The scale of the venture is dramatically different, but the casino industry trouble continues for Arik Kislin and the Gansevoort Hotel Group.
Caesars Entertainment Corp. recently pulled out of its proposed $1 billion casino resort venture in Massachusetts after that state’s gaming investigators raised the issue of its relationship with Gansevoort. Caesars had planned to use the Gansevoort name and upscale image to market the remodeled former Barbary Coast at the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.
In published reports, Kislin has been linked by the FBI and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to associates of Russian organized crime.
Now the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission has instructed operators of Big Jim’s Gambling Hall &Saloon in Cripple Creek to sever their association with Kislin. That’s bad news for Big Jim’s, a diminutive casino operation that has struggled financially according to published reports.
A Gansevoort spokesperson called reports about Kislin inaccurate and reminded the highly successful businessman’s critics he has never been accused of criminal activity.
EASY RIDERS: Like many other dedicated locals, Phyllis McFadden and daughter Crystal are participating in Bike MS: Vegas Challenge 2013 fundraiser on Nov. 9 and 10. The event starts and ends at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. (For information and to donate, bikenvl.nationalmssociety.org.)
They will take to the street with a little extra motivation. These amateur cyclists are friends with Lori Humm Scharar and her brother, former Oakland Raiders quarterback David Humm — both of whom are challenged by multiple sclerosis.
NO SMOKING: MGM Resorts International is willing to make its Prince George County, Md., casino a smoke-free environment, according to The Washington Post. Meanwhile, attempts to update Nevada’s secondhand smoking policies continue to sputter and cough.
YES, SMOKING: As the rest of the nation continues to evolve its public health policy and increasingly ban cigarette smoking in areas where people congregate, a new national poll suggests 58 percent of the public approves of legalizing marijuana use.
But I hear no one suggest it would be appropriate for people to smoke pot in public places where others might be forced to inhale the smoke. It’s a public health no-brainer.
FRAUD UPDATE: The FBI’s investigation of mortgage fraud in Southern Nevada has been so sweeping that we’ve begun to take for granted felony convictions such as the one involving David Mark, a Louisiana lawyer who hustled real estate here until his crimes caught up to him. Estimated losses associated with his group’s activity: more than $50 million.
BOOK FESTIVAL: The Vegas Valley Book Festival continues to produce an impressive lineup of best-selling authors. This year’s festival continues through the weekend.
One of many highlights is an appearance by novelist Luis Alberto Urrea, the Pulitzer Prize finalist whose latest title is “The Devil’s Highway.” Urrea is set to speak at 5 p.m. Saturday at the historic Fifth Street School.
America’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Walter Dean Myers will discuss his favorite topic at 10 a.m. Saturday at the same location.
For information and a complete schedule, go to vegasvalleybookfestival.org.
PURSES, PEARLS: The annual Purses &Pearls — Ties &Treasures fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Nevada is set for 6 p.m. at Cili Restaurant at Bali Hai Golf Club at 5160 Las Vegas Blvd South.
The event raises funds to help the nonprofit advocacy group work to make cause issues a top legislative priority.
For information and tickets, go to acscan.org/pursesandpearls.
ON THE BOULEVARD: It was good to see that casino man Steve Wynn kept with a longtime tradition of gambling bosses when he turned out at the VIP opening of the Downtown Grand and spread a little green across the green felt. Anyone have firsthand accounts of other gaming bosses spending or winning a bundle while attending the grand opening of another guy’s casino?
Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.