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Little Big Men: Eldorado keeping heads well above Water

Jan 29, 2002 3:50 AM

Eldorado sports book director Wayne Braddock enjoys building the downtown Henderson establishment as “the consummate locals casino.”

Braddock doesn’t consider his business as a job, rather a place where he gains the most enjoyment.

“We have Direct TV for the first time and now we’re linked to the Stardust lines and limits,” smiled Braddock, who has been at Eldorado for 6½ years. “Only in America can you talk sports with people and get paid for it.”

There are no electronic boards at El dorado, just plenty of magic markers and labels to outline the day’s activities and odds. It’s Las Vegas gaming the way things used to be.

“I don’t ever want a real job again,” said Braddock, who also employs two full-time and two part-time people on his staff. “We open around 7 a.m. and close at 8:30 p.m. most of the time, depending on big events like the Super Bowl. Then our hours could change a bit.”

While newer establishments such as Green Valley Ranch and Fiesta Henderson are going up around the Eldorado, the Water Street mainstay has received a boost from Boyd Gaming and continues to push forward with a steady and loyal client base.

“Here, everyone knows everyone and it’s a great environment,” Braddock said. “We had a nice crowd in here for the NFL playoffs and I am sure we will do well for the Super Bowl. We’re not big, but we manage to keep everyone through great service and just, plain being friendly.”

Braddock has had his opportunities to move, but said he is comfortable at Eldorado and wants to stay there.

“I was 45 years old when I moved here,” he said. “I was in the printing industry for 29½ years until things went bad during the recession of 1991 and ’92. It was then I decided to get into the casino business and I haven’t ever regretted the switch.”

Braddock even admitted he has attracted a few customers by sticking away some GamingToday newspapers.

“I really believe it’s the most popular paper in Las Vegas as far as gaming is concerned,” he said. “To be a part of the Bookies Battle in pro football was great. It gave the Eldorado credibility and for a small place like us, it really means something to be competing with the best in the business.”

The Eldorado attracts mostly a blue-collar customer, which means the bets generally involve $20 parlays.

“Some may bet $100, but there isn’t nearly the pressure of holding large sums of cash and possibly taking huge losses,” he said. “I enjoy taking the bets and just talking sports with the customers. They are all my friends and I like to think they enjoy coming to the Eldorado as well.”