THE PROBLEMS KEEP MOUNTING: "Don’t expect to see Shawn Scott operating a racino at Vernon Downs," reported our East Coast pipe over the weekend.
"I checked with a New York state legal authority and he was pretty adamant that Scott won’t get the necessary licenses to go forward with the upstate New York project.
"My source said that Scott might be granted a racing license from the N.Y. Racing & Wagering Board but definitely would be shut out by the Lottery Commission whose job it is to grant the license for video lottery machines.
As it turned out, the racing people turned down both Scott and his front man, Hoolae Paoa, although Scott’s lawyer said he is prepared to fight that decision since
his client poured millions of dollars into the operation after getting a temporary license last year.
"But, bottom line, said my source, Scott is dead meat in New York," the pipe concluded.
VEGAS NATIVE SON HITS NASCAR CIRCUIT! The word around the NASCAR circuit is that Brendan Gaughan, grandson of casino pioneer Jackie Gaughan and son of gaming mogul Michael Gaughan, is set to challenge the big boys on the NASCAR circuit beginning in February.
Gaughan, who has already made his mark on the Craftsman Truck series, has apparently joined the Roger Penske team that will be competing on the Nextel Cup circuit, formerly known as the Winston Cup.
The first event is February’s running of NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gaughan, who enjoyed great success in the NASCAR Truck Series, will join fellow Vegas resident Kurt Busch in the elite division of stock car racing.
Great job, Brendan, and we’re all pulling for you.
DÃ‰JÃ€ VU IN LOUISIANA!: In his new role as the operator of a horse track with video lottery machines attached, Bill Boyd, chairman and CEO of Boyd Gaming, saw the impact those slot machines have on the racing product.
He recently presided over a $1 million race at Delta Downs in Louisiana ”” quite a departure from the track’s recent history. Prior to the slots, purses rarely hit $50,000 for a racing program.
Also performing in a role that is quite different from his Las Vegas experience is Stan Fulton, founder and former chairman of Anchor Gaming. He now is a track operator and a major buyer of young stock for racing purposes.
The two met at Delta Downs where Fulton’s two-year-old Fire Slam made a valiant effort but just missed winning Boyd’s $1 million race.
That would have been quite a picture ”” Boyd and Fulton in a Louisiana racetrack winner’s circle!
ON THE CUTTING EDGE: Word out of Tucson, Ariz., where the racing elite gathered for the Symposium on Racing last week, is that Mandalay Resort Group is interested in a new approach to racing marketing.
It’s called "Hot Walkers" and it’s the brainchild of Andy Stronach, whose father, Frank, is chairman and founder of Magna Entertainment Corporation, the company that in the past four years has accumulated nearly a dozen racetracks.
The younger Stronach feels that little is being done to stimulate betting so he has come up with a self-serve wagering machine whose screen features the photos of some of his "Hot Walkers" girls. The machines offer the usual betting features as well as some other gimmicks that may or may not be approved by Nevada gaming regulators.
Still, the machines are in marked contrast with the customary betting devices and should attract a good many Las Vegas punters.
HAPPY ONE YEAR TO CANNERY! The Cannery in a few weeks celebrates its first anniversary, and what a year it’s been! Since it opened last January 3, the northside casino/hotel has grown to become one of the hot spots in the city.
And why shouldn’t it? It was developed by the same folks who run the Rampart in Summerlin.
If you want to join the party, stop by the Cannery beginning New Year’s Day, when you can drain free first aid Bloody Marys served by cocktail nurses. And on Friday, Jan. 2, the Cannery buffet will serve a special $15.95 seafood buffet.
There’s more party action on Jan. 3, from noon to 8 p.m., when you can feast on free cake and champagne, anniversary T-shirts and prize drawings.
Casino players should also check out all the promotions the Cannery will hold during the month.
For now let’s toast the Cannery’s success and wish them another great year!
WHO NEEDS MTV ON SUPER SUNDAY? The Super Bowl is football’s biggest event of the season, and now I’m told, MTV will produce the halftime show in Houston.
I have a simple question. Why?
I can’t imagine why any rock performer would want to take the stage at the bottom of a stadium and put on a 15 minute hip hop show. Nobody listens. The crowd is out of their seats buying hot dogs and beer or relieving themselves in the restrooms.
And we at home always flip away to other, more meaningful (and understandable) TV fare.
For its part, MTV says it plans even "more unexpected music performers that will go down in halftime history." The network wouldn’t name the performers, but it’s half right: They’ll go down all right, down in ignominy.
Look at the last time MTV staged a halftime show at the Super Bowl. It was in 2001, I believe, and the performers included Aerosmith, Nsync, Britney Spears, Nelly and Mary J. Blige.
Can anyone honestly say they remember that halftime show, except for Britney Spears (she has a knack for getting remembered).
In any case, who needs molar-rattling rock at a football game? I was perfectly content with the marching band and majorettes. Give me a baton-twirler any time!
A STAR IS BORN IN GREEN VALLEY! Station Casinos is known for producing first-class casino resorts, but now you can add a new star to its list: TV stars!
Executive Producer Craig Piligian, of "American Chopper" fame has chosen Green Valley Ranch Station as the showcase for "American Casino," his newest installment in the Discovery Channel’s wildly popular "American" TV series.
Production for the first season of "American Casino" begins in January on location at the resort.
"We wanted to create a show that takes viewers behind the scenes of a casino operation," Piligian said. "American Casino is a look at the hard work, pressure, and day-to-day business decisions the owners and managers must make for their operation to be successful."
Station operators Frank Fertitta III and his brother Lorenzo are at the top of the game in Las Vegas, and the family-run operation was attractive to Piligian, he said.
"(These) are real American success stories about people who are the best at what they do. The Fertitta brothers are the hottest hoteliers in town right now," said Piligian.
"American Casino" will take a look at just what it takes to woo the famous and infamous off the strip to the seclusion and privacy of Green Valley Ranch, and will highlight the day-to-day operations that have helped make the resort so popular.
Green Valley Ranch has actually been a favorite among television producers. CBS’s "CSI-Crime Scene Investigation," NBC’s "Las Vegas," Fox’s "Malcolm in the Middle" and TLC’s "A Dating Story" and "A Wedding Story" are some of the productions that have used Green Valley Ranch as the backdrop of recent episodes.
The show is scheduled to begin airing in June.