Reno Eyes Vegas Import
by Steve Miller
| Who is Bob Stupak?
The Las Vegas entrepreneur, and author of plans for a carnival-like 300-foot up-and-down "Big Shot" ride at Reno's long-closed and down-at-the-heels Riverside Hotel, is himself quite likely to go up and down.
| Last Monday, with the opening
in Las Vegas of the $550 million Stratosphere Tower,
casino complex and resort, Stupak was up. More than 8,000
invited guests were attending the premiere party, and
thousands more lined the streets outside, waiting to get
in. It was the culmination of years of work by Stupak and
his partners and he was being touted throughout
Glitzville as a genius and a visionary.
"This tower," panted Lt. Gov. Lonnie Hammargren, "will be the symbol of Las Vegas for all time. What Howard Hughes didn't do, Bob Stupak has finished off."
It was a far cry from six years ago. That was when Stupak was scrambling to even keep his state gaming license, in the face of Gaming Control Board charges that he and his companies Vacation Club and Vegas World had engaged in "materially false, misleading and deceptive advertising" nationwide - advertising, the board said, that had damaged the entire industry.
"Vegas World's deceptive advertising," said the control board complaint, "reflects discredit upon the reputation of the State of Nevada and its gaming industry and undermines 'public confidence and trust that licensed gaming is conducted honestly and competitively .. and that gaming is free from criminal and corruptive elements.'"
While Stupak was advertising that patrons would receive "$400 in dollar slot machine action good on dollar slot machines located throughout the casino," said the board, "In fact, patrons receive five dollar tokens that may be used only on approximately twelve slot machines that have a hold percentage far above the industry average."
Other Stupak ads, said the board, were promising "$400 LIVE ACTION - 400 one-dollar chips to gamble with as you wish. Each chip is good for ONE PLAY, (win or lose), on all even money bets for any table game (craps, blackjack, roulette, etc.) That's 400 chances to win, and you may wager from one to as many chips as you like on each wager."
In actual fact, said board investigators, "patrons received $25 promotional chips that in some cases they were not allowed to change, and in all cases, Vegas World took the promotional chip and did not replace it with regular chips, regardless of the outcome of the wager.
"For example, if a patron places a $25 promotional chip on the blackjack table and wins, Vegas World takes the promotional chip and gives the patron $25, not the $50 that a patron would end up with if he played a regular $25 chip and won.
"If the patron loses," said the board, "he loses, and if he wins, he breaks even.
"Therefore, the $400 live action is really only equivalent to $200.
"Additionally, patrons may only play craps on specially alterned crap tables with the promotional chips."
Another deception, said the board, was that "Vegas World advertises that it is located on the Las Vegas Strip and uses a photograph that makes it appear that Vegas World is located right next to the Stardust, Frontier, Sahara, and Desert Inn."
Stupak's Vegas World also advertised, said the board, "that its patrons will receive
one of five free gifts valued between $189
and $1500, which is chosen at random by their computer.
In the vast majority of cases, the free gift received by
patrons was either a diamond ring that could be purchased
for far less than the retail value stated by Vegas World,
or a '6 day, 5 night Hawaiian vacation' that requires
that you purchase a maximum price airline ticet through a
designated travel agency so that the overall price of the
vacation is nearly as much as it would be without the
Want to share your opinion? Electric Nevada's comment page is open!
Back to Electric Nevada's front Page