As a bell clerk at Westgate Las Vegas would say, there is a lot to unpack here.
On the luggage cart: Westgate’s plans to open a new company from its famous sports book, reshape its management team and shuffle its entertainment lineup
As a kickoff, the hotel’s SuperBook brand is going nationwide, under the leadership of longtime Westgate Vice President of Sports Operations Jay Kornegay.
Officials fast-tracked their strategy to branch out with its SuperBook in May, after the Supreme Court ruled to allow individual states to allow sports betting. The resort chain has reportedly discussed such an expansion for about a year.
Kornegay is to be working with Geno Iafrate, who has left his post as the Westgate’s general manager for an executive role in what will be a separate company under the Westgate umbrella. Details and a formal announcement are in the offing, but the SuperBook will operate similar to how William Hill is contracted by casinos seeking an experienced sports-book operator and compete nationwide.
“There will be a huge market swarming to these new, legal sports books, spreading across the country,” Kornegay said Monday. “I feel the expansion of sports gaming will follow the same path as the cellphone business. It’s infant stages in this country now, but we’ll see sports gaming options almost on every corner someday. It’ll be like the U.K., where they’re as common as barbershops.”
Iafrate’s vacancy as the resort GM is being filled by Cami Christensen as interim general manager. Christensen is a 17-year hotel exec who dates to the days of when the resort was the Las Vegas Hilton.
As further details for the SuperBook launch are being finalized, the stage show “Soundtrack” is not being extended past its Sept. 22 performance. Clint Holmes and Earl Turner have co-starred in the show, which opened Feb. 14 and has most recently alternated weekend dates with Barry Manilow. Holmes and Turner were informed Monday afternoon the show would not return.
“We believe in the show, we think it is something really special and we’re going to search for the right situation,” Turner said. “We are looking at the Strip, Atlantic City, performing-arts centers. I am one who knows that when a door closes, another opens, and we’re looking for the next door.”
Westgate Vice President of Marketing Dawn Rawles is now heading up the hotel’s entertainment division. Rawles is a former marketing exec with Station Casinos and Caesars Entertainment. Laura Ishum, who brought “Soundtrack,” Manilow, headlining comic George Wallace and magician Jen Kramer to the Westgate, left the hotel last week.
Ishum started at the Westgate in December 2016, and said in a text Sunday night, “I’m on to the next chapter.” And she is not alone.