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Rio undergoing $80 million overhaul

The Rio continues its $80 million renovation with the
ground-breaking of its new convention center earlier this month.

The first phase of the overhaul was the complete remodeling
of its popular Carnival World Buffet.

Schedule for completion later this summer are a new front
desk and lobby area, plus a new cocktail lounge with flair bartenders
reminiscent of Tom Cruise in the hit move, “Cocktail.”

Also planned is an upgrade of the All-American Bar and Grill,
and the expansion of its Voodoo Lounge nightclub. That makeover will include an
outdoor staircase connecting the two penthouse patios, an aerial disc-jockey
platform and go-go dancer cages.

Alexis Park to evolve into high-rise

The Alexis Park resort on East Harmon Avenue, which raised
eyebrows when it opened in 1987 without a casino, will be completely
remade into an all-new luxury hotel and casino with nearly 1,000 rooms in a
15-story tower.

The existing 500 guestrooms — many of them townhouse-style
luxury suites — will remain as high-end villas. Plans call for retention of
most of the resort’s sprawling grounds, fountains and putting greens.

No exact date for the $210 million expansion has been set,
but it will probably be about three to four years before the new hotel is ready.

Fine dining nothing to sniff at

There’s no doubt that the alluring aroma of haute cuisine
enhances its appeal, but a restaurant at Lake Las Vegas is taking the issue to
new heights with its “Aromatherapy Cuisine.”

Chef Stephen Marshall of the Medici restaurant has begun
spicing up his specialties with highly-aromatic oils and other ingredients,
applied seconds before serving to enhance the fragrance of the meal.

An example of his handiwork would be his aromatic citrus
salad with lavender meringue and honey ice cream accented with cardamom essence
derived from the oils of a ginger-related Asian herb.

Now, if he can just get steamed cauliflower to smell like
Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies.

Moran Jr. named to Gaming Commission

Apparently, keeping track of “wildlife” in the
state of Nevada is good experience to keeping tabs on casino operators and

Last week, Gov. Kenny Guinn appointed attorney John Moran
Jr., who serves on the state Board of Wildlife Commissioners, to replace
outgoing Nevada Gaming Commissioner Augie Gurrola.

Moran will assume his new position on July 26, when he
formally resigns from the Wildlife Board.

A practicing attorney in Las Vegas, Moran is the son of
former Clark County Sheriff John Moran. His clients have included the
Stratosphere, UNLV basketball coach Bill Bayno and developer/high-stakes gambler
Billy Walters.

A Steve Wynn slot machine?

At last month’s Gaming Commission meeting, casino mogul
Steve Wynn mentioned he and his business partner, Kazuo Okada, are working on a
secret new slot machine.

Although he would offer no details, Wynn said the machine
would be a “rather radical” new design.

“I’m interested in a machine that says ”˜Wynn’ and
that makes everyone else say ”˜wow,’” Wynn said.

Okada’s Japanese company, Universal Distributing Company (UDC),
builds and distributes slots and other gaming devices to more than 40 countries.

Wynn said the new slot probably wouldn’t be ready for the
opening of his new hotel-casino, Wynn Las Vegas, next April because it would
have to be first approved by Nevada regulators.

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