At some point on Saturday – Derby Day – Vinny Magliulo plans to take a tour of the area surrounding the Las Vegas Dissemination Company’s offices on Spanish Ridge Ave.
Just to make sure his worst nightmare doesn’t happen again.
Magliulo is vice president of corporate relations for LVDC, which is the link between Nevada’s race books and horse tracks throughout the country, including Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.
LVDC serves as the middle man, monitoring tracks and providing race information to the books here plus, most importantly, implementing the pari-mutuel system that allows Nevada’s bettors to be part of the wagering pools as if they were at each track while eliminating any financial risk for the local racebooks.
It was 18 years ago that LVDC went down on horse racing’s biggest day of the year. Real Quiet was the Kentucky Derby winner. For LVDC, it was too quiet.
“The phone company came out and decided to do some work on the weekend without telling anybody,” said Magliulo, who helped run the race and sports operations for Caesars Palace at the time. “They inadvertently severed all connectivity between Nevada’s racebooks and LVDC.
“Nevada’s racebooks had to book the Derby that day (on their own, instead of being part of the track’s pari-mutuel pool). I’m not taking any chances anymore. I will drive around the complex just to play it safe.”
LVDC has gone to great lengths to try to avoid any similar problems.
It has not one, not two, but three connection systems in place. A backup for the backup.
“John (Gaughan, president and CEO) invested in multiple-system redundancy to insure there would be no interruptions of service,” said Bob Engel, vice president of operations. Magliulo added: “As an extra precaution, we have a backup data center about five miles from here that could be up and running within 48 hours.”
The week leading up to the first Saturday in May is always a busy – but exciting – time in the horse-racing industry. Magliulo estimates around $10.6 million will be bet in Nevada on the horses Saturday, including nearly $6.8 million on the Derby alone.
It will all start with Wednesday’s announcement of the post positions. Pari-mutuel wagering on the Derby begins Thursday morning.
LVDC, which features a control room of nearly 100 televisions to monitor every track, will be ready for the big day. The company was founded in 1988 by Gaughan, a third-generation gaming guru in Vegas.
“It was great vision on his part,” Magliulo said.
Most people watching the Derby in a Vegas racebook probably won’t know LVDC even exists. They’ll simply take for granted the odds they see from the track will be the same as they receive in Nevada, which has been part of the pari-mutuel system for 25 years now.
LVDC serves 82 racebooks in this state and close to 150 tracks around the country, including thoroughbred, harness and greyhound.
“We get the wagers into the pools at the track,” Magliulo said. “Patrons get paid full track odds by virtue of that commingling. All of the accounting/reconciliation is done as well (by LVDC). It all flows through us.
“It’s complex, but I work with some amazing people. They make it simple. The people behind the scenes here make it very seamless.
“If every racebook had to directly interface to every racetrack, it would really be cost prohibitive for them.”
LVDC is also involved in the push to bring mobile race betting to Nevada, similar to what is already available to sports bettors.
Magliulo considers it a much-needed addition to help boost race-betting handles.
“We are working with the technology providers in the industry to make that possible,” he said. “I’m hopeful that by the time we get to Breeders’ Cup (in November), there will at the very least be a field trial for the race mobile app.”
Magliulo said it’s going to be “all hands on deck” at LVDC on Saturday.
“We’re fans,” he said. “We’re excited when it’s Derby Day with the traditions and the volume of business. It’s the focus of the sports world that day.”
Magliulo is allowed to bet, but he said he’ll leave that to his wife, Leslee.
“She’s from Kentucky,” he said. “It’s a holy day in my house. I let her handle all of the handicapping, especially on Derby Day.”
All he’s worried about is making sure no one cuts the wrong cable.
Dave Dye is a former sportswriter for the Detroit News and FoxSportsDetroit.com. He has covered six Stanley Cup Finals, five Final Fours, three NBA Finals, three Rose Bowls and one World Series. Email: [email protected].