Bitters sweet on Hard Rock changes

Apr 14, 2009 5:11 PM
by Mark Mayer |

Through all the construction on Harmon and Paradise will emerge the first stages of what is promised to be a bigger and better Hard Rock Casino & Resort.

"We are one of the few places finishing their construction," said Paul Bitters, who recently took over as director of race and sports when Jamie Shea went to Sunset Station. "Maybe we’re just lucky or just having a solid plan to push forward."

It all starts coming together this coming weekend with Paul McCartney opening the new Joint. Also unveiled will be a new convention/meeting area, a tattoo store and the debut of the Rare 120 Steak House.

"This is all part of the master plan to take the Hard Rock name to a different level," Bitters said. "The sports book will be remodeled in December to double the size of the current one. The plan is for it to be ready by the Super Bowl and possibly in time for the NFL playoffs."

Bitters has been at Hard Rock for eight years and believed in the potential of a sports book that isn’t a satellite to any other property.

"Making our own lines and creating parlay cards like the current Friday/Saturday card for baseball is why I didn’t want to go anywhere else," said Bitters, a Green Bay, Wisconsin native, whose dad was one of the first entrants years ago in the Pick The Pros contest at the Gold Coast.

"It was an easy transition for me going from ticket writer to running the book," Bitters said. "We’ve always had the Hard Rock name, but it was a smaller property under the old ownership. Now we want to branch out and capitalize on our ability to draw celebrities to our resort."

Two of the biggest draws are the Joint and the famed Rehab, a weekly Sunday pleasure palace at the pool during the summer months.

"Sundays here are absolutely amazing when Rehab is going," Bitters said. "I remember once seeing a girl in a diamond thong waiting to get in. We will be doubling the size of the pool and adding more cabanas. Also, we’re thinking of putting a sports betting booth out there."

For now, Bitters is working in a cozy book with five writers. Continued construction will produce a second parking garage within six months plus a bigger valet area that will make access to the book a lot easier than it currently is.

"The plan is to have bigger events all through the casino," Bitters said. "The poker room and the sports book are very close so we will be trying to get celebrities from each to attract more business. Other than my wife, everyone wants to come to Las Vegas. She’d rather be at Disneyland."