to-55 demo. It's a specific list, but if anyone has that list, it's Wishna ...
Rimshot update: Send me your best Vegas joke -- or I'll jump! Since Sunday morning I've received about two dozen jokes in the first Fabulous Las Vegas joke contest. The only rules are to try to keep it clean, keep it relatively short and it must have a Vegas theme. The winner receives a Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas coffee mug and free publicity; we're announcing the winner on Nov. 17, the first day of The Comedy Festival at Flamingo Las Vegas and Caesars Palace.