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Gaming Guru

Rod Smith
 

Inside Gaming Column: Investors See Golden Opportunity Downtown

24 November 2003

Why would multimillionaires Tim Poster and Tom Breitling want to buy the Golden Nugget anyhow? Their strategy is to become the un-MGM Mirage, Forbes magazine reports in its current issue. The Golden Nugget's former owner fixed prices to line up with its other properties' room prices. The new owners will be free to play the market. The former holding company also limited the casino's entertainment options. No competition was allowed for Danny Gans, the headliner at The Mirage, another MGM Mirage property. Poster and Breitling will be free to run their new casino and do it their way. Time will tell if it'll make a difference.

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Bloomberg News reports the Ferrari/Maserati dealership slated for the lobby of Wynn Las Vegas is designed to draw gawking tourists, not high rollers. The report said visitors will be able to look at, but not touch, a half dozen Ferraris and Maseratis on display, free of charge. Tourists will be able to buy Ferrari-branded merchandise at a store or eat at the Ferrari cafe. The dealership is a 50-50 joint venture with United Auto Group. Roger Penske, who also has shops in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the United Kingdom, will be head the retail chain.

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Las Vegas is exporting fine dining. Our town has not been known historically for haute cuisine but for fast service: in, out and back to the casino. But now, Jean-Georges Vongerichten is set to open a Manhattan version of Prime, his popular steakhouse here in Las Vegas. It will be at the new Time Warner towers at Columbus Circle, heralded as the coming world capital of fine dining.

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Casinos can be good for your health. In Connecticut and Wisconsin, casinos are dispensing flu shots. Don't get us wrong. This is no binge of generosity. Players still have to pay for the shots. But they can use their players cards or Medicare, and they can get them right there in the casino pit so they won't have to miss a minute at the tables or the slots, assuming the shots work.

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In a city known for faux, Caesars Palace wins the prize with the perfect Christmas tree. It'll take a crew of 12 four days to install the plastic, 60-foot Rocky Mountain Pine. From Dec. 1 to Jan. 5, the 5-ton tree's 1,000 branches will twinkle with 216,510 multicolored lights, more than twice as many lights as the real Christmas tree in New York's Rockefeller Center. Baltimore-based Becker Group, one of the world's leading holiday cheer providers, is creating the holiday cheer at the resort.

The Inside Gaming column is compiled by Gaming Wire Editor Rod Smith. You can contact him by phone at (702) 477-3893, fax (702) 387-5243 or e-mail at rsmith@reviewjournal.com.