Regulators to rule on sports book

Jun 17, 2008 7:05 PM

By David Stratton | As reported by GamingToday last week, the Nevada Gaming Commission will meet on Thursday to consider the application of Brandywine Bookmaking, LLC, for a new statewide race and sports book.

The new race and sports operation – Lucky’s Race & Sports – will initially operate a sports book at the High Desert Inn in Elko, and a full race and sports book at Elko’s Red Lion Inn. It will also manage the race and sports operation at Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort for Larry Woolf’s Navegante Group, the casino operator.

Even though its hub will be in Reno, Brandywine Bookmaking will be based in Las Vegas, according to Joe Asher, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

Asher was previously associated with Cantor Gaming, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald, which recently began a field trial for a mobile (wireless) gaming system at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

Asher told the Gaming Control Board two weeks ago that Brandywine has also filed applications to operate race and sports books at the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas, and Casino Fandango in Carson City.

"We hope to file additional applications in the near future, as the response in the marketplace to our business plan and our team has been tremendous," Asher told Board members.

The business plan that Asher alluded to includes becoming a "premium operator" in Nevada’s race and sports industry

"We intend to do this by offering exceptional customer service and a superior product at a fair price," Asher said. "It is really that simple – we believe that there is an opportunity to grow the race and sports business from what it is today by focusing on the business and delivering exceptional customer service and a superior product at a fair price."

Asher said he is relying heavily on his "team" to implement the company’s business plan.

"Our bookmaking team is headed up by two of the biggest names in the business … Jimmy Vacarro, a legendary figure in this business … and Tony DiTommaso, who was the director of race & sports for Cal-Neva and managed their operations across the state."

Vacarro – a ground-breaking pioneer in the race and sports business – formerly worked for the Royal Inn, Barbary Coast, Golden Nugget, Mirage and LeRoy’s sports books in Las Vegas, and Atlantis resort/casino in the Bahamas.

Vacarro is also a former GamingToday columnist and, beginning this football season, has agreed to resume his writing career with the weekly gaming newspaper.

Also associated with the new operation is Dan Shapiro, who will served as the company’s director of marketing.

"Dan has previously worked at The Meadowlands, Monmouth Park and Suffolk Downs racetracks and the Daily Racing Form, and is recognized as an astute racing handicapper," Asher said.

Asher told regulators that he also traces his early roots to race tracks.

"I started working at Brandywine Raceway in my hometown of Wilmington, Delaware as soon as I was old enough to get a job there at age 16," he said. "I also worked at Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway in Delaware and Foxboro Raceway in Massachusetts as a teenager, and was the ’s racing handicapper for Delaware Park."

Asher said his ties and friendships he established at Brandywine contributed to choosing its name for his new company.

Brandywine Raceway closed in 1989. "It was only natural for me to revive the name of that special place," he said.