Kitt Langvad has been at the Decatur site of Arizona Charlie’s for every one of its 26 years. There’s still some of the Old Vegas left, but the wallboards are starting to disappear and even a kiosk may show up soon.
In the meantime, March Madness is upon us and the loyal customer base is coming again in big numbers.
“Oh you got lazy on me,” Langvad said noting she was being videotaped on my camera phone. “You got lazy on me.”
Nothing remotely lazy about Kitt, who, along with new marketing and special events manager Rodrick Averyhart, is pumping new energy into both the Decatur and Boulder Highway properties.
“We have t-shirts we’ll give out for the NCAA basketball tournament for a $20 parlay or a $50 straight bet,” Langvad said. “Free popcorn and $1 hot dogs will be offered for the Final Four and championship game along with $2 Bud drafts. Our way of promoting the friendliness of our book.”
And that’s the way it has always been through the years at Arizona Charlie’s and at the parent company at Stratosphere. It’s all about creating a family atmosphere and making the locals feel at home.
“We’re definitely hoping for big numbers for March Madness,” Langvad said. “Weekends are real good here. Weekdays are slower than the Strip because our players are locals and they work.”
While there is still an Old Vegas feel to the casino, changes are noticeable. The race and sports book has been upgraded through the years into a much more comfortable seating plan. Also there is a place for both smokers and nonsmokers, which wasn’t the case through the years.
“All that is true, but I feel the biggest change has come citywide in the way bookmaking is done these days,” Langvad said. “We are corporate now and not the renegade bunch anymore.”
Also there are more TVs in the book and the kiosk craze will soon arrive here, perhaps within a couple of months, certainly before the NFL season begins.
“For sure we will do the kiosk,” Langvad said. “It’s the way to take bets 24 hours a day. Right now we don’t have plans for betting over the phone, but we are considering in-game wagering. I am interested in that.”
The wallboards are still around on the sports betting side, but not the horse racing portion. Langvad concedes it is a dying tradition.”
“It’s hard to get them fixed anymore and you can’t get those plaques,” she said. “I like those grease boards. Sometimes they are easier to read.”
Horse players can count on the book opening at 9 a.m. and closing around 10 p.m. when the last race is over. The book was originally designed for racing, but through the years sports has taken over.
“We will open at 8 a.m. during the basketball tournament,” Langvad said. “There is no contest in the immediate plans, but we’re open to one in the future. Our business is good and the main objective is to better accommodate the players. We are a friendly book.”
Certainly a lot more friendly than the crap table, but then most casinos are like that.
“Our customers are treated as family and they have no problem telling us what they do and don’t like,” Langvad said. “Lots of times it’s what games they want to watch. We do have guest service and lots of betting options like first half wagering.”
And the best way of promoting AC?
“Just say we are open for business, easy in easy out and very accommodating,” Langvad said. “That works for us.”
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].