Bye-bye Stardust, hello Borgata West! That’s the skinny making the rounds, and, I might add, worth listening to.
A pipe in the know says Boyd Gaming is drafting plans for a Vegas version of the Borgata, which will replace the Stardust Hotel on the Strip.
"Nothing is ready for public consumption, but the early word is the new hotel will be a palace, along the lines of its Atlantic City counterpart," the pipe said.
The project could cost in excess of $1 billion, and if the Boyd group can’t come up with the bullets, a partner with deep pockets could be waiting in the wings.
The Stardust has been a Strip landmark since it was built in 1958 by L.A. mobster Tony Cornero, who ran the gambling ships that cruised off the coast of California.
Besides its famous race and sports book, the Stardust was noteworthy for opening the first topless show in Las Vegas, the Lido de Paris in 1959.
The hotel celebrated its 45th anniversary in July, and even though it will eventually fall to the wrecking ball, the Stardust has enjoyed a solid cash flow of about $15 million a year.
The decision to redevelop the Stardust site was probably influenced by the anticipated 2005 opening of Steve Wynn’s new resort across the street.
END OF AN ERA! It’s unlikely that anyone who has read the columns in the Daily Racing Form, or its former Eastern counterpart, the Morning Telegraph, is unfamiliar with the byline, Joe Hirsch. For more than half a century, Hirsch’s prose has enlightened and entertained horseplayers.
His was a mission to promote the sport he loved. He wasn’t writing to advise readers on what horse to bet, but he never permitted outstanding performances to go unnoticed.
There probably isn’t a racetrack personality in America who knows more racetrack people, whether they be multi-millionaire horse owners, track operators, or ordinary $2 players. Hirsch not only knew them, he loved them. And they loved him.
Last week, Joe announced he was "packing it in."
All of racing will be the loser.
ONLY A MATTER OF TIME: Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf, who has been consistent in his opposition to the expansion of gambling in the U.S., had another fight on his hands recently. The issue of sovereign status for six Indian tribes, all located in his home state, has surfaced.
With the support of most of the politicians in Virginia, a bill is moving through the Senate that would grant sovereign status to the six tribes. But, Wolf says the bill supporting the Indians does not prohibit them from establishing casino gambling.
As it stands, there is no casino gambling in Virginia, either permitted by state law, or by gaming compact with Native Americans.
Not to worry, says Gov. Mark Warner. He said the recognition bill, when combined with existing law, will ensure that there won’t be any gambling initiated without government approval.
THE BATTLE’S GETTING UGLY! "That was a nasty situation that developed in Bangor (Maine) last weekend. Gov. (John) Baldacci did the smart thing when he cancelled a rally he had planned to generate opposition to the casino vote," reported our East Coast pipe.
"A rowdy crowd of casino supporters showed up. It looked like they were itching for a fight. They were swearing and using racial slurs, just trying to get something started.
"Fortunately, the governor’s security people realized that nothing good would be accomplished and, in fact, a riot might follow so they cancelled the anti-casino rally," said our correspondent.
Supporters of the casino vote (scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 4) said the people who staged the rally just overreacted. They denied that the casino supporters wanted a confrontation. "They just wanted to voice their own opinion," said a spokesman.