The Vegas Guy


WRITING - The Vegas Guy

LAS VEGAS -- When Sheldon Adelson demolished the beloved Sands Hotel in 1996, he instantly became the New Meanie in Town.

Not only did he wipe out all traces of the ultimate symbol of Old Vegas, home of the Rat Pack itself, with its "swim-up craps table" and hallowed showroom, but he made things worse by announcing he was going non-union, setting off a nasty fight with the culinary workers that dragged on for years.

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Aqueduct Race Track

WRITING - The Vegas Guy

OZONE PARK, QUEENS, N.Y., December 18 (UPI) -- It's a full hour before post time, and I'm alone by the Aqueduct paddock on a chilly grey New York morning. A blanket of fog hangs over the infield lagoons, the grandstand is slick from a drizzly rain, and the grey trees on the backstretch are leafless and spectral. Every once in a while there's an explosive boom from the direction of JFK Airport, as a superliner leaves for Europe.

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Casino Aztar

WRITING - The Vegas Guy

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Going to Casino Aztar is like attending a giant barbecue where everyone knows one another and you're the guy with hot sauce dribbling onto your orange Hawaiian shirt. This is not necessarily a bad thing. They still love ya here.

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Harrah's Metropolis

WRITING - The Vegas Guy

METROPOLIS, Ill. -- Last month Harrah's Entertainment, the McDonald's of casino gambling, came to this remote outpost in the heartland and hired Robin Leach to host the grand opening ceremonies for the new riverboat operation they bought from Merv Griffin 18 months ago.

Lifestyles of the rich and famous? Well, uh, not exactly.

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Caeser's Indiana

WRITING - The Vegas Guy

ELIZABETH, Ind. -- "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell is wafting over the mood music system, and suddenly Barry Morris breaks into his own version of the classic, right in the middle of the casino lobby. Okay, so it's not that strange to see people breaking into spontaneous celebrations at Caesars Indiana, but this puckish bespectacled wildman happens to be the casino's General Manager.

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WRITING - The Vegas Guy

FLORENCE, Ind. -- Belterra means "beautiful land" in Portuguese, and if you decide to make your way to the Belterra Casino Resort, you're likely to be searching for a few choice Portuguese cuss words as you navigate the little country roads of northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana, looking in vain for signs that would give you a clue as to its whereabouts.

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WRITING - The Vegas Guy

LAUGHLIN, Nev. -- I'm sitting in a bar, but I'm not quite sure which hotel the bar is in. I'm looking out at a river, but then all the hotels are on the river, and for that matter half the casinos in America are on rivers. I'm listening to a lounge act with too much reverb, gulping watered-down martinis, feeling overwhelming deja vu, and now I'm going into a slow simmer caused by that most dreaded of casino sounds:

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MGM Grand

WRITING - The Vegas Guy

Big Stevie Wynn, founder of the Mirage, is known as the guy who invented the mega-showroom in 1990 when he paid for a $55 million special-effects theater for Siegfried and Roy.

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The Vegas Guy

WRITING - The Vegas Guy

I'm Joe Bob Briggs. I'm The Vegas Guy.

I don't live in Vegas. I don't shill for Vegas. I don't get comped at Bellagio for writing this column.

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