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Nugget recaptures Vegas’ ‘Golden Age’

Mar 2, 2004 6:40 AM

This weekend, the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas will hold a grand opening highlighted by performances by Tony Bennett and Jewel in celebration of its new ownership.

New owners Tim Poster and Tom Breitling, who will host the Sunday concert along with tennis star Andre Agassi (a minority owner in the hotel), have vowed the Golden Nugget will launch a new era for downtown Las Vegas.

"As new owners of this legendary property, we are extremely excited to host these events," Poster said. "While this weekend is certainly a tremendous opportunity to show our appreciation to the Nugget’s loyal, longtime customers, and to attract new visitors to the property, we are particularly honored to be able to lend our support to Andre and the fine work his organization does in Las Vegas."

Using the grand opening to formally commemorate their ownership of the Golden Nugget, Poster and Breitling will personally welcome guests, and rededicate the renowned Golden Nugget, which opened in downtown Las Vegas as a gambling hall in 1946, in "Old Las Vegas" style.

Among the touches planned for the weekend, Golden Nugget staff will be attired in tuxedoes, and vintage playing cards featuring a historic Golden Nugget Gambling Hall logo will be used throughout the casino.

In addition, some of the blackjack tables will be outfitted with felt gaming layouts featuring original photos of the property and historic logos.

One thousand limited edition commemorative gaming chips of various denominations will be circulated throughout the weekend for gaming memorabilia enthusiasts.

Classic food specials, including Beef Wellington and other time-honored recipes, will be served in all the Golden Nugget restaurants.

"We love the idea of integrating the style of ”˜Old Las Vegas’ classics with new, innovative approaches," Breitling said. "In fact, we intend to make exciting enhancements to the property’s entertainment, dining and casino floor over the coming months, as well as to further personalize the service our guests receive."

The new owners have also taken steps to improve the gambling experience for players and aggressively attract new casino customers. Changes include higher blackjack limits, higher craps odds, more sports parlays and favorable betting lines.

"We’re implementing new limits in the casino and race and sports book, which is going to be incredibly attractive to players," Poster said. "This will be particularly appealing to premium players because higher limits will give them even bigger payouts."

Blackjack limits will reach $5,000 per hand in the regular casino and up to $15,000 in the high-limit area.

Craps players will find higher odds with 6, 8 and 10 times odds available with $60,000 maximum payouts.

Race and sports bettors, as noted in last week’s GamingToday story, will find more money lines, totals and halftime bets, as well as daily parlays for college and pro basketball, and goal and money lines for NHL hockey.

The Golden Nugget is also offering golf match-ups every week, as well as match-ups for parlay cards for NASCAR.

Beginning this Wednesday, the race book kicks off its progressive Twin Quin, a twin quinella that starts at $5,000 and grows until hit. And for the upcoming baseball season, the Golden Nugget will add a dime line for bettors.

The Golden Nugget also raises the bar for entertainment in downtown Las Vegas with the return of Spirit of the Dance to the hotel’s Theater Ballroom beginning March 9.

Bursting with energy, Spirit of the Dance features Irish dance combined with passionate Latino rhythms of tango, flamenco and red-hot salsa.

The Irish dance show is just part of the new wave of entertainment options debuting at the Nugget. Others include jazz vocalist Matt Dusk and weekend DJ’s in Zax restaurant, and several bands performing in the Oasis lounge.

Adding to the Golden Nugget festivities, the Fremont Street Experience is planning a special tribute to the Golden Nugget during the NASCAR weekend jam, including classic car displays, light and sound show featuring a historical montage, and a concert by tribute entertainers.

Also, throughout the weekend, entertainers such as The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Exile and The Rat Pack Revue will perform on Fremont Street Experience stages.