Super Bookie brings
Expertise to Station’s

August 21, 2001 8:11 AM
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            HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF! That’s what they say, but Art Manteris doesn’t believe it, especially when the subject is Nevada’s unique race and sports book industry.

            “I’m tired of hearing people say things aren’t what they used to be . . . They’re better,” Manteris told us.

            The Super Bookie, as he is known, has now brought his expertise to Station Casinos and its nine-location network. He is set up at Palace Station where 20 years of experience is working for him and the many customers he has served across the years and across the board. The name Super Bookie follows after publishing “SuperBookie.” It’s an insider’s handbook of Nevada’s bookmaking business and it was written by a guy who spent the last 20 years gathering data.

            “When I came to Las Vegas in the late 1970s, I attended UNLV and helped pay my way with a job in the betting parlor at the Fremont hotel.

            “Hotels were few and far between when it came to race and sports books. The Stardust and Union Plaza led the way with the Fremont. The legends of the day were Bob Martin, Bobby The Tower Barrent, Lefty Rosenthal, Jimmy the Greek, Jack Franzi, etc. My mentors were guys like Jimmy Vaccaro and Richard Klamian. They gave me some education.

            “There was nothing fancy about betting parlors in those days; they were plain vanilla. All that changed in the early 1980s thanks to the efforts of certain people ”” the late Sen. Howard Cannon and you, Chuck.

            Cannon convinced the government to ease the federal excise tax, which at one time was 10%. It dropped to 2%, but Cannon was influential in getting it down to a quarter of one percent. That got the hotels interested.

            “Then you came along with live racing on the video. At about the same time, sports programming across the country got a big boost from cable and broadcasting companies like ESPN.

            “In those days, tickets had to be handwritten. Security was limited. And, what one player can bet today is more than what could be wagered throughout the town in the good old days (?). That’s a fact.

            “In my opinion, a sports book will always be at risk. But, if proper bookmaking philosophy is maintained, the house can win more than it loses in the long run. If proper procedures are followed, things should work themselves out.

            “You’ve got to have stomach to be a good bookmaker. And ”” don’t forget ”” you also have to have deep pockets.

            “I certainly can’t deny that I respect certain players. There are a number of wise guys that are very tough to beat. Some of the best in the business all congregate here.

            “Yesterday vs. today? There’s no comparison in terms of sports betting. The menu has expanded greatly, so have the limits, parlay card payoffs have gone through the roof, payouts are available instantly and service and comfort are superior. Today’s customer is much better off than he ever was before.”

            Manteris quickly cited Station Casinos’ Great Giveaway football contest with more than $1.5 million on the line.

            “And, don’t forget two other Station properties ”” Fiesta and The Reserve ”” that are introducing a $250,000 free football contest. How can you beat that? A shot at $250,000 as a comp,” Manteris added.

            “The Great Giveaway has a buy-in of $25 per entry. There are three ways to win ”” most winners, least winners and the fiddle in the middle! That goes to the player or players who fall directly in the middle between the most winners and the most losers.”

            In his new assignment, Manteris will oversee all the bet shop operations at all nine Stations Casinos properties, which will soon number 10 when the Green Valley Ranch opens before the end of the year. The count includes Palace Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station, Texas Station, Santa Fe, Fiesta, The Reserve, Barley’s, Wild Wild West and ”” coming soon ”” Green Valley Ranch.

            With the Super Bookie at the helm, it figures to be a great year for Station Casinos.

            And, it says here, what the Fertitta family’s string of local casinos has won, Caesars Place and Las Vegas Hilton have lost ”” Art Manteris.