Where did the time go?
It was a year ago that Gaming Today changed hands with Las Vegas businessman and former casino owner Bill Paulos purchasing this iconic betting publication from Eileen DiRocco, whose late husband Chuck started GT way back in 1976.
The first edition of what was called the “Sports Form” appeared in Las Vegas on May 1, 1976, Kentucky Derby day. It was 12 pages and was heavy on horse racing, which was Chuck DiRocco’s background and passion.
There was a story on a Gin rummy tournament, an entertainment page which told of how Neil Diamond didn’t want to play in a Vegas “nightclub” in turning down an opportunity to perform at the Aladdin’s new 7,500-seat Theatre for the Performing Arts. And yes, there was a young lady in a bathing suit on the back page. You got all of that and more for just 60 cents.
A lot has happened since then. We’ve extended our reach well beyond Las Vegas. We’ve added several new writers while saying goodbye to others. We changed the appearance of the print edition and made a few alterations while significantly upgrading the quality and look of our website. Horse racing remains part of our coverage though the girls in the bathing suits have moved on.
Many of you approved the changes that were made and we appreciate that. Some of you were not happy seeing some of your favorite writers depart as well as the departure of the GT Girl. But hopefully, you’ve stayed with us.
“We came here a year ago and it was an icon in Las Vegas but not necessarily what I thought the paper could be,” Paulos said. “I thought it could be more interesting, more thought-provoking actually, and more geared toward the sports bettor.
“We’ve been able to change the entire look and feel of the newspaper and make it more interesting to more folks. We’re now in seven states and almost 100 casinos and we’re being read all over the country. We even have beat writers in New Jersey and in the Midwest.
“We’re a publication that is being known nationwide. And we’re known world-wide through our website. Our goal this year is to make the website and our content even more current and maintain being an enjoyable read for sports bettors.”
Howard Barish, who is GT’s general manager and managing editor, is the one steering the ship into the uncharted waters of sports betting across the country. His vision is for the publication to be everywhere you can make a legal sports bet in America.
“It has certainly been an exhilarating year at G.T.,” Barish said. “The fervor of legalized sports betting around the country has kept us busy on multiple fronts. Our team has achieved numerous accomplishments, but the work has just begun. We’ll always strive to deliver outstanding content, analysis, and guidance so that those participating in legal sports wagering are most informed.”
You probably noticed we’ve brought in some fresh faces to write and handicap the sports you’re accustomed to seeing in Gaming Today. We’ve had some turnover in recent months. You may recall we lost Mark Mayer last December. Denny The Dog, whose popular NFL column and picks had been a mainstay at GT for decades, decided to hang up his pen. Richard Saber, who has written a college football column for years, is cutting back his workload.
But we’re excited about the new faces. Tony Mejia, whose work has regularly appeared in GT for years, will add the NFL to his NBA duties. Willie Ramirez, who has done an outstanding job covering baseball for us, will also write and handicap the NFL, joining Mejia and Andy Iskoe. And Bob Christ, whose work has appeared in print and online for years, will write an NFL column dedicated to over/unders, much like Matt Zylbert does with baseball.
Ramon Scott and Ched Whitney, our two excellent college basketball writers, will also write, handicap and analyze college football for us. Ian Cameron has returned to cover college football along with Joe D’Amico who pulls double duty with baseball.
Whenever there’s new management of any business, there are going to be changes. We have tried to pivot with the changes and become a better-serving 21st Century media outlet while not abandoning our roots.
It’s a tricky dance to be sure. But we are doing our best not to trip. I hope you will continue to be our partner on the dance floor.