Vaccaro’s View by Jimmy Vaccaro | How many times in this industry have we heard these words, "Who is running this joint and where are the ‘suits’?"
Orders usually come from the top man and his philosophy or understanding of running a casino is carried out by faithful lieutenants. They are different as night and day but always seem to get the cash.
I have been fortunate to work for some great individuals whose charm, personality, and demeanor are as far apart as Las Vegas and Butte, Montana.
Michael Gaughan uses the same business model as he did when I met him in the mid 70’s. Good food and gambling at a fair price. He understood the local market as well as anyone and used the race and sports book to promote his product better than anyone.
Kirk Kerkorian hired me to open his first race and sports book at the original MGM in 1985. Most of the directives came from Al Benedict and Morrie Jaegar, whom I got to be very fond of. Kirk acted quickly, running almost a "run silent, run deep" approach that suited me fine. He didn’t raise his voice, entered and left a room quietly while always running a first class book.
Sol Kerzner, who built the Atlantis in Nassau was another stop for me. My direct involvement was once for a grand total of about 90 seconds. He came to Atlantis the week we were to open the book and asked for a white glove which was quickly given to him by someone.
Kerzner went through the book with the glove trying to find some dust. We didn’t find much, but enough to tell me that was not acceptable. I was later told that everything that he builds can not be opened until he does the glove test.
That was the only time I saw him. I doubt you’ll ever find these men playing bridge together. The guys upstairs can be quite different, but get to the end result maybe better than anyone before or possibly after.
My new boss Joe Asher gets an "A" so far, but we are only in the first semester.