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Big Sky, Big Beach

Moving to Montana soon...

Big Sky, Big Beach

But it’s not to become a dental floss tycoon. I’m going there to show my support for Big Sky Country, since I read that fewer people are going there because they’re a little nervous.

(OK, for some of you around the world who may not understand, that “dental floss” thing was a line from a Frank Zappa song. You could look it up.)

The problems in Montana started when two teenage knuckleheads tried to rob a guy with box-cutters (the knuckleheads had the box-cutters, not the guy) as he came out of a restroom at the Pirates Treasure Casino in Butte. I saw a picture of them-imagine Jack Black and Carrot-Top as 18-year-olds. Alternatively, think of the two guys in “Wayne’s World.”

They were, of course, caught and arrested, because… and if the perpetrators are reading this, listen closely, kids… THERE ARE CAMERAS IN CASINOS. All over the place. There’s probably enough surveillance video to make their crime into a documentary. Real mental giants here.

The sad sacks didn’t even get any money. The guy they tried to rob was an employee of the casino, and when he saw the box-cutters, he went back into the restroom and locked the door. After a while, he went back out of the restroom to find the thieves gone and no one missing any money. Evidently, when the bathroom door closed, the kids looked at each other with cartoon expressions and then scrammed.

They weren’t hard to track down because, you know, the police had video. But that’s not the point of my bringing it up here. The point is, it’s OK to go back to Montana. It was just a couple of teenage dim-wits.

I also bring it up here because it gives me a chance to write about Montana. I like to write about Montana because I like the names of the places up there. The Charging Horse Casino in Lame Deer. The Silver Wolf in Wolf Point. The Little Big Horn in Crow Agency. It sounds like you have to hike between the casinos on former deer trails, camping under the stars along the way.

Nothing like Atlantic City, where we can camp under the stars on the beach, but we have to share our campsite with the feral cats under the Boardwalk.

But there are other things to talk about in Atlantic City this month. (OK, it was a lame segue, but I can’t hit it out of the park every time, you know?) First, Donald Trump won the first round of his bout with Carl Icahn, when a bankruptcy judge approved the plan of Trump and his bondholders to retain ownership of the three Trump casinos. Icahn will appeal.

They didn’t decide it by a cage match between Donald and Carl like I had suggested, but I understand that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith Wizmur did take their hairstyles into consideration before making her decision.

The other big news last month in Atlantic City were the Steve Wynn sightings. Ever since Steve left town in 1988, he’s been like Elvis around here, periodically popping up and generating rumors that he’s going to stage a comeback tour. In this instance, he was seen at the Atlantic City Hilton, where he stayed a night in the hotel that was once his Golden Nugget; and visiting at Revel with CEO and former Wynn executive Kevin DeSanctis, which he described as a social call.

Whatever the purpose, the visit generated rampant speculation that Wynn, having ditched his plan to take over the Foxwoods Philadelphia project-on that one, my theory is that the mayor told him he’d have to build the casino in a way that it would be invisible-was looking to go back to Atlantic City.

People tell me I’m dreaming, but I still think Steve should take over that big vacant lot in the middle of town, the Pinnacle site. I’m told that would never happen, but I only suggest it because Steve himself did so a few years ago. When former Pinnacle chief Dan Lee was griping that he’d leave town if Wynn got a casino at Bader Field (another vast wasteland in AC), here’s what Wynn said:

“If Pinnacle Entertainment is afraid of competition, we would be willing to buy their Boardwalk site at their cost and they can then leave and try to control competition somewhere else.”

Now, he could get it for a lot less than Pinnacle’s cost. Think of it: Wynn Park Place. (Well, Park Place is a block away, but still…)

I know. He’ll probably go to Montana before that happens.

“Wynn Lame Deer.” I like the sound of that.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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