Archive for February 2013

The Sahara of the 60s

The Sahara of the 60s

It’s been all over the news today, SBE Entertainment has secured the last few million ($415 to be exact) it will take to proceed with the full remodel of the Sahara on the Las Vegas Strip. The Sahara is a Las Vegas legend, which just as its predecessors has fallen from grace. It sits on the Northern part of the strip, a portion of the strip that has seen better days. The portion of the Strip that lies between the Wynn/Encore and the Stratosphere is largely a wasteland, with the exception of the Circus Circus and the Riviera. If you drive between the two properties, there is a collection of run down properties, closed facilities or deserted construction projects. It is not a friendly area that you’d want to walk down in the dark, or even in the middle of the day if you’re a young female.

A more recent photo of the Sahara while still in operation

So hearing the news that this part of the Strip hasn’t been forgotten is a welcome tidbit…if it really happens. The Sahara was in operation for 59 years, from 1952 until 2011. Of the pre-1960 Strip properties, only the Tropicana, Flamingo and Riviera remain open. SBE has owned the property since 2007.

A model of the new SLS Las Vegas

A model of the new SLS Las Vegas

The plan includes a 1,620 room boutique hotel-casino which is scheduled to open in late 2014. The question remains whether this plan, which has been talked about and rumored for years now, will happen. There has been much speculation on whether SBE would follow through on the plan, especially after they owned it, and then closed it and it has sat empty for the last nearly two years. However, with thisnews today that SBE has obtained the last of the funding they needed, it seems that this just may happen.  As a longtime resident of Nevada, I take pride in this industry and always continue to hope for the best. This part of the Strip is in great need of a facelift and this Los Angeles based company may be just the one

to complete that task.

As many of you have probably heard, the gaming industry and the University of Nevada suffered a huge loss today with the passing of Professor Bill Eadington. He had been battling cancer since mid-2011 and was a true fighter until the end. I had the great pleasure of studying under Bill since 2001, when I started my undergraduate degree at UNR. I continued to take his classes in Economics and Gaming Management all the way through my MBA. I feel so honored and blessed to have been able to learn from him and be mentored by him throughout the years.

The first thing I remember about Eadington is that I was in one of his Econ 101 classes on 9/11. The class was at 9am, and I remember waking up, seeing the news and thinking…GREAT class will be cancelled for sure. This may seem vastly insensitive, but you must remember I was 18 and 9am was EARLY. Of course, class was not cancelled, and true to form Bill spent the entire 50 minutes teaching Economics. Never a moment to be wasted when we could be learning. This was a quality that he never lost throughout the years.

I took every available Gaming Management class that I could from Bill. Even though he also taught Economics, he was truly passionate about the subject as anyone who came across him would acknowledge. I had friends and classmates who would take these classes because they heard that he taught you how to count cards and figured it would be an easy pass. Of course they were dead wrong. Bill always held his students to the highest standards, and even though he did teach about card counting, his classes were always challenging because he would never want a student walking out with a free pass. If you were in one of his classes, you WERE going to learn something.

In October 2011, Bill was selected to join a very elite group and was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame. This was a BIG deal. Previous inductees include legends such as Steve Wynn, Bill Harrah and Phil Satre. The group of inductees with Bill included: Sheldon Adleson of LV Sands, the Blue Man Group and Charlie Palmer. I remember reading about this, and thinking that it was shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing chemo. I sent him a congratulatory email and hoped that he would be well enough to attend, which he was. I am so proud to have known him and so happy that he was able to enjoy this great honor while still alive.

Through friends that had classes with Bill after his diagnosis I had heard that he actually taught a class through Skype from his hospital room. This would not surprise anyone who actually knew Bill, he never wanted to miss a class. He taught one of my classes via Skype while in China on business. If he did have to miss a class and couldn’t remotely teach, he would always schedule a guest speaker. Never waste a moment not learning.

Bill will take with him a wealth of knowledge that will not be easily matched by one mind. I count myself lucky to have been able to know him, call him a mentor and in his memory I am committed to making myself a smarter, better representative of the gaming industry.

RIP Bill, you will be missed.

About Me

This blog is devoted to the gaming industry news and information - keeping you up to date on the happenings in the gaming world. My personal expertise lies in event planning and entertainment in casinos.

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