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Hilton sheds new light on SuperBook

Jun 29, 2004 6:09 AM

The Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook is a registered trademark. Nobody else can use that description. But even SuperBooks can be improved.

"Some of the luster was lost over the years," said Jay Kornegay, who came over from Imperial Palace last month to run the race and sports book. "The Hilton did not have the resources to keep up with the competition. The size of our television screens was not updated in quite a long time. Now with new enhancements and updates in technology, we will bring this place back into prominence."

Not that the Hilton book was hurting — over 30,000 square feet in length — but maybe the famed casino resort was basking more on reputation than reality.

"You walk into the book and the size hits you right away," said Kornegay, who made a reputation in the gaming industry for his innovative proposition bets. "But I also saw how dark it was and how the technology was behind what a quality book like this should provide. That’s going to change immediately."

Colony Resorts, the new corporate owners, has committed nearly $90 million for an across the board upgrade, according to Kornegay.

"We will replace our big screens with electronic boards and install Nevada’s largest ticker right above the sports counter that will extend over 75 feet," Kornegay said. "We will have plasma television screens that will have new projectors and bulbs. This book is going to get brighter. That dark feeling will vanish."

The Hilton will also place a greater emphasis on the race side without sacrificing the sports end. Symbolically, management plans to return the statue of Man O’ War from outside the book to inside. Visibly, the race section will expand, more comfortable seating provided, televisions added to the seating areas and contests will be abundant.

"In the Hilton’s glory days Man O’War was inside," Kornegay said. "Outside it’s a great meeting place, but now it’s time to bring him back where he belongs. It’s time we restored the rich tradition horse racing had here. Maybe we could build a Smarty Jones statue outside. I’d even settle for War Admiral or Seabiscuit."

As for contests, the Hilton will continue its annual Pick The Ponies that takes place prior to the Kentucky Derby and again before the Breeders’ Cup. In addition, Kornegay plans to institute weekly racing contests.

On the sports side, the Hilton will make a conscious effort to push its famed NFL SuperContest with entries scheduled to open Aug. 2.