G2E showcases the future while we remember the past and Caesars Palace's Mokey

G2E showcases the future while we remember the past and Caesars Palace's Mokey

September 27, 2016 3:09 AM
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On Monday the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) kicked off at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, showcasing the casino industry’s latest and greatest ideas and innovations, giving casino executives from around the world a look at the future.

On the same day, across the valley at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, family, friends and many from the casino industry bid farewell to one of the great casino executives of yesterday. He was a man who knew gaming inside and out, and who had a way with people that brought in customers better than any fancy marketing plan – and kept them coming back.

Albert “Mokey” Faccinto Sr., who died Sept. 17 at the age of 91, was probably best known from his days at Caesars Palace. He helped open the casino in 1966 as a shift boss in the dice pit, later moving up to casino manager. He was with the company nearly 20 years, retiring in 1985 as senior vice president of casino operations.

Mokey learned the gambling business growing up in Steubenville, Ohio, working in the back-room casinos there and later in other cities around the country, eventually landing in Las Vegas. Before taking the job at Caesars, he worked at a number of casinos here including the Dunes, Fremont, Flamingo, Riviera, Las Vegas Club and El Cortez.

It was during the late 1970s that the late Chuck DiRocco first met Mokey. It seems Chuck’s favorite way to relax after a hard day at the office was to belly up to a blackjack table, and Caesars Palace was often his casino of choice.

The two became friends and often shared stories that sometimes seemed incredible but they were true, including one about a gambler who always played with a real live monkey on his back because he thought it brought him good luck. Although the monkey was well-behaved, other customers complained and Mokey lamented that he finally had to tell the player he could not bring the monkey in any more.

In those days, there were no fancy computer algorithms to analyze players and determine who deserved a free show or dinner or other special privileges. It was up to the casino hosts, pit bosses and managers. Mokey was an expert. He could shake a player’s hand, look him in the eye and know what kind of player he was.

That’s the way it was back then. And it served Las Vegas well.

Today, things have changed. The lights seem brighter, the bells ring louder and the town has moved from high-class elegance to fast-paced hustle and bustle.

Millennials – most of who weren’t even born yet when Mokey retired – are now the main target of marketing. They aren’t necessarily gamblers but they are the new “bread and butter” of the casino business.

There are night clubs and day clubs; companies are ready to launch skill-based games and the big buzz at G2E this year is legalizing sports betting everywhere, eSports and fantasy sports.

It is a fascinating look at what is happening in every facet of gaming.

But before we delve into the fast-paced future of casinos, we will take a moment, say a prayer, and remember Albert “Mokey” Faccinto Sr., one of the best things to ever happen to Caesars Palace, a loyal friend and a super sweet man.

Mokey was preceded in death by his wife, Helen. He is survived by his sons Albert Jr. and John, daughters Barbara Bowman and Mary Ann Mikulich; 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

For those who wish to give in remembrance of Mokey, the family has suggested donations be made to Keep Memory Alive benefitting the Cleveland Clinic-Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and/or Catholic Charities Adoption Agency.

See you around town.