Links in the El Cortez Chain – Vegas Seven

The El Cortez turned 75 earlier this month. I was there. I wrote about it for Vegas Seven:

You might have missed the El Cortez’s 75th anniversary celebration. It didn’t have the glitz of Caesars Palace’s 50th, in which a summer of events and promotions culminated in a gala featuring stars of yesterday and today. No, CEO and chairman Kenny Epstein chose to mark the occasion the same way that big days have been celebrated since the days when Jackie Gaughan still lived on the property: sheet cake and champagne.

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I wanted to capture the difference between the El Cortez and larger places in this article. It may be a distinction better experienced first hand.

The Revival of Casino History in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I look at the comeback of history in Downtown Las Vegas:

On the heels of the Las Vegas Club’s closing comes news that a revived interest in casino history is spreading on Fremont Street.

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I like this development–Las Vegas has a wonderful history, and more people appreciating it is a great thing.

Binion’s poker reborn

Binon’s casino in downtown Las Vegas has been through a rough few years. It’s been sold twice and along the way has lost the “Horseshoe” name and the World Series of Poker (which crowned its 2008 champion last night, btw). With new owner Terry Caudill at the helm, however, a turnaround is in progress, starting in the poker room. From the LVBP:

Binion's new owners, TLC Casino Enterprises, wanted to bring back the feel from when Binion family patriarch Benny Binion offered customers his legendary, "Good food. Good Whiskey. Good Gamble."

The new poker room features a contemporary setting where the casino takes a maximum rake of $3 on all live games, while players can find comp privileges, food service and special hotel room rates.

"There's a certain prestige associated with Binion's poker, but the main reason poker players stay loyal to Binion's is that we're always moving forward with their wants in mind," said Glenn Casale, director of casino operations for Binion's.

Casale said the poker room was designed with players' suggestions.

Some poker heritage was added to the poker room along with 21st century technology. Historic photos are spaced around the room with 42-inch and 50-inch plasma televisions.

Las Vegas Business Press :: Howard Stutz : Binion’s harkens back to roots with new poker room.

I hope that the new Binion’s is successful: this is exactly the right thing for that property. As I’ve said many times before, the casino doesn’t have many assets besides its history, so playing that up is a very smart move.