The opening lines are up at Las Vegas Club and the carpet is down at the Plaza.
"Hopefully, we are about two or three weeks away from showcasing the new book," said Lou D’Amico director of race and sports operations at the Plaza. "Barrick is making so many upgrades here that we have to wait our turn."
Plaza will be the hub for race and sports wagering at the two downtown Barrick properties, while Las Vegas Club is the "satellite."
"Being a satellite doesn’t take anything away from Las Vegas Club," said Lou Nigro, the casino / hotel’s head of race and sports. "All the lines move from the Plaza and we then put them on our board. Customers can bet at both place. The numbers don’t differ. What’s new is that our approvals come from the hub."
Nigro is a veteran of the sports book scene, having come over with Nick Bogdonovich from Binion’s Horseshoe "way back when" and working for a short time at the Stardust."
"I like it better downtown," Nigro said. "You can be more liberal with spreads downtown and the customer has a much better opportunity to shop around for a favorable line. I’ve always believed that if a line opens with one team favored by a point and there is movement the other way, you shouldn’t make the game a pick. Go —1 the other way. Heck, the game is not going to end in a tie."
Nigro would like to see Las Vegas Club take advantage of what he feels is "a large underdeveloped area within the book." In other words, wasted space.
"I would love to see an electronic scoreboard here and big screen TVs added," he said. "We have a nice room here. It would be easy to draw a larger race and sports crowd by making those few additions. Those are things I hope for, but the opportunity here is great and I’m grateful to Barrick for the chance to make a difference."
Plaza improvements are more imminent, beginning with the brand new carpet.
"It was a long time between carpets," D’Amico quipped. "It really adds to the room. Barrick has committed to redesign the entire race and sports book in its plan to refurbish the entire hotel. I wish we could have been ready for the Breeders Cup, but we should be able to get in on the final weeks of the NFL regular season"
D’Amico recently hired Mike Colbert as race and sports manager at the Plaza. Colbert is one of the bright, young faces in the industry having learned his trade under D’Amico and Chuck Esposito at Caesars Palace.
"When I got the call from Lou about the position, I was really excited," Colbert said. "It was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. The new book will show people that downtown is on its way back, and that’s great to be a part of."