El Cortez book gives up
its ‘dinosaur’ title

Jun 29, 2004 5:44 AM

The El Cortez saw the pari-mutuels on the wall and turned its page on horserace wagering.

"We were the last of the dinosaurs," said Robert Vasquez, race and sports book supervisor. "It was time to upgrade. We’ve had a lot of positive reaction in the two weeks since we changed over."

The downtown casino was a longtime holdout to pari-mutuel wagering but, with new management, Vasquez said the timing was right to end a policy of booking its own races.

"Before, we were vanilla," Vasquez said. "Just trifecta and exacta betting. Now we’re having pick six and pick nine wagering, and using 10 tracks from Delaware to Hollywood."

Vasquez said he has seen a rise in horserace wagering in addition to "minor" sports such as the WNBA, NASCAR, baseball and hockey."

"We’re a small book, so we don’t provide the number of propositions bets like an Imperial Palace," Vasquez said. "But we do have the meat and potatoes. The advantage of not being a large book is that you get to know the customers. We have a loyal base here."