Remembering... 2001 Maloofs open Palms

Sep 22, 2015 3:00 AM

This week 14 years ago George Maloof gave the media, including yours truly, an up close and personal tour of his “baby” – the $265 million Palms Casino Resort.

“Things are going so well, I moved the opening date up a month,” said Maloof, whose family at that time also owned the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

The 42-story pleasure palace opened in November and is still the cornerstone of Flamingo and Wynn Roads.

While Palms was a definite step up in Vegas casino development, the downside was occurring on the Strip with the troubled times of Aladdin.

GT contributing writer Ken Ward reported that the $1 billion hotel/casino jointly owned by London Clubs International and the Sommer Family Trust was $500 million in debt. Sadly, Aladdin went to dust.

Ward was also breaking news regarding state regulators re-examining the $20K minimum salon bet. That figure was derived from a survey of high-rollers who said their average bet exceeded that amount.

The tragedy of 9/11 was only two weeks removed and the impact was severely felt in Atlantic City. Industry officials estimated a 10 percent reduction in gross revenue.

Back in Vegas, the Bangles (“Eternal Flame,” “Manic Monday,” “Walk Like An Egyptian,” “Hazy Shade of Winter”) were performing at Mandalay Beach, Trisha Yearwood (before marrying Garth Brooks) was booked at the Las Vegas Hilton and the Orleans had both Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell.

Finally, the Nevada coalition and Playboy’s Christie Hefner were pushing for Internet gaming. Hard to believe this was the thought back in 2001 compared to what it has become today.

Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Twitter: @MarkMayerGT Email: [email protected]