Newspaper Articles from different sources
Monday, Jan. 15, 1990 | 6 a.m.
Rio Suite Hotel and Casino chief Bob Maxey, sitting in his new office, his cellular phone at his side, related what he had just said to employees in an orientation speech during the final frantic days before the resort's planned opening Monday.
"Basically, the message is that we are building a gambling joint here," Maxey said. "It's about 35 percent owned by Marcor (Development Co. Inc.), but this will not be corporate run, will not have a corporate environment. This place is going to have personality, just a Las Vegas gambling joint."
Judging from both the outside and inside of the Rio, Maxey might have trouble getting patrons to see it as only a "gambling joint." 430 suites (no regular rooms), beveled glass exterior, dozens of palm trees on the perimeter, an outdoor bar overlooking a sandy "beach" leading to a sand-bottomed swimming pool with a waterfall.
Consistently with the casino's decidedly upscale design, decked out like Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at Carnival time, the frames of the 900 slots in the 50,000-square-foot casino are covered with bright red, blue and yellow powder coat paint, the 42 table games covered with black-colored felt.
The hotel-casino, which opens 10 a.m. Monday, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Gov. Bob Miller, also will offer 96 non-smoking rooms, rooms custom-made for the handicapped and baby sitting services.
Also, Danny Ruggiero, vice president of casino operations, will have his office not on the second floor with the other executives but literally in the middle of the casino itself, next to the keno lounge.
But Maxey insists on the term. The casino's marketing plan assumes that locals -- more in tune with gaming and more demanding than tourists -- will make up fully 40 percent of the Rio's patrons.
Drive-ins from Southern California will provide 25 percent, followed by tour and travel business (15 percent) and convention and meetings (2 percent), he said.
The Rio's location on West Flamingo and Valley View Boulevard, across Interstate 15 from the Las Vegas Strip, will work to its advantage as visitors driving into town will be put off by the heavy traffic they will see on the Strip, Maxey said.
"We are not on the Las Vegas Strip. What is the Las Vegas Strip? A piece of asphalt five miles long, 80 feet wide. A long, narrow parking lot on Friday and Saturday," he said. "We are closer to the center, to four corners (Flamingo Road and the Strip) than 70 percent of other Strip properties.
"Customers coming from Los Angeles (on I-15) to Flamingo will look right and see a sea of taillights, look to the left and see the Rio's neon," he touted. "There is no more perfect customer than the person who comes off that ramp."
Also, the Rio and the neighboring Gold Coast hotel-casino, a casino frequented by locals and owned by Michael Gaughan, a longtime friend of Maxey's, will complement each other, he said.
"There's already enough people circling the parking lot at the Gold Coast for another casino," he joked.
The casino, covering 35 acres, also has an option on 15 adjacent acres to add more to the project if needed.
The first Las Vegas-area casino to open in the 1990s, the Rio, which will employ 1,500 people, will direct itself toward that individual, Maxey said, a former top executive for Golden Nugget. "As Las Vegas has gotten larger, it's more impersonal. We don't intend to have that happen to us," he said.
At the same time, Maxey said he won't indulge in traditional "old guard" management practice typical of Las Vegas casinos: if a manager resigns, his or her staff must leave to make way for the new manager's staff.
"That won't happen here," he said. "I believe many changes of employees are uncalled for and due to management insecurity rather than necessity. It's bad human relations and we are going to bend over backwards to avoid falling into that trap."
Rio kicks off the ‘90s
Harrah’s buys Rio hotel-casino
Monday, Aug. 10, 1998 | 2:01 a.m.
Harrah's Entertainment Inc. said today it has agreed to buy Rio Hotel & Casino Inc. for about $880 million in stock and assumed debt.
The merger gives Harrah's an upscale all-suites Las Vegas property at Flamingo Road and Valley View Boulevard with a highly popular brand name, as well as a bigger stake in a new airline that will help transport Harrah's customers between its 20 casinos around the country.
More than half of Rio's customers are from Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area, a Harrah's executive noted; while Harrah's customers tend to come from the East Coast, the Midwest and Northern California.
The Rio will retain its name, giving Harrah's a high-end brand that could be expanded to other jurisdictions such as Atlantic City, where Harrah's owns a resort using the Harrah's name and a successful mid-range Showboat; and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the nation's third-largest gaming market.
Harrah's closed its acquisition of Showboat June 30 and, in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission Friday said it may "pursue additional strategic acquisitions" as gaming-industry consolidation continues.
The deal calls for an even swap of one Harrah's share for each of the 24.8 million outstanding Rio common shares, plus assumption of about $302 million in Rio debt.
Harrah's stock, which closed at 20 1/8 Friday, slipped to 20, down 1/8, in mid-morning trading today.
Rio rose to 19 3/8 on heavy volume, up from Friday's close of 18 7/8 and above the 52-week low of 16 1/2 hit just last Wednesday.
"I think it's a great merger -- a natural -- involving two of the most progressive companies in gaming," said Dave Ehlers, chairman of Las Vegas Investment Advisors Inc.
"Harrah's got a very good property at a very good price. They got a bigger interest in an airline that could re-arrange the landscape of Las Vegas.
"It's a great merger for Rio because it spreads their investors' assets throughout the country rather than concentrating them in Las Vegas, which faces concerns about too many hotel rooms," said Andrew Zarnett of Ladenburg Thalmann & Co.
"It's also better than selling to a real estate investment trust, because Harrah's is an experienced gaming operator with strong management, reduced borrowing costs and lower operating costs.
"It gives Harrah's a more upscale property in Las Vegas and more entertainment options there for its best customers," Zarnett said.
"For Harrah's, it's a brilliant fit," Salomon Smith Barney analyst Bruce Turner told the Bloomberg News Service.
"What Harrah's lacked in their wide-ranging portfolio was a nationally acclaimed resort property in Las Vegas. They had a good property, but not one they could target toward their premium."
"From our perspective, we couldn't be more pleased with Rio becoming part of the Harrah's group of properties," said Mike Conway, chairman of National Airlines Inc.
Harrah's and Rio each invested $15 million in the new air carrier, which is scheduled to begin long-haul, low-fare service non-stop service to Las Vegas next spring. Together, they'll have four directors on National's 11-member board.
Memphis-based Harrah's said the transaction would boost the combined entity's 1999 revenues to an estimated $2.9 million, generate about $740 million of cash flow and immediately increase per-share earnings.
"Rio is a Las Vegas destination gem and, by all measures, one of the highest quality and best managed companies in our business," Harrah's Chairman Phil Satre said.
"We see an unprecedented opportunity to introduce Harrah's loyal customers to the Rio's resort-style property, as well as introduce Rio customers to Harrah's Entertainment's 19 properties around the country," he said.
Rio will add 1.3 million customers to Harrah's 8 million-customer database, which is the focal point of the company's highly successful Total Gold rewards program.
Rio Chairman Anthony Marnell will become vice chairman of Harrah's, and Rio President James Barrett will retain his position at the off-Strip property.
Marnell said the two will vote their combined 22 percent of Rio's outstanding common shares in favor of the transaction.
Rio has more than 2,500 suites, 120,000 square feet of gaming space with 2,400 slot machines and 100 table games, and owns the Rio Secco golf course. It has been rated the "Best Hotel Value in the World" by Travel & Leisure Magazine and is the only casino resort to receive a "Five-Star Diamond Award" from the American Academy of Hospitality Services.
The transaction would result in a company with three casino brands -- Harrah's, Rio and Showboat -- 20 gaming properties in 15 geographic locations and 35,000 employees.
Harrah's will have 126 million shares outstanding, up from the current 101 million, if the transaction is approved by shareholders of both companies.
Harrah's said it expects to save $7 million annually through reduced overhead within two years and to refinance Rio's debt at a lower interest rate.
Two bond rating agencies -- Moody's and Standard & Poor's -- said today they might upgrade Rio debt.
Police shoot, kill armed robbery suspect at Rio
By KRISTEN DESILVA
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
A man who Las Vegas police believe to be responsible for a string of armed robberies at casinos was shot dead at the Rio by Metro detectives who had been following him early Sunday morning.
Detectives with the career criminal section had followed the man for the past several days, Metro Capt. Matt McCarthy said Sunday morning in a video posted to the police department’s YouTube account.
The man led detectives to the Rio, 3700 W. Flamingo Road, about 5 a.m., police said.
When confronted by detectives, the man put up a resistance, police said. A Taser was used on the suspect but was ineffective, according to a police release.
A struggle ensued near the guest elevators area and the man was shot at least once by one detective when, according to police, the suspect put his hand toward his waist.
Police said they found a handgun near where the man was reaching.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene and had not yet been identified by the Clark County coroner’s office.
A spokesman for Caesar’s Entertainment Corp., which owns the Rio, could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
McCarthy said that during the previous robberies the man was believed to be connected with, he would go into casinos and confront clerks by brandishing a weapon. Several times he claimed to have an explosive on him during the robberies, police said.
Metro’s Armor Section and the Las Vegas Fire Department’s bomb squad responded and rendered the crime scene safe, according to a Metro press release.
The hotel’s operations were not disrupted during the investigation. Guests were diverted to a different elevator, police said.
Police continue to investigate and more details on this incident and the previous robberies will be available at a later time, police said.
This is the 15th officer-involved shooting in Las Vegas in 2014.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Contact Kristen DeSilva at or 702-477-3895. Find her on Twitter: @kristendesilva
Review-Journal reporters Kimber Laux and Ricardo Torres contributed to this report.