Magic Man set to ‘dig in’ at Le Reve

May 21, 2002 10:41 AM

GRAB A SHOVEL: That’s what CNBC "Power Lunch" host Bill Griffeth suggested to Steve Wynn during an interview on Monday.

Griffeth had advised his listeners that Wynn was about to break ground on his $1.6 billion Le Reve project during the interview. But, when Wynn was brought on he told Griffeth that the ground breaking would take place later in the week.

That’s when Griffeth asked Wynn, "Have you got a shovel”¦we can do it right now."

QUEEN FOR A DAY, ALMOST: Nancy Alberts nearly wore the crown of a queen on Saturday when her horse, Magic Weisner (promised Wisner) made a strong run in late stretch but failed to catch Preakness winner War Emblem by just three-quarters of a length. To see the joyous celebration at her barn after the race, however, you would have thought that she had caught the gold ring.

Magic Weisner easily qualified as the "rags to riches" starter in the race. He was sired by an obscure Maryland stallion and his dam was bought for $1 and was raced many times in $1,500 claiming events. A far cry from the $900,000 Prince Salman shelled out for War Emblem.

The gelding brings back fond memories of Jack Price and his classic winner Carry Back. Here again, the horse was bred "by the side of the road" as they say in racing. He was by nobody, out of nobody, but he had a heart that rivaled the greats of the sport.

Still too early to focus on Magic Weisner’s future but wouldn’t it be ironic if this former claimer jumped up and blocked War Emblem’s hope for a Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes.

OFF-SHORE BOOKS FEELING THE HEAT: Nevada gaming regulators have been fielding complaints from people who say they’ve been stiffed by off-shore sports books. "This happens too frequently," said Keith Copher, chief of the enforcement division. Copher said there’s not much Nevada can do to companies outside of the country. The Gaming Control Board recently sent a cease and desist order to a wayward sports book, but so far no response. The operator of the off-shore book was making claims to customers that the operation was regulated by Nevada’s Gaming Commission! Talk about your bald-face untruths! Remember, it’s against the law for a Nevadan to place a wager outside the state.

GETTING AN EARLY START: Company officials won’t admit it but word out of Massachusetts is that Isle of Capri is on the prowl for a casino site in the Bay State’s northeast region.

"Lawrence’s Mayor Sullivan said last week that he has been contacted by both officials of the riverboat company and more recently by a group purportedly working for Isle of Capri," reported a Northeast pipe.

"The mayor said that the group not only surveyed potential land-based sites but also was considering a barge on the Merrimack River. Seems like the group might be premature in their search since the state lawmakers seem to be a long way from considering privately-operated casinos.

"If anything is on the horizon, it would be an Indian casino probably operated by the Wampanoags. But, knowing just how the political minds work in this state, anything could happen," he concluded.

HOW STRONG IS BRAND X? Corporate suits like to talk about the branding of their product or their industry or their whatever. In fact, there’s a heavy marketing emphasis these days on establishing "name brands," whether it’s your casino or latest slot machine.

But one of the country’s top pollsters, Peter Yesawich, CEO of Yesawich, Pepperdine and Brown, revealed the results of a national travel survey that indicated consumers are longer as loyal as they once were to hotel brands such as Hilton, Ramada, Holiday Inn, etc.

Instead, Yesawich said, consumers these days are most loyal to the lowest price! Something to keep in mind when preparing your advertising budgets!

TIME TO GET WET AND WILD! With summer practically upon us, it’s a good time to unfurl that new designer bathing suit and head to the Plaza for its free pool parties. They’re held every Thursday evening on the Plaza Sports Deck, and they feature a (Gulp!) Wet T-Shirt Contest with girls from The Crazy Horse Too. If that’s not enough to get your blood pumping, there’s food, fun, a live DJ and $500 in cash prizes. What a way to spend the summer!

ODDS GET BETTER AT FITZGERALDS: Effective immediately, Fitzgeralds has increased its craps odds to 10 times. That’s better than nearly 95 percent of the casinos in town. "We listened to our guests and decided it was time to improve the odds at our craps tables," said Theo Smith, director of table games. Fitzgeralds was recently purchased by Don Barden, who has vowed to make other "player-friendly" changes in the months ahead. He is currently renovating the outside of the building, and plans to make some changes to the casino floor, which will involve the existing slot inventory.