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Leroy’s placing bet
on MonteLago’s potential

Jul 20, 2004 4:42 AM

Maybe, MonteLago bit off more than it could chew.

"It’s just a matter of waiting for Leroys to get approved and then it’s a done deal," said Rob Terch, the current sports book director at Casino MonteLago at luscious Lake Las Vegas.

Leroys will inherit a book that simply did not draw the core crowd that was hoped for when the magnificent facility opened several years ago.

"A lot of the problem was getting the word out because we are not located around the corner," said Terch, who entered the gaming business as a writer at Caesars Palace for Vinny Magiulo in 1990.

"Yeah, maybe a lot of people didn’t know we were out there," Terch said. "When I called Gaming and they didn’t even know we were out there, it was a sign of trouble."

Terch is still running operations at the book and will continue to do so until the expected turnover to Leroy’s takes place. Until then, Terch is weighing his options and hoping to stay in the business.

"Downtown is a possibility," he said. "I was so excited about the MonteLago when the book opened, but they might have come out a couple of years too soon. The area is developing, but not to the degree when people would come out here on a regular basis. I think advertising could have been handled better. Word of mouth wasn’t enough."

MonteLago is a 40-minute ride from the Strip, a few miles past where I-215, Lake Mead Road and the Boulder Highway come together. The scenery is spectacular and the adjacent Lake Las Vegas golf course, site of the annual Wendy’s 3 Tour special event, is one of the top courses in the nation.

"The plan is for Leroys to be running things before football season," Terch said. "I heard that they were going to put a kiosk out here during the week and then have a person in the sports book on weekends during the football season.

Terch also worked at the Frontier prior to being appointed to be the first sports book manager at Casino MonteLago.

Plaza sweet by football

Right now the Las Vegas Club is taking sports book bets for the Plaza, but that will change before the football season kicks off in late August.

"It’s premature to discuss our entire plans for the Plaza, but I can say we will be innovative and that people will be quite surprised with all the twists and turns," said Phil Flaherty, the resort’s chief executive officer.

Years ago, the Plaza was Michael Gaughan’s baby. Flaherty has high hopes the downtown gaming site will carve a niche that will be a model in Vegas.

"I can guarantee that we will do things no other sports book has done in the past and turn it wide open in a way no other sports book has done before," Flaherty said.

Flaherty would only say at this time that the changes would "be radical and grab attention." The changes would first involve the sports book this year and then focus on the race book in 2005.

"I will be directly involved in both projects," Flaherty said. "The Plaza will be our hub."