What’s New for 2016 ; “Pure Cash” Under Indictment
What’s opening in Vegas in 2016
by Kristine McKenzie
One of the reasons Vegas is always so exciting is that it’s constantly changing. We’re continually adding new bars, clubs and restaurants and building bigger and better things. Every time you visit there’s something new for you to check out and it looks like 2016 will be no
exception. There are lots of intriguing projects in the works. Here’s what we’re looking forward to welcoming in Vegas in the new year:
W Hotel at SLS
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. will be opening its first W Hotel on the Strip at SLS Las Vegas in the third quarter of 2016. Starwood will take over management of the existing 289-room tower (currently operating under the SLS LUX brand) after its conversion to a W Hotel.
Following a renovation, W Las Vegas will include a W Living Room (the W brand’s unique take on the traditional hotel lobby), a dedicated entry and reception area for W Hotel guests, an Away Spa, and WET, an exclusive outdoor pool and bar.
This hotel project, from PENTA Building Group, has slowly been taking shape since last spring. The red, 10-story Asian-themed resort is being built on Sahara Avenue, just west of Las Vegas Boulevard. At last check, the hotel was scheduled to be completed in August 2016.
The Lucky Dragon will be a boutique hotel with a spa, authentic Chinese restaurants, a bar, gaming and shops.
The 20,000-seat Las Vegas Arena is set to open April 6.
Las Vegas Arena
The 20,000-seat Las Vegas Arena is set to open with a concert from Las Vegas icons The Killers and Wayne Newton on April 6.
The $375 million arena, located behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo, is expected to host more than 100 events annually, including UFC, boxing, hockey, basketball and other sporting events, major headline entertainment, awards shows, family shows and special events. Shows announced so far for 2016 include George Strait, Garth Brooks, Dixie Chicks and Janet Jackson.
Get ready for a fun new attraction for the whole family in 2016. Treasure Island will open attractions based on Marvel Comics’ The Avengers and Hasbro’s Transformers in the second and third floors of their new retail area along the Strip.
The project, which is expected to open by the end of March, will offer two separate interactive theme park-like experiences. You’ll encounter characters and storylines unique to The Avengers and Transformers. The Avengers level will include an Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) while staffing the facility with Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and
Start your engines! Car enthusiasts will have a new 100-acre speed complex and supercar experience to race around in March 2016.
SPEEDVEGAS is a $30 million, 100-acre motorsports complex featuring Las Vegas’ longest exotic car track. At 1.5 miles, the Formula One-inspired track is comparable to the top circuits in the world and includes 12 sweeping turns, 15 degrees banking, 60 feet of totalelevation and a 1/2 mile straightaway.
By May, a 20,000-square-foot, two-story welcome center will open, featuring indoor and outdoor observation decks, a café, meeting and event space and more.
Guests at SPEEDVEGAS can experience muscle cars and exotic Supercars including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Audis, Ford Shelby Mustangs and Corvettes. SPEEDVEGAS will be located on Las Vegas Boulevard, 10 minutes from the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.
NIGHTLIFE AND BARS
Intrigue at Wynn
Intrigue nightclub will replace Tryst, which closed after 10 years. The new club, scheduled to open in April, will feature state-of-the-art lighting and sound designed by award-winning John Lyons Systems throughout the 14,000-square-foot venue, which will accommodate up to 1,200
The club will play contemporary party music that will cross over many different genres. A new glass enclosed patio will allow year-round views of the venue’s waterfall and pyrotechnics show. Additionally, a 1,200-square-foot private club within the club will be a social media free zone, allowing guests the ultimate in privacy.
JEWEL at Aria
JEWEL will take over the former space of HAZE Nightclub at ARIA Resort & Casino and is set to open in the spring.
Designed by the Rockwell Group, JEWEL spans more than 24,000 square feet with a capacity of up to 1,925 guests. The multi-level venue will encompass a main club with an overlooking mezzanine level complete with five unique and secluded suites situated above the dance floor, each with its own exclusive entry. The DJ booth will feature a production wall with dual-sided LED video screens and special effects
Budweiser Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas
On the deck above Hexx at Paris Las Vegas, Budweiser and Paris are building a new Beer Park. The space was previously the Terrace as part of Chateau Nightclub. But soon it shall be a wondrous land of outdoor grilling, picnic tables and more than 100 beer selections. They’ll also have a food menu complete with beer pairings.
Opening in early 2016, Beer Park will be the place to watch the game, hang out with friends and catch a nice view of the Las Vegas Strip and Bellagio Fountains across the street. With special taps that pour out ice cold beer, cold plates to keep your beer at that optimal temp and VIP areas and climate control so your everything stays just as cool as you want it, Beer Park will pretty much be beer heaven.
Las Vegas is known for its awesome headline entertainment and this year we’re looking forward to several artists who have announced residencies in town.
Singer, dancer and actress Jennifer Lopez brings her “All I Have” show, specifically created for Las Vegas, to the Axis Theater inside Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on Jan. 20.
Lopez’s show will be filled with dance, hip hop, Latin and pop music with hits like “Jenny From the Block,” “Let’s Get Loud,” “Papi” and “Love Don’t Cost A Thing.” She’ll perform on several dates in late January and early February.
Lionel Richie is taking the Vegas stage in April at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Known across the world for hits including “All NightLong,” “Hello,” “Stuck on You,” “Say You, Say Me,” and “Dancing on the Ceiling,” the Grammy Award-winning artist will be bringing a collection of his most popular songs to Vegas audiences for a limited-show headlining engagement.
Billy Idol will be rocking his way into the House of Blues for several dates in March and May. The show will feature Idol, his longtime guitarist Steve Stevens, and the rest of Idol’s band performing songs from Idol’s extensive catalog including “Rebel Yell,” “White Wedding,” “Dancing With Myself,” and many more.
Fans of the A&E reality show “Wahlburgers” will be excited to learn a branch of the restaurant is coming to Las Vegas at the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s. A specific opening date has not been announced yet. The popular, fast-casual burger restaurant founded by brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg will feature gourmet burgers and specialty drinks. The restaurant will have a walk-up window and a 600-square foot outdoor patio.
Sugar Factory American Brasserie has announced plans to open its largest restaurant and retail complex in early 2016 at the Fashion Show Mall. The new Sugar Factory American Brasserie will be two levels and nearly 16,000 square feet. The lower level will be divided between the main dining room and a retail store. The restaurant will serve Sugar Factory American Brasserie’s signature items along with classic
favorites such as pizzas, pastas, salads, fresh seafood, steaks and sandwiches.
The upper level will feature a 3,000-square-foot open-air Chocolate Lounge, which will offer chocolate fondues, accompanied by wine, champagne and liquor pairings.
El Burro Borracho
Chef and television host Guy Fieri plans to open his second Las Vegas restaurant in early 2016 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. El Burro Borracho will serve authentically prepared Mexican dishes with upscale touches and the signature, flavorful flair you would expect from Fieri. Crispy Mahi Mahi Juan Tacos, Flaming Queso Fundido, Acapulco Gold Salad, Drunken Fish Tacos, Lava Rock Shrimp, signature
tortas, enchiladas, burritos and an array of house made, signature salsas are just a few of the items that will be available on the menu.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will be welcoming its newest restaurant, Eggslut, in 2016. As the name suggests, the menu is inspired by Chef Alvin Cailan’s love for eggs and features unique twists on breakfast sandwich favorites. Eggslut at The Cosmopolitan will be the brand’s first expansion outside of the Los Angeles market.
‘Pure cash’ promise to beat Las Vegas casinos leads to indictment
By David Ferrara
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Mark Thomas Georgantas knows how to beat baccarat, blackjack, craps and roulette in Las Vegas.
He’s producing a documentary about his system. Just fork over a few grand, and he’ll show you how it’s done.
“Once you experience winning with the ‘Biggins Craps System’ you will never look at gaming the same,” he told potential investors. “Talk about living the dream. Where else can you fall out of bed, go downstairs to a table, win, and go to cashier? No employees, no boss, no inventory, no hassle. Pure cash, baby!”
Georgantas, aka Mark Gigantis, aka Mark G, aka Mr. Smooth, persuaded at least two people to hand him more than $350,000, according to a recent indictment.
He name-dropped George Clooney and Matt Damon as clients. He said he had worked for the CIA.
He claimed he attended Princeton University, where he researched spectroscopy, the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation.
Most important, he always walked out of a casino with a profit.
But when the two men inquired about their investments, Georgantas, 53, vanished. The Nevada attorney general’s office filed theft and securities fraud charges, and there’s a $500,000 warrant for his arrest. Attempts to reach Georgantas via phone, email and Facebook were
Georgantas laid out elaborate proposals and contracts for would-be victims, authorities alleged. Last week, prosecutors presented his detailed scam to a grand jury in Clark County.
Georgantas projected his companies could earn tons of cash. Monster Gaming Entertainment LLC would earn $250 million on a $700,000 investment; Monster Intellectual Holdings LLC would earn $400 million on a $50,000 investment; and Monster Gaming Products LLC would earn
$4 billion on a $250,000 investment.
He drew up a list of casinos — in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Mesquite and Primm — where he would gamble for the documentary. He budgeted how much he would risk at each property.
He explained that most gamblers lose because they don’t stay focused; they lack discipline and play intoxicated; or they have an inadequate bankroll and poor money management skills.
He never explained exactly how he won, but he promised that selling his system could make $3.9 billion alone. He could pull in another $400 million with a reality TV show, a movie, books, merchandising and a player for hire. He pointed out a Massachusetts Institute of Technology card-counting team and a successful horse-track handicapper proved gamblers can beat the house.
Georgantas would start by conquering local pits, showcased in the documentary titled “Vengance on Las Vegas” and a reality program called “Living Large in Las Vegas.”
The success would carry him around the world.
He predicted that some casinos might ban him, but that would only result in exposure through a New York Times best-seller, a “blockbuster movie” and “insane media appearances.”
Georgantas is listed as the president of 21 Matrix Inc., according to the Nevada secretary of state, but it’s unclear what that company does. Prosecutors said there’s no system to beat the town that was built on lost bets and no evidence Georgantas even really intended to produce a documentary.
It’s not the first time Georgantas found legal trouble through business ventures. Convicted of a felony in California, the media reported that he once escaped jail through a storm drain.
He was arrested in 2006 in a business fraud case after being found with a briefcase full of stolen credit card information, according to online court records. Authorities said that he used a stolen credit card to make purchases for Fire On Ice Inc., a business he still lists on a LinkedIn profile.
Three years later, he walked away from a trial on credit card fraud charges. He was caught and served time in state prison, court records indicate.
After his release, he moved to Las Vegas and dyed his dark-brown hair blond.
His LinkedIn profile describes a “Creative Hybrid Gaming Enthusiast / Cigar Aficionado / Professional Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps, & Poker Player.”
In 2013, Marcelo Caraveo had just sold his house, and he was looking to invest the money. Through a friend, he met Georgantas, who pitched the documentary and promised lavish profits.
They each signed a contract, and Caraveo handed over about $300,000.
He never saw the money again, according to his grand jury testimony.
Georgantas said his parents died, and he disappeared. Online obituaries show that Georgantas’s father, Clarence Georgantas, died in August 2014, and his mother, Teresa Georgantas, died a year later.
Evan Rodich met Georgantas at a craps table at The Quad, according to grand jury testimony.
Flanked by two men, Georgantas was “playing extravagantly, and he was attracting a lot of attention to himself,” Rodich said.
He asked what was going on.
“He told me that they took their craps very seriously and they always won at the casinos,” Rodich testified. “When he told me about his flaw-proof system of gambling, I wanted to get in on it.”
Georgantas mentioned his plans for a documentary. Rodich asked about Georgantas’ background.
“He claimed that he was an ex-CIA operative, and that if people messed with him, he could do really bad stuff to them,” Rodich told the grand jury.
Eventually, they drew up a contract.
A section in bold type read: “No matter what losses are generated the investor will receive all of his money back.”
Rodich gave $55,000 to Georgantas, who said he would earn $250,000 in 2014.
Not long after, Georgantas said an ex-girlfriend had a death in her family, and he needed to travel to Chicago to assist with funeral arrangements.
Those in gambling circles have been wary of Georgantas for years, suspecting him of being a con man.
When called out in a craps forum, Georgantas responded using the nickname “mrsmooth” and typing in all caps: “Either prove me wrong on the tables or start apologizing now … because every member who plays with me and wins is going to run you out of town!!!!! No one likes liars
and scammers … before you call someone a scammer you better be pretty damn sure d**khead.”
— Contact David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker