Palace Station a shining example of Fertitta's commitment to locals

Palace Station a shining example of Fertitta's commitment to locals

August 29, 2018 3:10 AM
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Giving credit where credit is due, certainly applies to Station Casinos now that the locals casino/resort operator is putting the finishing touches on extensive remodeling projects at the Palms and Palace Station.

Often, that well-worn expression connotes a certain reluctance to bestow recognition, but in this situation Southern Nevadans should have no hesitancy at all. Perhaps, investing a reported excess of $660 million to re-image the Palms was an obvious business move. Its new high-end restaurants, nightclub, lobby-area bars and attractions as well as other changes will certainly translate to an improved bottom line.

However, the Palace Station is different story. In an older and what many would characterize as a declining part of Las Vegas, the Fertitta brothers, Frank III and Lorenzo, are rewarding some of the most dependable casino customers in the Las Vegas valley with a sparkling, just-like-new venue that any neighborhood would be proud of.

The Fertitta family bestowed upon its loyal regulars a remodel of the historic venue, once just called The Casino and then Bingo Palace with a $192 million renovation that includes new food offerings and restaurants, a new bingo room, a revamped race and sportsbook that includes an elevated sports bar, a renovated poker room and additional slot/video poker machines and table games.

And, be advised a nine-screen, luxury movie complex will open in December. There’s also a resort-style pool area that now features a raised bar, dining area, event lawn for weddings and the like, I presume, and private cabanas and daybeds. Hotel guest rooms and suites were also updated. There’s additional valet parking space, too.

This investment by Station Casinos goes well beyond what most would have expected. The late Frank Fertitta Jr. who began his career as a bellman at the Tropicana, and conceived the property in 1976 as a haven for locals who wanted to enjoy themselves away from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip, would certainly be proud of his sons and what they have done at Sahara just west of I-15.

I hope I’m not offending anyone by saying the new Palace Station is now much nicer than it had to be. Instead, it’s just about as nice as possible.

It’s quite capable of uplifting that whole part of Las Vegas and may do just that. The Fertittas apparently made the Palace Station and the Palms so dynamic because they wanted to, not because they had to.

Talk about re-investing in the community!

In a conversation with Art Manteris, the long-time race and sportsbook vice-president for Station at the race and sportsbook unveiling last week, the veteran bookmaking executive expressed his pleasure with the company’s latest remodeled race and sports operation. For customers who might be concerned that Palace Station would change in other ways, Manteris told me, “We like the house-booked horse bets (Twin Q and house quinellas) and we will continue to offer them.”

Jackson Meeker, winner of GamingToday’s Bookie’s Battle last year, is the new director of race and sports at Palace Station. He concurs with Manteris’ view of the improvements. Prior to Palace Meeker ran the Boulder Station book.

The Palace Station racebook has been home to many of Southern Nevada’s most legendary horseplayers over the years including Professor Gordon Jones, Kenny Daniels, “Showboat” Joe in his sailor’s cap, “Ping-Pong” Dave, The Mann Brothers (Ernie and Evans – no relation), Joe Castro, Joe Kludjian (the original owner of the nearby Golden Steer Steakhouse) and GamingToday’s own Richard Saber, among others.

Some are gone, off to the racebook in the sky, but none are forgotten.

Palace Station’s Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup World Championship seminars have traditionally been among the most highly attended in Las Vegas.

Station racebooks across town are the only locations I know of where the historic house quinellas are routinely offered on some secondary tracks as well as the majors. The non-pari-mutuel bet pays off on the first two horses in a race in any order by multiplying half the place price times the win price. This bet was once the staple of Nevada racebooks before pari-mutuel betting took over in the 1990’s.

The Twin Q is the other house-booked bet in which Station offers at least $5,000 and sometimes $10,000 on weekends to bettors picking the first two finishers (in any order) in two designated races selected that morning. The bet can carry over if no winning tickets are sold.

Manteris also expressed great pleasure that, after a three-year hiatus, the company would this season again offer its $2 million Great Giveaway football handicapping contest with more and bigger prizes than ever before, including homes, cars and cash.

An entire series of promotional events is planned for this weekend including concerts and fireworks and invited Boarding Pass loyalty cardholders will be gifted with a series of different commemorative wines each Tuesday in September.

There’s certainly no lack of enthusiasm in this space to give credit where credit is due.