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Inside Gaming: Pro Sports, Casino a Good Mix in Connecticut

29 August 2005

The future of professional sports in Las Vegas may be brighter than we thought. East Coast media report the 9,431-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, home of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, fits perfectly with the megacasino next door. If fans run into a bad game, they have alternatives to watching a debacle. With the front door of the arena just 60 paces from the nearest slot machine, most of the fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena spend at least half their time gambling. Professional sports may not like it, but it's all entertainment for the business operators.

It seems an announcement out of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office giving a green light for the proposed tribal casino in Barstow has hit a snag. State legislators are not now willing to go along with compacts for new casinos. Also, an initiative petition for a Chemehuevi Indian casino missed the filing deadline by a day, despite having enough signatures. The result: It isn't likely to be on any ballot for nine more months. Insiders say to put your bets anyhow on a casino proposed by two out-of-town tribes, the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon.

Newsweek magazine recently turned its real estate spotlight on Mark Advent, the national developer who brought us New York-New York. It says he's bringing the ambience of gritty East Village streets to the northwest corner of Paradise Road and Tropicana Avenue, sans the meatpacking nightlife, cops on horseback and surly hot-dog vendors Las Vegans might (unfairly?) associate with the East Village. What you will find is 44 acres of lower-Manhattan-like retail outlets where it's possible to haggle just like a New Yorker.

Good news for McCarran International Airport. National media reports suggest those long lines may be getting shorter -- and at the expense of competing destinations. The orderly reallocation of security screener positions by the Transportation Security Administration will add 94 screeners, the most of any U.S. airport, at McCarran, Other big winners include Houston and Los Angeles. The big losers are Kennedy (New York); Orlando, Fla.; Detroit; and Lambert (St. Louis). All bets are off if Congress cuts screeners by a planned 4,000.

Arte Nathan's known around town as human resources chief for Wynn Resorts. But he's known among Wynn Las Vegas workers as Angela, a 65-year-old grandmother applying for a job with the new resort. Say what? Local developer Steve Wynn hired the costuming team that dressed Robin Williams up as Mrs. Doubtfire to do a training film for his workers, and cast Nathan in the role. Now, the plan is for Nathan to reprise the role as the newscaster in a monthly company electronic newsletter.

Gaming Wire Editor Rod Smith can be reached by e-mail at rsmith@reviewjournal.com or by telephone at 477-3893.

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