Peter Berhnard or Bob Sader?

Aug 28, 2001 6:49 AM

“IT’S A 6-5/PICK ’EM!” That’s what a pipe whispered in the phone Monday as two candidates seemed to be co-favorites to succeed Brian Sandoval as chairman of the ­­Nevada Gaming Commission.

“Probably before the week is out we will learn that Gov. Kenny Guinn will pick either the former state ethics commissioner (Peter Berhnard) or former Democratic Assemblyman (Bob Sader).”

More pipe: “There are other contenders in the race, but I’m taking the two favorites in an exacta,
betting with each on top.”

RESPECTING “THE DON!” All horseplayers die broke. But, not hunch players. They live forever.

Take, for example, film lovers of the Godfather trilogy.  A horse in the first race at Del Mar Friday by the name of Vito Corleone won pricking his ears. Who could resist the hunch? The two-year-old maiden left his rivals far behind as he got to the wire first, $11.60, $4.80 and $3.60. Bada bing, bada bang!

MEMORIES OF THE CARD COUNTER! There’s been a lot of press lately about card counting. It seems that it was brought to the attention of Keith Copher, chief of enforcement of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. He was quoted as saying that some casinos prematurely reshuffle the cards in blackjack.

They do! If a pit boss thinks the player has the deck cased so well that he is beating the house silly, he should have a right to break down the deck and re-deal.

What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. If a player is allowed to count cards against the house, why shouldn’t the house be allowed to do the same? When the deck is very positive for the player, a reshuffle could be in order. I don’t see a thing improper about that.

And, it brings back memories of Ken Uston, the greatest card counter of all. While he is credited with teaching the player how to case the deck, he should also be credited with teaching the house how to defend itself. Reshuffling is an acceptable technique.

JACK PITCHES SHUTOUT! The Indiana Gaming Commission voted 6-0 to renew Jack Binion’s Horseshoe Gaming license for a riverboat casino in Hammond.

Commission member Ann Bochnowski said the questions raised against Horseshoe Gaming were the same ones that came up when Binion bought the riverboat in 1999.

“There wasn’t any reason then and I don’t think there is any ­­reason now not to grant this,” ­­Bochnowski said at the licensing hearing.

Explained a pipe: “Regulators in Indiana and Illinois seemed overly concerned that Binion had reached into his kick and posted a $2 million bond for a jailed high-stakes gambler in Nevada who just so happened to be a good customer.

“Jack says it was a good business decision to show legal support for a customer in trouble. I’m sure he never realized that it would create problems for him. He said so. And, he is now suing the high-stakes customer for a $3 million gambling debt.”

PLAY BALL! “No one is talking ”” not for the record, anyway ”” but Michael Gaughan may soon be wooing a minor league team to play ball in the $130 million expansion planned for The Orleans hotel.

An events arena, which would seat up to 9,500 people, will be able to host a wide variety of sporting and entertainment events.

Michael is on holiday and could not be reached for comment. However, from reliable sources, I have learned that a semi-pro Arena Football League is in the crystal ball.

How do you like that?

“IT’S THE REAL THING!” The Coca-Cola Co. and Harrah’s Entertainment (HET) have joined hands in partnership in a new national sweepstakes.

It offers HET customers another chance to win in the $2.5 million Harrah’s Total Reward Treasure Hunt.

Order a Coke fountain drink from a Harrah’s beverage server on the casino floor and the soft drink will be served in a specially designed cup with a peel-and-win game piece affixed to it. One lucky customer will peel off the top portion of the game piece revealing the grand prize ”” an expense paid trip to Las Vegas to play in Harrah’s Total Reward Treasure Hunt featuring a $1 million grand prize.

The promotion will be held at 17 participating HET properties serving Coca-Cola.

“MILLION DOLLAR BABY!” A rosebud, diligently in search of still more secret plans of Steve Wynn and his spectacular Desert Inn project: “I don’t think he’ll top the $1.6 billion he spent building Bellagio. But, I’ll bet he will come close to spending that amount of money on the 3,000-room resort.

“That’s why they call him the Magic Man. And, although GamingToday was the first to report any of Wynn’s plans in last week’s edition, there are still other things to be learned. Wynn has said he will tell all in his time frame.

IT’S A GRIND! That’s the name of a famous Long Beach, Calif., coffee company that will soon set up shop in Las Vegas under the direction of Darryl Luery and Jerry Alesia. The two longtime casino executives are now consultants.

It’s A Grind has their own special blend of coffee that has the same respect among its users as Starbucks.

Luery told GamingToday they will initially launch sites at four ­­different locations throughout Las Vegas.

OUT OF THE WOODS? “Not really,” said a pipe, “but National Airlines continues to fly higher with progress for prospective investors.”

The pipe continued: “A court hearing was scheduled for Tuesday (Aug. 28), but to quote Mike Conway, the carrier’s chairman ”” ”˜it should prove to be uneventful.’

“The word on the street is that National is very confident with discussions currently taking place among aerospace-related entities interested in facilitating the carrier’s reorganization.”

From another in-the-knowster: “National is operating its full schedule without interruption. And, that includes new service to O’Hare in Chicago.

“Despite its ups and downs,” the in-the-knowster continued, “National Airlines enjoyed the highest enplanement in its history during the month of August.”

“BUSTED, one of Ray Charles’ many hit recordings, is likely not to be included in a new line of slot machines to be released by Alliance Gaming (ALLY).

At the request of Charles, who is blind, the Alliance slot machines come with options allowing the visually impaired to fully enjoy the games. They will feature Braille labeling and audio assist features.

As the lyrics of the Charles’ song go: “. . . My wife and my kids are all down with the flu and I was just thinking of calling on you . . . I’m busted.”

“WHO’S KIDDING WHO?” So asked a pipe who knows his way around high limit blackjack games. His reference was to a state proposal for rules to govern high roller casino salons.

“They expect a player to wager at least $20,000 a hand and for slots players to demand a $500-a-pull minimum on slot machines.

“I don’t know about the slots, but I don’t know a high player anywhere who would bet $20,000 a pop if he wasn’t able to have a limit of at least $200,000 or a 10-1 spread.”

More pipe: “I can’t picture that happening. Can you?”

STILL WORKING ON TEMPORARY APPROVAL! The bankrupt Regent Las Vegas allegedly does not have a certificate of occupancy issued by the Clark County building department.

“They are still working on their temporary permit. Portions of the property have not yet been completed and not all of the workmanship has met code,” said a pipe.