Palms' Maloof says Las Vegas goofing

May 30, 2009 6:00 PM
by Mark Mayer |

Palms Casino Resort owner George Maloof said that Las Vegas businesses need to do more to promote this city as the nation’s No. 1 tourist destination.

"It’s important to remind people that we are No. 1," said Maloof, whose family put up the $265 million cost back in 2001 to build the Palms. "Las Vegas has so much to offer and we can’t just sit back and take it for granted. We’re certainly doing our part at the Palms to promote Las Vegas."

The Maloof family first got into the casino business in Central City, Colorado before coming to Las Vegas in 1994 to open the Fiesta Casino in North Las Vegas. But it’s at the Palms, where Maloof has become a force in the entertainment side of gaming.

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"We have always had a nice mix between entertainment and gambling," Maloof said. "The Palms has hosted great events like Playboy, MTV Awards, the NBA All-Star festivities, boxing and now the NHL Awards (set for June 18). Also Palms Place which opened last year has been a great addition. It is unique and appealing to those who may not want to be surrounded by gaming."

Maloof said his main goal is to make the Palms part of the general community and a source for opportunity. "The biggest part I cherish is being able to employ people here," he said. "I like creating special moments for people and coming up with new ideas for the Palms that will be well accepted."

Maloof said he is optimistic about an economic comeback. "We have seen the bottom of this," he said. "It is important that all of us in the casino industry are focused on the same thing. What is good for one of us is good for everybody. We need to help each other out. Vegas is so universal. It’s about creating a product that assures that everyone will have a good time and wants to come back. I felt that way 10 years ago and I still do."

The Palms is hosting the top online PokerStars over the next few weeks as they assemble for the annual World Series of Poker at the Rio. Though just across the street, Maloof said hosting the WSOP itself is not in his plans. "No, it honestly never crossed my mind. We created the celebrity poker trend when it took off seven years ago. Our connection with poker is most important. But, having the WSOP here would be something to think about."

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Mark Mayer