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As I See It, by Jimmy Vaccaro

25 February 2003

The good Senator from our neighboring state of Arizona (John McCain) sent a letter to the Nevada Boxing Commission wishing to have some inquiries made. This wasn't made with the same intention as given to Tom Hagen from Vito when they dusted Sonny on the causeway, but is an intention nonetheless.

In Nevada (like many places), a few have a lot of control over the many and, although some conflicts are contrived and some are accidental, we get our share. In this case, Senator McCain wanted the Commission to look into the father-son relationship of Tony Alamo and his son. Tony Alamo Sr. is Senior Vice President (and way up in the pecking order) at Mandalay Bay and his voice reaches company-wide. Junior is a doctor but also serves on the Boxing Commission. Since Mandalay Bay is now a major player in the boxing scene here in Las Vegas, one vote can go a long way in determining a lot of things from penalties to rewards when it comes to the fight game.

I have to remind you that the good Senator has been down this road before and all he got for his trouble was "seven out line away" when shooting craps at Caesars and some other joints. He probably still feels a little ill with regards to his betting ban push and how it has taken him a lot longer than anticipated (this is simply conjecture on my part).

He listed some things that he would like looked at, including some comps that were given to the Commissioner of the Board (which were either used personally or given to someone else); that part is a little vague, but if there is any truth to the matter I suppose there might be some reason for concern. Favors given to one entity could show up in a favor from another, especially with Tony Alamo's son residing on the Board that has all the calls. If only Mike Tyson could remember that.

The culture of Vegas has always been, and always will be, giving things to get things in return. You all know the routine: play 21 and they will give you whiskey. Play long enough and they will give you food and, if you're tired, they will give you one of the one hundred thousand rooms that are in town to get a good night's sleep so that you can start the same process all over again the next day. It is business and sometimes the rules are bent, but are seldom broken.

You see, gambling environments are easy targets and have to take a lot of time and energy to keep defending themselves whereas a lot of other businesses just give a one-paragraph response. Now don't get me wrong as there is no high-ranking executive in town who would want anyone looking through their closet. That is the truth and is a part of the mystique that makes this circus keep reinventing itself.

There is some concern for conflict everywhere but, as I stated, it gets pushed under the rug and I will give you a few examples:

Help me with this chain of command: is it DISNEY who owns ABC and ESPN who, in some way, owns CBS sportsline who has a gambling website that promotes gambling and supplies odds that are viewed by millions? Have the "SWAMI" on ESPN explain that to MICKEY MOUSE. When confronted, they simply sidestep the issue by saying that they would be looking into the situation. I could be wrong, but I believe all links still go there. So it's just another one-paragraph explanation with no "inquiries" being made.

Talking about doing his best: FRED ASTAIRE, did you catch NBA COMMISSIONER STERN looking right at you and telling you that the WNBA team being bought by a casino, and playing their home games at the casino, is being blown way out of proportion?

If he truly believes that gambling implications are blown way out of whack, I would give him all the "props." All he has to do then would let the MALOOFS bring the KINGS to LAS VEGAS for all their home games. His tune and his stance would change as quickly as MICHAEL JACKSON'S appearance.

So, all I am saying to the Senator is that if you take time and effort for conflict you believe is there at the least, you must look at the ones that have been sticking out for years. VEGAS, ESPN, NBA or any big company is not going to get the Good Samaritan award for talking about how they conduct business.

I do have a solution, however. Get the head of DISNEY, THE NBA, and any other outfit that has been accused of conflict, to come to the MANDALAY BAY to meet with Senator McCain and work this out.

Logistics are too hard, you say? Just offer COMP RFB to any one of the bunch and they will be climbing over you trying to register at the front desk.

Take care,

Jimmy V

This article is courtesy of Don Best Sports, the industry leader in live lines service. Please visit our website at to get the latest odds, scores, lines, and sports information.

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