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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

40/40 Club closing to make way for Palazzo sports book

28 August 2008

By Howard Stutz

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The much-rumored closing of the 8-month-old 40/40 Club at the Palazzo became official Wednesday.

The hotel-casino announced it was converting the 24,000-square-foot space into a large-scale race and sports book that will include a specialty restaurant.

The Palazzo, which is attached to The Venetian, does not have a sports book, just a small betting window for sports wagers near the 40/40 Club.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is buying back the space leased for the 40/40 Club from the company controlled by music mogul and hip-hop artist Jay-Z. Neither Las Vegas Sands nor Jay-Z would disclose a price.

"By adding a complete gaming component ... we will be able to create a very unique environment for our guests," Palazzo President Rob Goldstein said in a statement.

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese said Wednesday the 40/40 Club is expected to close by the end of September and the transition to a race and sports book should be complete by late October or early November.

The space is located one floor below the Palazzo lobby, but is also accessible at street level off the Strip. The location is near the recently opened Dal Toro Italian restaurant and the property's Lamborghini showroom.

The 40/40 Club is an upscale sports bar and restaurant and an offshoot of the flagship 40/40 Club that opened in 2003 in New York City and quickly became a celebrity hot spot.

The Las Vegas closing had been rumored for months in both New York and Las Vegas gossip columns and by casino industry bloggers.

"The sale is a great business decision; we are delighted. We look forward to expanding the brand even further to Chicago and Tokyo," according to a statement from Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter.

The 40/40 Club served entree-sized appetizers and offered sports fans big-screen, high-definition televisions to view games and sofas set up in a stadium-style seating arrangement.

Following a star-studded New Year's Eve opening, there were questions about the club's success at the $1.9 billion Palazzo, which opened in January.

The New York Post's Page Six Gossip column reported Aug. 14 that Jay-Z was selling half of the club to Las Vegas Sands for $44 million. The deal would give Las Vegas Sands the right to open 40/40 clubs in London and across Europe.

In the same statement, Jay-Z said he and his partners plan to open additional 40/40 clubs in Chicago, Tokyo and Macau in the next 12 months. Las Vegas Sands is the largest casino operator in Macau and is opening a nearly $1 billion Four Seasons Macau today.

The 40/40 Club name refers to an exclusive list of baseball players who have 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season.

Major League Baseball home run king Barry Bonds, one of the players on the list, attended the 40/40 Club's Las Vegas opening.