Downtown Las Vegas’ historic Plaza Hotel and Casino recently reopened after a $35 remodeling project to very favorable reviews. The property has done an excellent job combing modern amenities and a ‘hip’ decor without compromising the ‘retro’ feel of one of downtown Las Vegas’ most iconic casinos. Starting in early 2012, they’ll also have a cutting edge race and sports book as Cantor Gaming will take over its management bringing their state of the art technology and beautiful facilities to the Plaza. It will be Cantor’s first downtown Las Vegas location and allows them to ‘pick up a piece’ on the city’s sports betting chessboard previously held by William Hill owned Lucky’s.
As is usually the case in these type of deals, specifics weren’t released but according to the press release announcing it the Cantor/Plaza union represents a long term commitment. There were no logistical details of the Cantor takeover given beyond an ‘early 2012’ start date. If other deals of this sort are any indication, the Plaza book will close for a time while Cantor remodels the facility and upgrades the technology. When it’s completed, the release promises all of the popular Cantor touches like handheld and in-running wagering.
Both parties had typically enthusiastic quotes about the deal. Tony Santo is President and CEO of Santo Gaming, the operator of the Plaza Hotel and Casino:
“By teaming with Cantor Gaming, we will not only have the best sports book in the area, but will also be the first resort in downtown Las Vegas to introduce mobile gaming, a truly exciting milestone. We are excited to offer a fully refurbished race and sports book next year. We are confident that with Cantor Gaming, we will introduce an unforgettable sports wagering experience in downtown Las Vegas that matches the stylish, comfortable and classic Las Vegas experience that we have created at the Plaza.”
The always quotable Lee Amaitis, CEO of Cantor Gaming, gave his take:
“We are thrilled and honored that the Plaza has chosen us as its long-term partner, further demonstrating and expanding our leadership position in creating a unique sports trading experience in Las Vegas. The Plaza is a superb hotel and casino and we look forward to making it the Downtown destination of choice as we apply the latest generation of technology to sports wagering to create a superior customer experience.”
The remodeling of The Plaza is the latest positive development in a downtown Las Vegas renaissance that is finally taking hold after several abortive attempts to revive the area. Ironically, much of the downtown growth has been spawned not by massive corporate investment in ‘attractions’ (eg: the long suffering Neonopolis facility remains an ugly and underutilized eyesore) but in a more organic method as a burgeoning ‘arts and culture’ district. Many of the local casinos are buying in and looking to embrace the ‘hip’ vibe. There’s still plenty of geriatric low rollers and similar downtown denizens, but for the first time in decades there’s a lot of positive changes happening downtown. (Look for an in-depth review of the ‘new’ Plaza Hotel and Casino coming soon here at EOG).
Cantor Gaming is largely responsible for reviving Nevada’s moribund sports betting industry. Their technology platform, derived from the Wall Street experience of parent Cantor Fitzgerald, and their willingness to actually take bets due to their risk management expertise sent shock waves through the business. Before Cantor’s arrival, Nevada sportsbooks had become little more than competitive necessities where a large number of properties looked to assume as little risk as possible while offering players as few betting options as necessary. With Cantor’s growth and William Hill’s expansion into the market, the Nevada sportsbook industry is on the cusp of a very exciting period that should benefit the companies involved and sports bettors alike. Downtown Las Vegas could be a microcosm of the competitive ‘battleground’ with Cantor, William Hill and Stations (who recently took over management of the sports book at the retro-chic El Cortez) along with the Golden Nugget’s independent run book and several Boyd Gaming affiliated properties slugging it out for supremacy
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