Bally's sports book has some history


The closing (albeit temporary) of the race and sports book at Bally’s Las Vegas is the second time the location has shuttered.

The betting facility, located in the resort’s shopping mall along the path to the Bally’s monorail station, once housed a movie theater.  Bally’s was the original MGM Grand Hotel-Casino. The theater showed the classic Metro Goldwyn Mayer movies from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s at reduced prices.

The movie theater was adjacent to MGM’s Jai-Alai fronton, which closed in the 1980s.

When Bally’s supplanted the MGM theme at the resort, the movie theater lost business and viability.

During a remodeling of the mall in 1995, the location was turned in a stadium-seating style race and sports book.

It’s opening was done in grand fashion.

Baseball Hall of Fame legend Willie Mays, on contract at the time with Bally’s, spent several hours signing autographs at the book’s main entrance on a Saturday morning. The line to meet Mays extended outside along Flamingo Road.

The appearance coincided with the first day of the 1995 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.

A month later, Bally’s race and sports book received national attention from CNN. When the “not guilty” verdict was read during the first O.J. Simpson trial on the morning of Oct. 3, the book’s television screens were turned away from the horse races to the jury’s decision.

CNN filmed inside the Bally’s book as one of the “unusual” locations where Americans were transfixed to the verdict.