Issue 148
July 14-20, 2003
Volume 3
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News
Stardust Marks 45th Anniversary

Bobby Flay to Open First Restaurant Outside of New York at Caesars Palace

Imperial Palace Introduces Its New 'Dealertainers'

Tribe to Expand Casino, Add Games

New Airlines Serving Vegas


Show Time

Nero couldn't sing and Augustus couldn't dance, but when the Latin rhythms of Gloria Estefan take over The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, October 10-19 (dark October 13, 14 and 15), the entire Roman Empire is sure to shake


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Stardust Marks 45th Anniversary

LAS VEGAS - Stardust's owners, who managed what was once one of the Strip's swinging resorts, hope to parlay the property's retro appeal into new business in the future.

The Stardust, which is marking its 45th anniversary last week, was one of the biggest and nicest Strip resorts when it opened July 2, 1958. The resort's 105-foot pool and 16,500-square-foot casino were the biggest in the state at the time, and its marquee was the world's largest electric sign.

And even though the property lacks megaresort staples like exploding volcano-style entry statements, luxurious spas or trendy nightclubs, Chairman Bill Boyd says the property is still a money-maker for Boyd Gaming Corp.

"We still have very positive cash flows," Boyd said. Stardust cash flow was up 17.8 percent last year, to $15.1 million. The property's 2003 first quarter was also solid, with cash flow up 6.9 percent to $4.8 million.

Boyd admitted that the Stardust has seen flashier days but said those seeking retro Las Vegas style can find it at the Stardust. "It's Old Las Vegas, and we have a lot of customers who enjoy the classic Las Vegas experience," Boyd said.

While Boyd Gaming is celebrating its past, the company is also looking to the property's future. "The Stardust and its potential for redevelopment are important assets to our company," Boyd said, noting the company has not decided on any firm redevelopment plans for the Stardust site.

Boyd said, however, he expects to take his time deciding on development plans for the Stardust site. Results from his company's newly opened Borgata megaresort in Atlantic City and from Steve Wynn's planned 2005 opening of Wynn Las Vegas will figure into his calculus, he said.

Boyd bought the property and its downtown cousin the Fremont on Feb. 28, 1985, 16 months after state gaming regulators asked him to operate the Stardust while investigators sorted out skimming charges against its owners -- Al Sachs and Herb Tobman. Sachs and Tobman were eventually fined $3.5 million on skimming charges.

A Gaming Control Board member called Boyd in 1983 to ask whether the company could keep the Stardust's 2,000-plus employees working by operating the hotel and casino, he recalled. "The state of Nevada's been very good to us, and we owe something back," Chairman Bill Boyd recently said he thought at the time. "I was somewhat naive, because it was a war those first three months." But after reigning in some of the excesses of the prior regime, Boyd executives learned more about the property, enough to make them eager to bid on the Stardust and Fremont, Boyd said.

The company's roots were in downtown Las Vegas and at Sam's Town on Boulder Highway, but Boyd wasn't fazed by the prospect of competing against the big boys on the Strip.

"It's the same business, no matter where you're looking at," Boyd explained. The family introduced its more personal style of

Stardust on the Las Vegas Strip
The Stardust Resort & Casino has been a Las Vegas legend since 1958. Fittingly it is now home to another Las Vegas icon, Wayne Newton. "Mr. Las Vegas" headlines at the Stardust 40 weeks a year in the Wayne Newton Theater. The Stardust is flanked on the north by the Westward Ho and Circus Circus and the New Frontier to the South.

customer service, a change that Boyd's maintained for almost two decades.

"When we took over the dealers weren't even allowed to talk to customers," he said. "We're more of a family-type company."

The Stardust's first 25-plus years was also a family affair -- the kind headed by a Godfather. Among Stardust's notorious owners - and hidden controllers - were founder Tony Cornero, who built most of the original property but died before its opening; Chicago mobster Sam Giancana; Cleveland racketeer and Desert Inn owner Moe Dalitz and alleged mob frontman Allen Glick.

Longtime Stardust employee Larry Vance, who has worked in various entertainment and food and beverage positions at the property since 1961, bridged both the mob and Boyd eras.

Vance was a busboy, waiter, captain, valet, and a limo driver before joining middle management in the '70s. "Before Caesars, before the International (now the Las Vegas Hilton), before the convention center, we were it," Vance said. "The Stardust was dead center Strip, and we were the biggest thing in the world."

Boyd prides himself on reinvesting in the company's casinos, and notes the new hotel tower the company added in 1991.

The Stardust has faced a number of challenges since Boyd bought the property, many of which he acknowledged he hadn't anticipated. Chief among those changes was the dramatic Strip building boom that Steve Wynn ushered in when he opened The Mirage in 1989.


Bobby Flay to Open First Restaurant Outside of
New York at Caesars Palace

LAS VEGAS - Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has reached an agreement with Caesars Palace to bring the vibrant Southwestern cuisine of his nationally acclaimed Mesa Grill to the famed Las Vegas resort. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2004, the new Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace will be Flay's first restaurant outside of New York City. The announcement was made July 10th by Mark Juliano, president of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Bobby FlayAn award-winning chef, television personality, popular cookbook author and successful restaurateur, Flay is known to millions of fans as resident chef for the CBS "Early Show." He also hosts three popular television series for the Food Network -- "Hot Off the Grill With Bobby Flay," the culinary travel adventure "FoodNation With Bobby Flay" and "Boy Meets Grill," named after his very successful third cookbook.

"Bobby Flay's new Mesa Grill will be a stand-alone destination for Las Vegas and a wonderful addition to the dining array at Caesars Palace," said Juliano. "In addition to Flay's formidable culinary talent, his team consistently provides an elevated atmosphere of warm hospitality."

"My goal with Mesa Grill has always been to create boldly flavored food in a high-energy environment," said Flay. "Las Vegas, especially Caesars Palace, seems to be the perfect fit."

Born in Manhattan, Flay first became interested in cooking at the age of 17 while working in New York's legendary Joe Allen's restaurant, where Bobby's father was a partner. Impressed with Flay's potential, Allen funded the prodigy's tuition to the French Culinary Institute in New York.

The 1991 opening of Mesa Grill firmly established Flay's position as a leading New York chef and major American culinary force. Tantalizing selections like Shrimp and Roasted Corn Tamale, and favorites such as New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Chile Sauce and Sweet Potato Tamale with Crushed Pecan Butter, helped solidify Flay's reputation as one of the foremost practitioners of Southwestern cuisine. The restaurant won New York magazine critic Gael Greene's choice as Best Restaurant in 1992. The New York Times raved that the "sassy fare at Mesa Grill surpasses anything of its kind elsewhere in New York." For the last five years, the Zagat survey has named Mesa Grill the Number 1 American Regional Restaurant in New York City.

In May 1993, Flay was named the James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year, an award honoring the most accomplished chef under age 30. That same year, he received the French Culinary Institute's first Outstanding Graduate Award; he continues to be an active Master Chef mentor on behalf of his alma mater.

Flay's innovative cuisine is chronicled in four popular cookbooks. In 1994, he published "Bobby Flay's Bold American Food" (Warner Books) which won the 1995 International Association of Culinary Professionals award for design. His second, "From My Kitchen To Your Table" (Clarkson Potter, 1998), won raves from The New York Times Book Review. "Boy Meets Grill" (Hyperion, 1999) has enjoyed several printings. His most recent is "Bobby Flay Cooks American" (Hyperion, 2001), and a fifth book is slated for release
next spring.

In November 1993, Flay opened Bolo, his second New York restaurant, just blocks away from Mesa Grill. Awarded three stars by The New York Times, Bolo brings the same energy to Spanish cuisine that Mesa Grill has brought to Southwestern cuisine. Bolo continues to be voted the top Spanish restaurant in New York City by the Zagat Survey.

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace will serve lunch and dinner just a few steps from the resort's new Colosseum, where international recording artist Celine Dion stars in "A New Day," an elaborate theatrical production scheduled through early 2006. When Celine is not performing, the Colosseum presents a who's who of top headliners, including Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw and Jerry Seinfeld. The new Mesa Grill announcement follows the March 17 opening of Bradley Ogden, the namesake restaurant of the celebrated Bay Area chef. Bradley Ogden is located between Wolfgang Puck's Spago and French Chef Jean-Marie Josselin's Pacific Rim-inspired 808.

Caesars Palace is a Park Place Entertainment resort. Park Place owns, manages or has an interest in 27 gaming properties operating under the Caesars, Bally's, Flamingo, Grand Casinos, Hilton and Paris brand names with a total of approximately two million square feet of gaming space, 29,000 hotel rooms and 54,000 employees worldwide.

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