Bill Paulos Poised To Take Helm of Struggling Regent

Nov 6, 2001 8:45 AM

Bill Paulos, the casino veteran who helped open the Excalibur and Luxor, may be the man to revive the Regent Las Vegas.

Paulos will be considered this week by the Gaming Control Board for the top operations job. The struggling Summerlin resort was sold in September to Larco Investments Ltd., but the Vancouver, B.C.-based real estate company has no experience in gaming.

Enter Paulos, a longtime casino exec who held top posts at Circus Circus and Primadonna Resorts before heading up the Greektown casino project in Detroit. He also was chairman of the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.

A principal in the Millennium Management Group, Paulos is a partner with Bill Wortman and Guy Hillyer, another former Circus Circus and Primadonna executive who also served a stint on the Gaming Control Board. The Las Vegas-based Millennium manages the $147 million Greektown casino, which is owned by the Sault Ste. Marie (Mich.) Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Paulos, who was not available for comment at press time, has extensive experience in casino operations. While president at Primadonna, he helped to develop New York-New York.

Named UNLV’s “outstanding alumnus” last year, he has maintained close connections with top gamers. He recruited another Circus Circus/Mandalay exec, Mike Mecca, to be chief operating officer at Greektown.

Like Mecca, who is now back honchoing the Green Valley Station project, Paulos appears ready to focus his attention on Vegas. Though Wortman owns Renata’s in Henderson and the Nevada Palace on Boulder Highway, Millennium owns no properties here.

Licensed in multiple jurisdictions, Paulos should have no problem obtaining regulatory approval, sources say.

But one insider cautioned that other candidates could still be lurking in the wings. “This may mean the field has been narrowed down to one. Or it may just be that Paulos is the first guy (Larco) feels comfortable with,’’ the source said.

The Regent sold for $80 million this fall, a far cry from the $276 million Seven Circle Resorts shelled out to open the 461-room resort two years ago. Larco ”” which beat out four other finalists, including a joint bid by Omni Hotels Corp. of Irving, Texas, and Peccole Nevada Corp. ”” has real estate holdings throughout the United States and Canada, including hotels, shopping centers, office and industrial buildings, apartment complexes, mobile home parks and storage facilities.

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