Jimmy Vaccaro Joins Rivers Casino Pittsburgh

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Jimmy Vaccaro is going home. And Las Vegas loses yet another piece of its gaming history.

Vaccaro, 73, has accepted an offer to work at the Rivers Casino sports book in his native Pittsburgh. The official announcement was made early Friday.

“I wouldn’t leave unless it was to go home,” Vaccaro, a native of Trafford, Penn., said. “It’s a unique opportunity for me at this time of my life.”

The rumors had been circulating for several months that something might be up. But Vaccaro had to wait for the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission to license him before it was made official.

“We’re thrilled to bring Jimmy back home to Pennsylvania,” said Bill Keena, general manager of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. “When it comes to sports betting – customer experience, operational excellence, setting the odds – Jimmy is the gold standard.” 

Vaccaro will be leaving with the blessing of his current boss, Michael Gaughan.

“I wouldn’t have done it unless Michael approved,” Vaccaro said.

The two go back to 1975 when Vaccaro, who was dealing blackjack at the time, was hired to run the sports book at the Royal Inn. In 1979, he was put in charge of the race and sports book at Gaughan’s Barbary Coast hotel and casino on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road. In 2013, the two reunited as Gaughan brought Vaccaro to boost traffic at the South Point.

In between his stints with Gaughan, Vaccaro would work for another Las Vegas casino giant – Steve Wynn – first at the Golden Nugget running the race and sports book, then at The Mirage when it opened in 1989. 

Vaccaro will be used to help drive traffic to Rivers’ sports book and establish a level of customer service that has been his forte over the decades at all of his previous stops.

For many followers and fans of sports betting, Vaccaro is a household name. He’s a frequent expert commentator on VSiN, CNN, ESPN and social media on all matters of sports betting and oddsmaking. 

“That’s what makes sports betting fun,” said Vaccaro. “Fans of the movies will often guess the ending, but for sports fans, no two games are alike.” 

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About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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