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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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Casino City’s Friday Five: Las Vegas arrests and retirement edition

2 Sep 2022

By Dan Ippolito
Two years ago, Las Vegas, and many other casino destinations, were reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is safe to say that Las Vegas is back especially after the numbers it posted in July. Sin City was in the headlines this week for other reasons, too. We had an arrest from the notorious ”Black Book” list and an impressive retirement celebration at Caesars Palace. In addition, we also saw a Three Card Poker jackpot on the Strip and a new casino opening in Northern Nevada.

Let’s start it off with a six-figure payout:

5. The Cromwell awards Three Card Poker jackpot
Caesars Rewards member Lisa Ferber hit a Mega Progressive Jackpot of $391,172 playing Three Card Poker at The Cromwell on Wednesday, 31 August.

Lisa, who frequently visits The Cromwell from New York, plans to use her winnings to pay for her son’s college.

4. Caesars Palace celebrates retirement of last remaining Year 1 team member
Benny Figgins, a blackjack dealer and the last remaining Year 1 team member at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, retired on Wednesday.

At the conclusion of his final shift, Caesars Palace team members and Caesars Entertainment leadership sent Figgins on his way through the resort's main entrance to honor his more than 55 years of service. Figgins left work for the last time with a special limo ride to his home.

In honor of his retirement, Regional President of Caesars Entertainment Sean McBurney gifted Figgins a commemorative plaque and a string of crystals from the chandelier in the original casino dome at Caesars Palace.

Hired on 27 April 1967, Figgins held positions in five different departments at Caesars Palace. He began as a casino porter, assisting with maintaining cleanliness throughout the casino floor. Then, Figgins became a convention porter and helped set up a variety of events. Later, he worked as a dishwasher at the original Bacchanal restaurant kitchen and a busboy in the Circus Maximus showroom.

Since 1971, Figgins served as a blackjack dealer in the original Palace Casino dome. Some of his most memorable moments include dealing to and meeting celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Diana Ross, Harry Belafonte and Joe Louis.

3. Las Vegas police arrested individual on Control Board’s List of Excluded Persons
At approximately midnight on 29 August, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrested Tasia McDonald Musa, an individual listed on the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s List of Excluded Persons.

Musa was recognized by casino security at the Paris Las Vegas as an individual from the “Black Book,” A list of people banned from the state's gaming establishments. Musa fled on foot when casino security attempted to apprehend him. LVMPD, on regular patrol of the Las Vegas Strip, spotted Musa crossing the street, and after a brief pursuit on foot arrested him in front of the Bellagio fountains.

Musa was booked for unlawful entry by a person who has been placed on the List of Excluded Persons, which is categorized as a gross misdemeanor. He was placed on the List of Excluded Persons on January 29, 2015 for various convictions of “crimes of moral turpitude.”

2. Las Vegas visitation numbers continue to soar
Las Vegas welcomed nearly 3.5 million visitors in July, the highest monthly visitation since the start of the pandemic, according to data released by the Research Center at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Las Vegas hosted approximately 307,000 convention attendees, roughly double that of last year, with tradeshows including Las Vegas Market at the World Market Center, Cosmoprof at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the American Culinary Federation at Caesars Forum.

With world-class entertainment and sports, strong airline recovery and 151,000 hotel rooms throughout the destination, overall hotel occupancy in Las Vegas surpassed 83% in July, four percentage points ahead of July 2021. Weekend occupancy exceeded 91%, up three percentage points from last year, while midweek occupancy reached 79%, up 4.5 percentage points from last year as meetings and conventions continued their steady return.

All signs points to Las Vegas being back to its old ways as it was before the pandemic.

1. Legends Bay Casino in Northern Nevada now open
Legends Bay Casino Resort officially opened its doors and became the first new casino in northern Nevada in over 20 years on Tuesday.

The event kicked-off with a ceremonial ribbon cutting in front of the casino before celebrations continued with a grand opening party where Circa Sports CEO, Derek Stevens, presided over the opening of the region’s only Circa Sports Sportsbook.

The 80,000 square foot gaming and dining destination features over 650 slot and video poker machines, a high-limit slot room, 10 live table games, a Circa Sportsbook and more.

Dining spaces at the property include Duke’s Steak House, LB Grill and the Food Truck Hall.

“We are thrilled with the casino space, and we are also excited to showcase our new restaurants, our three signature casino bars, live entertainment and the best sportsbook in town, Legends Bay Casino truly has something for everyone,” said Court Cardinal, Regional President of Olympia Gaming, the operator of Legends Bay Casino and Casino Fandango in Carson City.
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