Rock raisesbar on ‘hip’

Apr 18, 2006 3:56 AM

Don’t call Jason McCormick conservative.

"We’re ready and anxious at the challenge of competing with Palms, Rampart, Suncoast and anyone on the Strip," said the first director of race and sports at Red Rock, the new billion dollar hub of Station Casinos and five-year dream of the Fertitta brothers.

"Frank and Lorenzo just nailed it," said Art Manteris, veteran Las Vegas linesmaker and current vice president of race and sports operations at Stations Casinos. "I remember being asked why I went to work at Stations five years ago. I remember saying ”˜wait to you see where this company is going.’ The Fertitta vision is unparalleled. I was tickled to go along for the ride."

Red Rock is impressive, nestled in a sprawling area of Summerlin just off the 215 at the Charleston exit. In some ways it has the look of the Palms in terms of trendy. In others, Red Rock shows the style and class of the Vegas Strip.

"The Las Vegas Hilton set the standard and Mandalay Bay took it to a new level," Manteris said. "Mandalay has a fabulously designed Race and Sports Book. Ours is now the cream of the crop. This is the one all books will be judged for the next 10 to 20 years."

The resort is not 100 percent completed, but the basics are done and the May 6 deadline was met. That’s the date of the Kentucky Derby, generally the largest betting day in thoroughbred racing outside of the Breeders Cup.

"We really are looking forward to May 6," McCormick said. "We expect to have our five VIP booths filled and a room full of bettors. We want them to feel right at home here and I think everything is in place to make sure that happens."

The signature aspect for the Race and Sports Book are those three side-by-side jumbo screens totaling some 96 feet of sporting events. All live, of course.

"It’s really quite staggering and something our players will love," McCormick said. "We are able to accommodate more than 200 in the book comfortably with betting terminals at their seats, great food delivered right to you and 20 ticket windows available so that long lines should be eliminated. This will be an experience enjoyed by everyone, whether they are heavy bettors or not. Everyone receives top treatment here."

Last week’s media tour of Red Rock also featured a not often seen view of the hub’s operations center — located behind the ticket windows. There, the latest odds, injury updates, live scores and any other pertinent information are typed into computers and posted on the huge electronic message boards outside that the patrons’ eyes thirst for as soon as they enter the book.

"Our offices are the last ones on the list," McCormick joked. "I have the small room and Mr. Manteris has the big one."

Manteris, indeed, does think big and his policy of not dodging questions makes him a perfect fit for the new chapter in Station Casinos resorts.

"This property really does change everything," he said. "I’ve never thought of myself or the company as conservative. We will open early here, take a good bet and offer an extensive wagering menu. I will exceed those limits frequently for casino customers.

"If big casino customers win or lose seven figures, we will continue to accommodate them," Manteris continued. "Success here will be judged on performance. That’s our greatest challenge now that the early reviews of Red Rock have been so favorable."