Phone bettorsdisconnected!

Jan 27, 2004 7:51 AM

RED TAPE STRANGLES ACCOUNTS! "Just found out that the MGM Grand has shut down all of its telephone accounts used by locals to place their sports bets," reported a pipe.

"Doesn’t it seem odd that they would do this during a period when Super Bowl betting frenzy is in full swing?" he asked.

He added that, when he asked a hotel employee why the telephone accounts were closed down, she replied: "We felt it was no longer economically feasible."

An inquiry by GamingToday elicited this explanation:

"True, the economic feasibility was the motivation. (Nevada Gaming Control Board) requires that each participant be given a pager and that our existing system be upgraded. The cost would be substantial. Also, each account user is restricted to betting a maximum of $2,200 per day which would be insufficient to justify the additional expenses."

The same story was coming out of The Mirage. Apparently, the low betting limits, high cost of supplying pagers and other administrative mumbo jumbo spelled the death knell for telephone accounts.

First, we lost the horserace contests to the new Minimum Control Standards. Now, phone accounts are in the rear view mirror. I shudder to imagine what’s next!


IS NBA IN LAS VEGAS’ FUTURE? The league isn’t very keen on a pro basketball franchise coming to Sin City, but two of its most prominent team owners like the idea.

Dallas’ Mark Cuban and Sacramento’s Gavin Maloof were recently overheard saying they would put Vegas first atop a list of potential new franchises.

While discussing the topic of expansion, Mavs owner Cuban and Kings’ Maloof said during a conference call that Las Vegas was their top choice for a 31st franchise, whenever the league is ready to expand again. A 30th team starts next season in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Because of legalized gambling, the NBA in the past has stated they wouldn’t consider a franchise here unless betting on the NBA was removed from casinos.

The city of Las Vegas popped up in the conversation when someone mentioned that Baltimore could be the NBA’s next market.

That’s when Cuban piped in, "Baltimore possibly, but my first bet would be Las Vegas."

"I would second that," Maloof said.

There’s a nice daily double for Vegas!


WILL ”˜SAINT’ COME MARCHING IN? Stan Fulton sure hopes so. Fulton, the former Las Vegan who founded and formerly operated Anchor Gaming, has spent a fortune to acquire young horses that can run fast enough to win stakes races. And, he’s been modestly successful. Until now.

Recently, at Santa Anita, his three-year-old hope for this year’s Kentucky Derby, a colt named "St. Averill" had a number of people running to the windows to make futures wagers when the colt came from back of the pack to win the Santa Catalina Stakes going away.

Trainer Rafael Becerra is considering the San Felipe Stakes on March 13 as the next race for the son of Saint Ballado who brought $500,000 at the yearling sale. That race should be a prep for the Santa Anita Derby and a plane ride to Louisville, Ky., for the first Saturday in May.


MYSTERY MAN IN ENGLAND: According to press reports, a "mystery man" casino developer from Las Vegas, planned to spend this past weekend in England checking out sites for a new casino.

The developer was scheduled to meet with the owner of a sports complex in Bournemouth, England, to discuss the possibility of converting the property into a casino site. He also was scheduled to check other sites along the English South Coast including both Southampton and Portsmouth.

Betting was that if the mystery developer decides to make a pitch for a casino in the U.K., the likely site will be in Portsmouth.

"Of course," said an observer, "nothing will happen unless there are some radical changes in England’s gaming laws."


JUST GUNNING TO BE FIRED: Florida’s Broward County thought something was amiss with a miss who worked as a detention deputy when one of the inmates began complaining that some personal goods were coming up missing.

Investigation focused on a nine-year veteran who acknowledged that she had a gambling problem.

As a result of the probe, she was fired and asked to surrender her badge, weapon and county identification.

"Sorry," she said, but she was forced to pawn her service revolver to help cover gambling debts.


VEGAS’ AIRPORT TAKES OVER NO. 1! There was a changing of the guard, of sorts, that took place quietly last week. Phoenix, which for years has staked the claim as Southwest Airlines’ busiest hub, lost the title to Las Vegas!

Just a single flight separates the two cities, but the subtle shift underscores the emphasis the airlines place on the vacation and convention mecca.

Southwest added 13 flights out of Las Vegas last year, and says it could be up to 200 daily departures by the end of this year. American Airlines just added nine flights and will add 10 more by the end of April.

What is astonishing about the airlines’ Vegas growth is that it is coming on top of a large base for both carriers.

Airline experts say that while las Vegas was hit hard after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it began to rebound far more quickly than other travel spots.

Boosted by its international appeal, 24-hour attractions, constant evolution and huge advertising budget, Las Vegas is on spectacularly solid footing.