Golden opportunities blooming for Stratosphere, Malinowski

Golden opportunities blooming for Stratosphere, Malinowski

September 19, 2018 3:01 AM
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The part of his job that can be the most agonizing is actually what Ed Malinowski enjoys best.

Malinowski is the corporate director of race and sports for Golden Entertainment, Inc., which includes the Stratosphere, two Arizona Charlie’s properties and a resort in Laughlin.

The risk-management responsibilities of running a book come with inevitable anxiety.

“That’s the part I love,” Malinowski said. “I love watching the money come in. I’m trying to get ahead of the line moves, figuring out what they’re going to bet. I love the trading aspect. It gives me action. I don’t bet anymore really. I don’t need to. I have action every night. We have major decisions on multiple games every night.”

Those potential stress levels are likely to go up in a few months. Not only is the Stratosphere undergoing a major makeover, including a sportsbook renovation, but the long-overdue addition of a mobile app and in-game wagering are also expected by early 2019.

The sports handle could increase significantly as a result.

Malinowski, one of the contestants in GamingToday’s Bookies Battle, expects his new race and sportsbook to compare with recent changes that have received positive reviews at the Wynn.

It’s all part of the plan by Golden Entertainment and its chairman/president/CEO Blake Sartini, to try to make the Stratosphere connect the Strip to downtown.

“We’re so stuck in the middle,” said Malinowski, who is currently working out of a temporary sportsbook on the Strat’s upper level, above the main casino floor. “We want to become the one that blends everything together. You’ll see a ton of changes in the next couple years. The master plan is amazing. It’s going to transform this whole property, this whole little neighborhood, I think.”

Put it all together and Malinowski is expecting a “big 2019.”

“We’ve been in a holding pattern for a long time,” he said, referring to the sale of the casino followed by the renovations. “Now the doors are finally opening.”

While Malinowski, 45, insists he thrives on the greatest pressures of his job, it’s still important to have an escape.

For him, that’s coaching baseball.

Malinowski was a pitcher at Kean College in New Jersey before becoming the baseball coach for Middletown (N.J.) North, the high school he had attended a few years earlier. He said he decided to give it up to move to Las Vegas two decades ago.

“It was hard to leave because that’s the one true thing I loved,” he said of the coaching job. “But I make up for it now.”

He’s coaching both of his sons’ baseball teams. Jake, 11, is a third baseman. Josh, 9, is a pitcher.

“I get to throw batting practice, which I love,” said the old, soft-tossing right-hander. “The second I get on the field, I forget about everything else.”