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July 25, 2014

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Liz Benston

Story Archive

Gambler wins $250,000 lawsuit against Imperial Palace
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Things weren’t going well for Chad Johnson the day he tried his luck at the Imperial Palace casino, where he worked as a valet. On May 11, 2008, he began complaining to a friend that the Monopoly slot machine’s bonus round kept showing the same outcome: A loss.
Gaming Commission puts hold on license for 'slot arcade'
Friday, May 20, 2011
Over the past few months, the Nevada Gaming Commission has reluctantly approved licenses for “slot arcades” that seem more like subdued, miniature casinos than traditional bars. That streak ended Thursday, when the commission voted 3-2 to refer a license application for a new Jackpot Joanie’s tavern back to the state’s regulatory staff.
Resort Association seeks ban on slot taverns like Dotty's
Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Nevada Resort Association on Thursday petitioned the Nevada Gaming Commission to outlaw the so-called Dotty’s business model — gaming taverns that look more like miniature casinos than traditional bars.
Penn National Gaming gets approval to acquire M Resort
Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Gaming Commission today approved Penn National Gaming's move to acquire the M Resort -- a process that began when Penn bought the resort’s debt, worth some $1 billion -- from lenders for $230.5 million.
Gaming Commission OKs operator for Lake Las Vegas casino
Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Nevada Gaming Commission today approved a new management team to run the shuttered Casino MonteLago, which is scheduled to open May 26 at Lake Las Vegas.
Free-play poker sites attracting players, making money
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Craig Billings is president and CEO of a Las Vegas company that runs Internet poker rooms.
But he’s not in the gambling business.
His players don’t pay to play, and they don’t win or lose money. It’s all for fun.
Nevada hopes to stake early claim in Internet gambling race
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A decade ago, Nevada regulators passed on an opportunity to draft Internet gambling regulations to avoid running afoul of the Justice Department, which has long declared all forms of online gambling illegal.
Lawyer predicts more costly smoking lawsuits against casinos
Thursday, May 12, 2011
At an anti-smoking conference in Las Vegas this week, the lawyer behind one of the largest settlements against a casino for allowing smoking said similarly expensive lawsuits are likely as casino workers across the country seek his advice in pursuing complaints against their employers.
Online gambling crackdown driving players to other websites
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Last month’s federal indictment of the three biggest online poker websites in the United States has resulted in double-digit increases in traffic at smaller poker sites that continue to run afoul of the Justice Department — a sign, online gambling experts say, that federal prohibition won’t stop people from playing online.
Casino revenue tanks after Las Vegas Sands cuts comps
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
After scrapping promotional offers such as free rooms to entice gamblers, the owner of the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas reported a 47 percent decline in casino revenue in the first quarter and a 6 percent drop in room revenue as occupancy slipped to 83.9 percent.
Do slot machine paybacks really matter to players?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
If local slot players could create a public-service message for the casino industry, it might be: “I want my money to last longer.” That’s the view of Sandy Sherlock, a Sun City Summerlin resident who has played slots at least once a week since moving to Las Vegas 14 years ago. For Sherlock and many gamblers like her, winning the elusive jackpot is beside the point. Instead, they seek enough small wins to keep the action going.
MGM closes tower at Gold Strike casino in Jean, lays off 64 workers
Friday, May 6, 2011
MGM Resorts International today said it is closing one of two hotel towers at its Gold Strike casino in Jean and has laid off 64 employees there because of declining business. "Even though we're seeing a return in business in Las Vegas we're not seeing it in Jean," MGM Resorts spokesman Alan Feldman said.
Why far fewer bettors pony up on the horses
Overhead costs, cultural shift conspire to keep next generation away from races
Friday, May 6, 2011
It’s midmorning and John Astarita, sitting in his usual cubicle in the Wynn Las Vegas race and sports book, is several pages deep in the Daily Racing Form, the newsprint bible for horse bettors. Atop that is a stack of computer printouts developed by University of Chicago-trained mathematicians, priced at $30 a pop and tracking the careers of some of the horses racing today. It’s days before the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl of horse racing, yet the Wynn sports book has plenty of vacant seats.
MGM's Jim Murren: 'Recovery has finally arrived'
CEO says growth seen in budget, high-end markets as tourists spend more
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Last year, casino operators cited a rebound in conventions as evidence of a broad recovery. They spoke too soon, as the most significant segment of the hospitality business was still in the dumps. That is, until now, says Nevada's biggest employer and casino operator. After years of pinching pennies, tourists are starting to spend more money on dining, entertainment and hotel rooms, MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said.
Board recommends company be allowed to operate Lake Las Vegas casino
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The Gaming Control Board today recommended approval for casino operator Intrepid Gaming to operate the shuttered Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas.
Oddsmaker on the mark again with royal wedding predictions
Friday, April 29, 2011
You might think one of top bookmakers in Las Vegas has better things to do than lay odds on the color hat Queen Elizabeth II would wear to her grandson Prince William’s wedding Friday morning.
Bally Technologies reports increased earnings in quarter
Friday, April 29, 2011
Slot machine giant Bally Technologies Inc. increased earnings in its third fiscal quarter despite continuing economic challenges and doubts about the company's growth prospects in multiple areas, including player tracking software.
Poker websites’ actions were risky, experts say
Friday, April 29, 2011
Like doing drugs in front of the cops, poker websites were brazen in using U.S. institutions to conduct business the federal government had declared illegal. So say Internet gambling compliance and law enforcement experts who weren’t shocked by the Justice Department indictment this month that caught a global gambling industry — on land and in cyberspace — off guard.
Will Las Vegas sports books adopt more bettor-friendly British wagering style?
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Talk to a local sports bettor long enough and you will get an earful. Nevada casinos are too conservative with their sports bets, they complain. The odds are poor. They won’t take big action. They don’t offer enough lines on games and ignore second-tier sports. Comps on sports bets are small to nonexistent. For their part, casinos often return the sentiment, calling sports gamblers demanding and unprofitable. Want a comp? Try playing some slots, bud.
Las Vegas on track for third place among world's gambling meccas
Already behind Macau, Vegas could trail Singapore in gambling revenue this year
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Ever since Singapore overturned a casino ban and opened the nation to Las Vegas-style casino resorts in 2005, financial analysts have predicted its eventual dominance as one of the world's biggest gaming markets.
Activists wield Disabilities Act in fight for smoke-free casinos
Monday, April 18, 2011
The latest skirmish in the battle to ban smoking in Nevada casinos is emerging around a little-discussed area of law more commonly associated with wheelchair ramps and handicap-accessible restrooms.
Study finds compulsive gambling more prevalent than alcoholism
Some treatment experts skeptical of findings
Thursday, April 14, 2011
For decades, researchers have said that alcoholism is more common in the U.S. adult population than compulsive gambling. But last month the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions published a surprising report concluding just the opposite.
Cosmopolitan, CityCenter opening expenses reveal little about success
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Booking the likes of Coldplay and Jay-Z for your big coming out party isn't cheap. The $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan apparently spared little expense for its star-studded New Year’s Eve grand opening gala.
Wynn club workers want to air tip dispute in court
They see shared gratuities as subsidy for managers, supervisors with relatively low base salaries
Monday, April 11, 2011
Nearly six years ago, people hired for Tryst nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas signed off on a company-run plan to pool tips and redistribute them under a point system to others — including managers. The statement raised eyebrows among employees.
Budget cuts push UNLV hotel college to focus on core mission
Saturday, April 9, 2011
One of the nation’s top hospitality programs hopes to do better than simply survive Gov. Brian Sandoval’s steep budget cuts, while saving face with students and the community at large. This tall order is the task of Don Snyder, the well-regarded former president of casino giant Boyd Gaming Corp. who was appointed dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration last year
New neighborhood sports book wagering, via smartphone
Even a novice out grocery shopping can learn to wager on a mobile phone
Monday, April 4, 2011
It’s always betting season in Las Vegas, with its tangy scent of money lost, won, and lost again. I wasn’t planning to place my first sports bet on my new cellphone until at least lunchtime. But thinking about those wide-eyed $319 Mega Millions lottery winners has changed my mind, and I prepare to make my leap while still in my pajamas.
Hard Rock looking to fill many management jobs, including CEO
Cornell University professor writes scientific guide to getting better tips
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Looking to run a casino? The Hard Rock might be hiring — just not now. Several management jobs are open at the Hard Rock Hotel in the wake of an ownership change after the property defaulted on more than $1 billion in loans.
Is Dotty’s a tavern? Amid battle, big casinos say no
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
To call Dotty’s a bar probably would offend the quiet, mostly female crowd that has gathered this particular evening for video poker and electronic keno. The Dotty’s on Serene Avenue is the newest storefront in a gambling chain with a grandmotherly name that has spread rapidly despite the Great Recession.
‘Undercover’ gig helps MGM Grand boss boost morale of workforce
Thursday, March 24, 2011
After narrowly escaping a nearly fatal financing crisis in 2009, Nevada’s largest private employer is on a slow road to recovery. But as many casino executives know, that path is tricky, especially for a business that relies on the morale of tens of thousands of employees.
Caesars Palace dealers resoundingly reject Wynn-style tips policy
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Dealers at Caesars Palace this month voted down a labor contract that would have shared 15 percent of their tip pool with other Caesars employees.
Internet poker company looks to Nevada for entry into U.S.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The world’s largest online poker site, facing big obstacles in winning congressional approval of Internet poker, has set its sights on a smaller target: getting Nevada lawmakers to approve online poker for state residents.
Choosing a sports book is a matter of who you are, not where
From Hilton to Cosmopolitan, city has range to suit any bettor's taste
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Momentous decisions must be made by the tens of thousands of out-of-towners descending on Las Vegas for the beginning of March Madness — the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Baccarat, penny slots overtake blackjack as games of choice on Strip
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Two extreme ends of the gambling spectrum — baccarat and penny slots — are helping Nevada survive the Great Recession. For the first time last year, baccarat generated more revenue statewide than blackjack, a game that is losing ground.
Strip room prices no drag on Cosmopolitan's rates
Monday, March 14, 2011
In the price war still plaguing hotels on the Strip, the Cosmopolitan seems a bit like the new kid who’s too cool to play with the others.
Vdara market at CityCenter caters to guests’ evolving appetites
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The town that invented megaresorts and supersized nightclubs with beach parties can add another concept to its roster of capitalist surprises: the neighborhood hotel minimart. Market Cafe Vdara is a departure in a tourist zone where quick eats are typically found in fast-food courts, gift shops or gritty-looking minimarts.
Cosmo takes a tough stance: Smoking on the terraces only
Saturday, March 5, 2011
The Cosmopolitan may be the only casino-resort in town to prevent guests from smoking in their hotel rooms — private areas exempted under the state’s partial smoking ban. Yet an unusual feature in the rooms makes them a haven for smokers
Las Vegas Sands cuts bait: Comps
Off the hook: Company shifts focus on booking rooms to paying customers, drawing ire of some guests, insiders
Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
Attracted to the resort’s elegant surroundings, hushed atmosphere and perks such as free hotel rooms and entertainment discounts, California resident Joy Kane was a regular at the Palazzo, gambling thousands of dollars per trip as frequently as once a month.
Can luxurious Mandarin Oriental hotel make it here?
Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
In the months before CityCenter opened, it seemed there couldn’t be enough hand-wringing over the awful timing: the christening of an $8.5 billion resort complex in the middle of the Great Recession. The naysayers wondered how long before CityCenter would cough and gasp for air before maybe it would start making money. The answer is now in. Just about every part of CityCenter is making money on its anniversary — except one.
Gambling via cell phone may be a stretch — for now
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011
Imagine gambling on digital blackjack on your smart phone while stuck in traffic in the Spaghetti Bowl or dropping money into a slot machine while doing 80 across a high-desert highway west of Ely.
Wynn Resorts keeps eye on luxury market through restructuring
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
When Wynn Resorts hired Marilyn Winn in November to replace Andrew Pascal as president of the company's Wynn Las Vegas and Encore resorts, some industry experts wondered whether her arrival marked a cultural shift for a company that caters to well-to-do travelers with two of the Strip’s poshest resorts.
Crossing the line cost Hard Rock Hotel
Illegal drug sales at resort’s hot spot draw $650,000 fine — a high-profile example of state regulators getting tough with the modern image of Vegas, as they did decades ago with the mob
Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011
Undercover detectives had little problem scoring pot, cocaine and Ecstasy from employees at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Vanity nightclub last year. A Hard Rock host even arranged the purchase of cocaine.
CityCenter cutting labor by not filling vacant jobs
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011
MGM Resorts International is aiming to boost the flagging fortunes of its $8.5 billion CityCenter development on the Strip, in part by reducing its biggest expense: labor.
Agreement prompts cancellation of Hard Rock Hotel foreclosure auction
Monday, Feb. 7, 2011
A group of lenders seeking to foreclose on their collateral in the financially troubled Hard Rock Hotel have reached an agreement with the hotel-casino, canceling a public foreclosure auction that had been scheduled for Tuesday.
‘I couldn’t believe that someone with my experience couldn’t even get a job as a busboy.’
Monday, Feb. 7, 2011
Bud Meyers, who spent most of his adult life working behind a bar, has become the unwitting face of the older jobless in America.
Casinos on guard against tech-savvy baccarat ring
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011
On the eve of the Chinese New Year holiday and one of the biggest gambling events of the year for the Strip, casinos are rolling out the red carpet for baccarat players — and looking out for a group of cheaters suspected of scamming Las Vegas out of more than $1 million last month.
Lenders file foreclosure notice against Hard Rock Hotel
Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
A group of lenders has filed a notice of foreclosure against the financially struggling Hard Rock Hotel, which would give the lenders the right to take control of the hotel-casino in a public auction scheduled for Feb. 7.
Booze sales, nightclub scene defy recession to boost casinos
Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
What recession? Those opulent nightclubs are paying off for the Strip with their pricey bottles of booze. The latest figures for 2010 show Strip partyers are running up huge bar tabs, offering a shot of hope to the otherwise gloomy numbers.
Casinos burned by gamblers who skip out on markers
Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011
After high roller Andrew Pham racked up more than $1 million in gambling debts more than four years ago in Las Vegas, the seven casinos stiffed by him turned to the Clark County district attorney’s office for help. By the time the dust settled eight months ago, Pham had pleaded guilty, was ordered to pay the debt and was placed on informal probation with an order to “stay out of trouble.”
Primm Valley casinos betting on Hispanics
Although its competition focuses on Asians, casino group pursues own niche by engaging Spanish speakers of Southern California
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
Last year, the head of marketing for Primm Valley resorts pitched his boss on an $85,000 entertainment act to fill the 6,500-seat arena at Buffalo Bill’s, one of three budget hotels the company operates in Primm.
After Bellagio heist, how slack security can cost Las Vegas casinos
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011
In the 2001 movie “Ocean’s Eleven,” a gang of criminal masterminds uses con games, physical might and explosives in an elaborate plan to steal millions from the Bellagio vault.

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