No Mirage - Walker will retire

May 20, 2008 7:00 PM

by Mark Mayer | We know Robert Walker is leaving his position as sports book director for the MGM MIRAGE. It’s his replacement that’s uncertain.

"We saw the reports that Robert is leaving June 1 and that isn’t the case," said Scott Ghertner, director of public relations at MGM MIRAGE. "It will be sometime in June. And, no replacement has been named. The interview process is ongoing, contrary to what has been reported."

Reports surfaced through the week that Jay Rood, the sports book director at Mandalay Bay, would replace Walker. Other sources hinted that former Stardust race and sports director Bob Scucci, now at the Orleans, was a top candidate.

"I only know that several people are being interviewed," Ghertner said. "Certainly working with Robert has been great. He has been nothing but professional and simply the best in the business."

Walker was not available for comment, but did tell a local newspaper he was resigning in order to spend more time with family in his hometown of Pasco, Washington.

Walker, who briefly worked for Sports Form (now GamingToday) under the late Chuck DiRocco, entered the sports book industry in 1986 with the Boyd Group. There he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Stardust, Fremont and California sports books. He spent three years at Sam’s Town, returned to Boyd as sports book director at the Stardust 1991-96 and finally moved on to the Mirage.

While at MGM MIRAGE, Walker was criticized at times for being conservative and hard to deal with regarding professional bettors.

"I know this job comes with criticisms and you need to have a little bit of thick skin to do it," Walker said in a published article last week. "I think you can be friendly with the pros, but you can’t be friends."

Walker was in charge of the race and sports books at all 12 MGM MIRAGE properties – 10 in Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, Luxor, New York-New York, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Mirage, Treasure Island, Circus Circus) and two in Laughlin (Edgewater and Colorado Belle). The Mirage serves as the hub.

Walker earlier attended three universities including UNLV, where he studied political science.