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Best of Liz Benston

Gaming Guru

Liz Benston

Looking in on: Gaming

26 September 2006

Online gambling sites shrug off arrests

Even with the recent arrests of online sports book operators by state and federal officials, some online gambling companies are still using dot-com sites, which are considered illegal under federal and Nevada law.

Among the boldest is, which put up a billboard on the Strip attached to a case of 100,000 $1 bills, hired an armed guard and posted odds on whether the money would be stolen. The tease generated nationwide publicity after thieves made off with some of the cash. Most was recovered.

"We're deliberately not being inflammatory or otherwise in the face of any agency. We are pushing a free contest, nothing else," Marketing Director Alex Czajkowski said of the billboard. "We're not targeting Nevada residents per se; rather, we're talking to the millions of tourists from around the world who pass through America's greatest entertainment city."

Flattery may get you somewhere in Las Vegas but it probably won't work in Louisiana, where Chairman Peter Dicks could stand trial for operating an illegal betting operation following his arrest in New York this month.

Not far behind is, the well-advertised online casino, poker room and sports book with a flashy new billboard near McCarran International Airport offering the friendly reminder that the online casino simply whets gamblers' appetites for Las Vegas.

Enter, the popular poker site that will be co-sponsoring the upcoming featherweight rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales at the Thomas & Mack Center with Wynn Las Vegas.

Wynn spokeswoman Denise Randazzo said the company's agreement is a two-party deal with boxing promoter Top Rank and not with

"If they choose to contract with any other entities we really can't control that," Randazzo said. Had the match been held at the casino and not off-site, the property would have struck a different arrangement with Top Rank to avoid the association with the gambling site, she said.

• • •

Dominant locals operator Station Casinos has some big-money successes with Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Resort. But talk about mixing up your game plan.

At last week's Nevada Gaming Commission meeting, the company won approval to install slots at a Laundromat.

The licensing hearing was important enough for several executives to attend.

The commission quickly approved seven slot machines at Lake Mead Laundromat in Henderson as well as a nonrestricted license for more than 15 slots at Lake Mead Lounge next door.

Station executives said the company doesn't have any immediate plans and wouldn't change operations at either venue. However, the company is eyeing the progress of two major housing developments planned nearby on East Lake Mead Parkway. If those neighborhoods develop, Station would have a foothold already zoned for a casino.

At the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Glenn Christenson said the company expects to begin developing Aliante Station in North Las Vegas - scheduled to start construction by next year and open in 2008 - before any of its other planned locals casinos in Las Vegas. Aliante would be built in partnership with the Greenspun Corporation, the company that owns the Sun.

Station hasn't set a timeline for other projects, including sites for two casinos in Reno, the former Castaways site and the proposed Durango Station in the southwest valley, he said.

Looking in on: Gaming is republished from