Gaming briefs

Jun 29, 2004 4:30 AM

Rio undergoing $80 million overhaul

The Rio continues its $80 million renovation with the ground-breaking of its new convention center earlier this month.

The first phase of the overhaul was the complete remodeling of its popular Carnival World Buffet.

Schedule for completion later this summer are a new front desk and lobby area, plus a new cocktail lounge with flair bartenders reminiscent of Tom Cruise in the hit move, "Cocktail."

Also planned is an upgrade of the All-American Bar and Grill, and the expansion of its Voodoo Lounge nightclub. That makeover will include an outdoor staircase connecting the two penthouse patios, an aerial disc-jockey platform and go-go dancer cages.

Alexis Park to evolve into high-rise

The Alexis Park resort on East Harmon Avenue, which raised eyebrows when it opened in 1987 without a casino, will be completely remade into an all-new luxury hotel and casino with nearly 1,000 rooms in a 15-story tower.

The existing 500 guestrooms — many of them townhouse-style luxury suites — will remain as high-end villas. Plans call for retention of most of the resort’s sprawling grounds, fountains and putting greens.

No exact date for the $210 million expansion has been set, but it will probably be about three to four years before the new hotel is ready.

Fine dining nothing to sniff at

There’s no doubt that the alluring aroma of haute cuisine enhances its appeal, but a restaurant at Lake Las Vegas is taking the issue to new heights with its "Aromatherapy Cuisine."

Chef Stephen Marshall of the Medici restaurant has begun spicing up his specialties with highly-aromatic oils and other ingredients, applied seconds before serving to enhance the fragrance of the meal.

An example of his handiwork would be his aromatic citrus salad with lavender meringue and honey ice cream accented with cardamom essence derived from the oils of a ginger-related Asian herb.

Now, if he can just get steamed cauliflower to smell like Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies.

Moran Jr. named to Gaming Commission

Apparently, keeping track of "wildlife" in the state of Nevada is good experience to keeping tabs on casino operators and players.

Last week, Gov. Kenny Guinn appointed attorney John Moran Jr., who serves on the state Board of Wildlife Commissioners, to replace outgoing Nevada Gaming Commissioner Augie Gurrola.

Moran will assume his new position on July 26, when he formally resigns from the Wildlife Board.

A practicing attorney in Las Vegas, Moran is the son of former Clark County Sheriff John Moran. His clients have included the Stratosphere, UNLV basketball coach Bill Bayno and developer/high-stakes gambler Billy Walters.

A Steve Wynn slot machine?

At last month’s Gaming Commission meeting, casino mogul Steve Wynn mentioned he and his business partner, Kazuo Okada, are working on a secret new slot machine.

Although he would offer no details, Wynn said the machine would be a "rather radical" new design.

"I’m interested in a machine that says ”˜Wynn’ and that makes everyone else say ”˜wow,’" Wynn said.

Okada’s Japanese company, Universal Distributing Company (UDC), builds and distributes slots and other gaming devices to more than 40 countries.

Wynn said the new slot probably wouldn’t be ready for the opening of his new hotel-casino, Wynn Las Vegas, next April because it would have to be first approved by Nevada regulators.