Frank “Jack” Plevo was not at all about the Las Vegas Strip. He’d rather hang out at his place, Skyline Casino on Boulder Highway, and call everybody pal.
“That’s how he referred to people he liked, and pal meant everyone who came into the Skyline,” said Rick Rayburn, the casino chip manager/purchasing and housekeeping director. “Jack was a really outgoing, super guy. You could just feel the energy when he was in charge.”
It’s been exactly one month since Plevo passed away. Truth be told, he stayed away from the Skyline once he and his lifetime partner John Kish sold the property to Jim Marsh in 2003. Yet his presence was greatly felt by both customers and employees over that 10-year absence.
“He was the background that built Skyline,” said Rayburn, who started in 1986. “Jack was an actual pit boss. He worked an eight-hour shift, five days a week, and was also the casino chip manager. Everyone had to come to him for dinner comps and prizes.”
Skyline has evolved since 2003, a product of the times when it became necessary to become more modernized in order to keep up with the competition.
“He and John ran the place all the time,” Rayburn said. “When the place was sold, I don’t think they wanted to see something they built changed. This started as a small tavern. There were table games originally, but it really just turned into a slots place.”
Rayburn said the ambiance of Skyline improved, but it remains very much Old Vegas. The original motel rooms are no longer there, but you can still park several feet away from the casino. You can’t say that about many places.
“That’s the beauty of being here,” Rayburn said. “If you go to Sunset Station, there’s quite a walk from self parking to the casino. Here you are right outside. We kept our license for table games and I think at some point there will be a demand to bring it back.”
That would probably please Jack if it were to happen. Legend has it he enjoyed having his favorite bottle of VO with everyone who came by Skyline to play and have fun.
“There’s no question this was his place and he is really missed,” Rayburn said. “It’s because of him that I wanted to work here and why I stayed.”
When Kish died in 2007, Plevo became the driving force in the administration of the Kish Foundation for which he donated $208,000 to the Community College of Southern Nevada.
“It is important to me to help students, who live in Henderson and are interested in the hospitality industry, to achieve their educational goals and be successful,” Plevo told a local newspaper several years ago.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Jack, but maybe this small tribute is a way of calling him pal.
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].