Stardust attracted the best and worst famous people

Stardust attracted the best and worst famous people

August 23, 2016 3:00 AM


Famous people wagered with us at the Stardust but sure went about it differently.

Famous, or infamous, QB Art Schlichter parlayed a horrible gambling addiction with a larcenous solution into a long prison sentence. Schlichter played college football for Ohio State, putting up big numbers while leading the Buckeyes to the 1980 Rose Bowl and 1981 Fiesta Bowl. He once threw for 458 yards in a game but also threw five interceptions in another game.

Schlichter was the fourth selection in the 1982 NFL Draft, the first choice of the Baltimore Colts, which snuck out of Baltimore, literally in the dark of night, and moved to Indianapolis. That’s kind of fitting for a sneaky Schlichter. Before his rookie season was over he had already blown his signing bonus. He was suspended for gambling before the following season, reinstated in 1984, and by 1986 was out of the league forever.

Art bet with us at the Stardust and what an unlucky bettor he was. He had no chance. His habit was so bad that whenever managing to cash a ticket or two he didn’t take the money. He had us take it directly to the betting counter so he could bet it all back. No matter how many thousands, he never took out enough for a meal or anything. He always managed to come up fresh though.

He might have been a better con artist than QB, spending time in and out of the can till his latest sentence  (in May 2012) of 10 years, seven months and ordered to pay $2.2 million restitution. I have no doubt he’ll come up with the 2.2 but they better get it before his bookie does.

On the other end of the betting spectrum was Jimmie Walker (aka JJ of the popular TV sitcom “Good Times”) who also bet with us. Jimmy was big time famous, easily recognizable and accessible while hanging out in the sportsbook. He was one of us, betting his $50 parlays and never accepting a comp. Those were his real Good Times.

Another incident remains fresh in my memory. Famous, or infamous to me, Reds catcher Johnny Bench made an appearance in the Stardust but not in the race and sportsbook. I’m sitting in my office, working hard and I’m informed Bench will meet with me, but won’t set foot in the book. Needless to say I wouldn’t move one foot to see him either.

Good Times, take care.