AC East looking to find its niche

Aug 20, 2002 5:17 AM

Arizona Charlie’s East is very much a "live" dog on the Las Vegas gaming scene.

"We are the Cheers of books, a David in a world of Goliaths," said Patrick Rethore, race and sports manager at Arizona Charlie’s East (4575 Boulder Hwy). "We’ve been here only two years and have Boulder Station and Sam’s Town within shouting distance."

Rethore’s frustration at being the "small fish in a big pond" was given a morale boost two months ago when his site added nearly 50 more seats to the race and sports book.

"It shows that the people at Stratosphere care about us and that’s a real nice feeling," said Rethore, who work previously at Bally’s. "Our strength is personality. We don’t treat people like numbers. Too many writers around town have bad personalities. Not so here."

AC East wants to be innovative and attract people away from Boulder Station, but understands that AC West gets more publicity and has the edge in location (740 S. Decatur) and recognition (17 years).

"They are the only game in town over there," Rethore said. "There is competition from Suncoast and Rampart, but really West is all alone. Both West and East are tied to Stratosphere, so a lot of our promotions will be the same as theirs."

Rethore, however, has taken the offensive. East will offer seven different parlay cards for the college and NFL football season. Other props will available during the year.

"We have to find ways of getting the word out," he said. "We pride ourselves with being friendly and intimate. There is a great RV crowd that stays here so that provides a good start to what we want to accomplish."

Rethore is hopeful that AC East will have its parlay cards available by noon Wednesday, which would be the quickest in Las Vegas.

"We are fighting hard to get that done," he said. "It gives our customers that much more of an advantage and that’s exactly what we want."

The parlay cards figure to draw the most immediate response, but Rethore lists several aggressive promotions as part of his full-scale attack for customers.

”¡ A —105 line (five-cent vig) for three hours each Thursday on football bets.

”¡ 17 large screen TVs to accommodate football.

”¡ Monday night party/drawings featuring Miller Lite girls.

”¡ New 24-hour Bingo.

AC East has a staff of three supervisors and five writers under Rethore, who has already noticed an upswing in business.

"I am seeing a lot more tourists now than when I first came over," he said. West draws more locals because of its location. If we can attract 10 to 20 percent of Boulder Station’s clientele, we’ll be on our way.’’