In the vernacular of hotel casino March Madness, April version, old school Golden Gate is riding its star roulette recruit into the championship game of downtown success.
The debut of Riverboat Roulette officially occurred at 11 a.m. on April 1, but this new version of the grand old game was not some type of Fools joke. People were there to play and win, not fool around.
And the Golden Gate brass showed up en masse to introduce everyone to their new No. 1 recruit with no intentions of seeing customers decide their stay at the table is “one and done.”
“We have a unique history of roulette in the casino so Riverboat Roulette was a perfect fit for us,” said Mark Brandenburg, president and co-owner of Golden Gate Hotel & Casino. “We renovated the hotel a couple of years ago and the things that we have done have been an improvement not just for us but downtown.”
As for Riverboat Roulette, it provides a side bet for a game that didn’t have that alternative like craps and blackjack do.
“It is normal roulette and doesn’t affect the game in any way shape or form’” said Kevin Luck, president of marketing and sales for Double Luck Gaming. My brother Kent developed the game. He lives in Houston and I am based in Kansas City. We both felt Las Vegas and Golden Gate was the right place to debut the game.”
In simplest form, Riverboat Roulette offers six colored side bets and one white. You have eight ways to lose playing colors and 24 ways to win.
“With these new bets you don’t necessarily lose with each spin of the wheel, there is some thought involved. Roulette is more popular around the world having been around for a couple of hundred years. We felt it needed a boost.”
Luck saw Golden Gate as the perfect avenue to give his game the right type of exposure.
“You get more bang for your buck by being here,” Luck said. “Fremont Street is where it all began and Golden Gate is an original. On the Strip we may be one of those satellite games you throw up in the back. Here we get prime real estate.”
Early reaction to the game has been favorable, notably because you’re lasting time at the table is much longer than at your normal roulette wheel.
Players can play longer and have more fun,” Luck said. “At our game, there is more value for your money.”
The multi-spin variation of classic roulette was first introduced here in Las Vegas at the 2012 Global Gaming Expo. It gained international popularity after its premiere in the UK last year.
“We are known for roulette in town,” Brandenburg said. “We’ve been here for over 100 years, even started the shrimp cocktail in 1959.”
Golden Gate was also site for one of the biggest roulette wagers in history a few years back that was tied into an MTV show.
“It was a special situation and not our typical roulette bet,” Brandenburg said. “It took place in our high roller room and began as a $125,000 bet, which won. The player decided to let it ride for $250,000 and lost. The plan was to roll it to a million dollars.”
Brandenburg hopes Riverboat Roulette will help attract more lovers of the game to his casino.
“I don’t think enough people know about us even now,” he said. “We don’t have to be a 3,000 to 4,000 room Strip casino to have fun. Our 122 rooms and great prices work well for us.
And the shrimp cocktails still work here.
Encore: The Golden Gate opened in 1906 at One Fremont Street. Its legacy spans the birth of Las Vegas, the Roaring 20s and the Rat Pack era. Recently added was a 35,000-square-foot luxury tower with 16 suites, an expanded gaming floor and a new lobby.
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].