Vincent Magliulo isn’t my cousin Vinny or Robert DiNiro, though comparisons are numerous. He’s simply the touch of class Steve Wynn demands of a race and sports operations director.
"It’s an honor to be part of such a dynamic and talented team at Wynn Las Vegas," Magliulo told GamingToday last week. "Working with that team on the world’s most anticipated opening (officially April 28) is something I consider to be a privilege."
Magliulo (pronounced Ma-lee-u-lo) has a Hall of Fame dossier, working 14 years as the head of race and sports at Caesars Palace under gaming luminaries Terry Lanni, Dan Reichartz, Dan Casella and Lou D’Amico.
Prior to Caesars, he earned his stripes at Barbary Coast with many of the top innovators in the industry — John Avello, Art Manteris, Jimmy Vaccaro, Nick Bogdanovich, Chris Andrews, Bert Osborne, Liz Lucas, Randi Muniz, Bob Gregorka and Jimmy Mastroianni.
"The Barbary has been known through the years as a training ground for so many of my colleagues," Magliulo said. "I would describe myself as a bit of old and new school. In order to be successful, my obligation is to learn from the past, embrace new ideas and be creative."
The Brooklyn-born Magliulo knew at age 14 that he was destined for Las Vegas.
"In 1959, I visited my uncle out here prior to my freshman year of high school," Magliulo said. "He was a musician and I would assist him with setting up his drums at various gigs around Vegas. He knew everyone and it exposed me to all facets of the business. I fell in love with the entire atmosphere."
Magliulo decided to focus on sports in the summer of 1971, during what was arguably the greatest sports era in New York pro sports.
"Joe Namath’s guarantee in Super Bowl III as a 19-point underdog and the Miracle Mets of 1969 at 1,000-1 — those are what hooked me," he smiled. "This was the new math that I understood."
The racing aspect grew through a friend, whose dad was a pari-mutuels manager for the New York Racing Association.
"Every now and then he would take us with him to work," Magliulo said. "We wound up in the paddock, just watching, listening and putting our lunch money into action."
Magliulo transferred to UNLV and entered the gaming industry at a school for dealing operated by Michael Gaughan and Frank Toti.
"I started as a dice dealer, then moved on to blackjack, roulette and baccarat," he said. "I remember that as long as we were proficient dealing the games, we would be allowed to work our way to the race and sports books on breaks."
Magliulo graduated from the pit to the Caesars book in 1986 at a time race and sports operations were becoming more mainstream.
"With my love of sports and understanding of gaming, I saw that expansion as an opportunity to advance my career," he said. "Lou (D’Amico) and Jim (Mastroianni) needed a supervisor for the football season. They gave me the opportunity."
During Magliulo’s lengthy stay, he developed a simple hard line, two-step approach to running a successful book.
"Consistency and creativity — those two ingredients will keep customers coming back," he said. "We are a team, not a bunch of individuals. My job is providing premium customer service and running an area that complements the entire property experience."
Magliulo’s enthusiasm and charisma were qualities that earned his "chance of a lifetime" at the highly-anticipated Wynn Las Vegas.
"There are so many demands working for a man like Mr. Wynn," Magliulo said. "Nobody fulfills the needs of guests in this competitive industry quite like he does. Everyone wants to know what Wynn Las Vegas will be like. I can only say, you’ll be very impressed."
Of course, being Italian or having once done a Top 10 list on the Late Night With David Letterman show didn’t hurt.
"Not bad for a kid from Brooklyn," he said.