John Laurice, who spent a couple of decades in the Las Vegas race and sports book industry, died March 19. He was 85 years old.
Laurice was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. but grew up in Paterson, N.J. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1955 and was stationed in Korea until his discharge in 1957. Upon his return, he opened a hair salon in New Jersey.
He ran his shop until 1980 when he moved to Las Vegas. He worked at a number of establishments, including the El Rancho Race and Sports Book where he served as its manager. He also worked at the Sands, the Stratosphere and Binion’s Horseshoe.
“John was the ultimate glass is half-full kind of guy,” said Nick Bogdanovich, who worked with Laurice at the Sands and is currently William Hill’s Director of Trading. “He was always upbeat and positive. His sense of humor was off the charts. We probably did more laughing than working.”
Laurice’s passions were betting on sports and horse racing. He was also an avid reader of Gaming Today and he would tell his family: “One day, I will be going to the big racetrack in the sky.”
In addition to his playing the horses and betting on sports, Laurice enjoyed fishing, gardening and going swimming at the beach.
Laurice is survived by Florence, his wife of 59 years, two daughters, Dina Herald of Mt. Vernon, OH and Laurie Olbur of Las Vegas along with five grandchildren and four step-granddaughters.