GamingToday is the nation’s only newspaper dedicated to covering the commercial casino industry, as well as pari-mutuel race wagering and Nevada’s sports betting industry. Originally established in 1976 as Sports Form, GamingToday is a full-color, tabloid-size weekly that is distributed in casinos, card rooms, race tracks and other outlets in Nevada, New Jersey, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New York, Texas, Washington and West Virginia. The newspaper is also available to subscribers via first class mail.
GamingToday delivers information that any visitor to a casino could want: from casino games, poker, slot machines and tournaments to entertainment to race and sports betting, as well as all the related news that practitioners need to stay on the cutting edge.
Moreover, GamingToday has become a key publication that casino executives, manufacturers and other insiders read on a weekly basis. Current trends, new developments, people on the move and the latest innovations within the industry are chronicled in every issue.
The GamingToday website contains all the news and features of the newspaper, plus expanded coverage in key areas: race and sports analysis and handicapping, timely casino news/slot club information, ongoing poker promotions and tournaments, as well as a comprehensive gaming guide and strategy manual for virtually all casino games and an archive of past issues of GamingToday.
Sports Form, the predecessor to GamingToday, was founded by 41-year-old Charles F. "Chuck" Di Rocco, a Philadelphia native with a background spanning newspaper journalism, as well as public relations in the thoroughbred and harness racing circles of Ohio, Kentucky, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Starting a new publication from scratch wasn’t easy. He and his close-knit staff put together the newspaper in a small, second-floor office where columnists rubbed elbows with typesetters, ad salesmen, circulation managers and accountants. In its earliest years, Sports Form focused its coverage on horse racing, sports gaming and entertainment. At the time, it featured a number of nationally known columnists and expert handicappers. In 1976, sports betting was a fledgling industry with only 12 sports books in Las Vegas – most of which were storefront offices outside of casinos. But that would change quickly as race and sports betting suddenly took off, with Di Rocco’s Sports Form playing a significant role.
Over the years, Di Rocco expanded the coverage of his newspaper. It wasn’t long before his columnists were writing about poker tournaments, blackjack strategy, the new electronic slot machines and the ever-evolving gaming industry.
Financial information – gaming revenues, win and hold percentages, slot payback percentages – soon found their way into the publication, long before the "dailies" recognized the "news value" of gaming information.
In addition to establishing a weekly gaming newspaper for race and sports bettors, Di Rocco was instrumental in bringing horse racing into the sports books of Nevada. In 1980, with the help of friends at Arlington Park in Chicago, Di Rocco conducted the first simulcast of a complete racing program. He then lobbied the state’s gaming regulators to develop a program that would permit Nevada books to show the live racing in their establishments and to accept wagers accordingly.
In July 1989, Sports Form moved into its own custom-built offices on Industrial Road. Shortly afterward, Di Rocco sold his simulcasting company in order to devote more time to the newspaper. In 1993, the name of the newspaper was officially changed to GamingToday. "We need to adjust to the changing times," DiRocco said at the time. "… a time when gaming interests are exploding throughout the country. And, as gaming interest expands, so does the distribution of our newspaper."
Over the years, GamingToday has been blessed with some of the gaming industry’s foremost writers and columnists. Two of the paper’s most popular — and most prolific — columnists were Huey Mahl and Lenny Frome.
Known as GamingToday’s "resident genius," Huey could write about topics as diverse as football parlay cards, keno way tickets, pari-mutuel horse bets and playing red or black at the roulette table.
Lenny Frome is considered the Godfather of video poker. With a background in mathematics, Lenny was able to analyze virtually any poker game — and he did! — and come up with sound strategy and systems.
Huey died in 1997 and Lenny followed a year later. Fortunately, they left behind hundreds of timeless articles, which have become a living legacy to their life’s work.
Lenny’s son, Elliot, has accepted the torch from his father’s legacy and, as a contributing columnist to GamingToday, provides "Winning Strategies" for a variety of table and poker games.
Beginning on the back page of the inaugural edition of Sports Form, a winsome bikini-clad femme fatale was prominently displayed, epitomizing the glamour and adult excitement that is part of Las Vegas. One of the endearing qualities of the portrait is that the subject was typically a young woman from a local casino, perhaps even a cocktail waitress, hostess or blackjack dealer. Today, she is safely ensconced on Page 3 in all her glory.
Over the years, GamingToday has been honored with writing awards, including Best Columnist and Best Sports Column from the Nevada Press Association. In 2002, two years before his passing, Chuck Di Rocco was honored by the American Gaming Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award for producing "The Bible" of the gaming industry, according to AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf. "Chuck was always ahead of the curve," Fahrenkopf said. "He’s deserving of the award for contributions to gaming through comprehensive media coverage as well as other achievements."
Even though Chuck Di Rocco passed away in 2004, his legacy continues as his wife and partner, Eileen Di Rocco, assumed the publisher’s role. Having worked side-by-side with Chuck since the paper’s inception, Eileen has toiled tirelessly to fulfill Chuck’s vision of a viable and respected gaming resource.
Toward that end, Eileen Di Rocco built new offices for GamingToday in 2007. Located in the burgeoning southwest area of Las Vegas, the two-story facility features editorial offices, modern print shop and warehouse. Shortly thereafter, GamingToday christened a new and expanded website, which contains all the news and features of the print edition, and much more, including timely news updates, the latest race and sports analysis and handicapping information.
Richard Saber offers betting tips for today’s horse racing card from Churchill Downs Kentucky Oaks.
Horse racing betting tips and picks for Churchill Downs Kentucky Oaks on May 6th, compliments of Track Phantom.
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