The past few months have seen quite a revolving door of sports book managers — to the point where a scorecard may be necessary for bettors to keep tab.
"The mergers (MGM Mirage with Mandalay Bay, and Harrah’s with Caesars Entertainment) have caused a trickle down effect," said Ed Malinowski, who switched from race and sports manager at the Luxor to a similar post at the Excalibur.
Mandalay Bay snatched Jay Rood from The Mirage, which hired Jeff Stoneback from Excalibur. Mike Piranio took the helm at the Luxor after running the race and book at New York-New York.
Steve Harvey took over at Golden Nugget when the new ownership released Chris Andrews and Nick Bogdanovich. Harvey previously worked at the Golden Nugget Laughlin.
And, Tony Santoro has been at Treasure Island just over a week.
"I’m Jay at the Bay," quipped Rood, who once upon a time was at the Hard Rock before winding up at Mirage and then Mandalay. "Where I am now is a beautiful property to work at. Great people, great restaurants, a young crowd full of energy. This is where Gen X and Gen Y hang out."
Malinowski, at age 32, claims to be the youngest race and sports manager on the Strip. He broke into the business in 1998 at the Luxor and rode the wave of the mergers into his new position at Excalibur.
"It’s still basically the same operation," Malinowski said. "Luxor was a satellite book run by Excalibur, and Excalibur is a satellite to The Mirage. The mergers have created fewer differences in the numbers (betting lines) around town. I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of hubs operating out of one property. Limits cause people to run to the Internet."
Stoneback also is familiar to being around satellite books, having begun his gaming career in 1986 at Circus Circus, which used the numbers sent over from Mandalay Bay.
"I spent 20 years with the Mandalay company," Stoneback said. "I went back and forth for a time between Circus Circus and Excalibur as manager before Robert Walker asked me in mid-August if I would like the Mirage spot when Jay left to go to Mandalay. Mirage is a big-time operation with a high-level clientele. I jumped at the opportunity."
Being a satellite can have its highs and lows, as Tony Santoro is rediscovering in his second stint at Treasure Island.
"It’s pretty exciting to be the head of the TI book," said the 33-year-old Santoro, who came over from MGM. "We’re trying to get new customers and new excitement here. I used to work here as a supervisor so I was immediately familiar with the book."
Santoro said the prime goal is to get the word out on TI and draw some more people into the book.
"We want to use more promotions to generate more business," he said. "We are one of the few places to offer Players Club benefits for sports, which helps the everyday bettors. They can come in here and get comp play for sports action, unlike most places which just have Players Clubs that comp slot and other play."
Both Harvey at the Golden Nugget and Piranio at Luxor were involved in meetings and not able to comment at length about their respective moves.
Piranio did say he was glad to be back in the gaming business. Harvey indicated he would like to see the Nugget involved in more sports promotions.