Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas: How Jay Sarno Won a Casino Empire, Lost It, and Inspired Modern Las Vegas

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9780990001607: Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas: How Jay Sarno Won a Casino Empire, Lost It, and Inspired Modern Las Vegas
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Jay Sarno built two path-breaking Las Vegas casinos, Caesars Palace (1966) and Circus Circus (1968), and planned but did not build a third, the Grandissimo, which would have started the mega-resort era a decade before Steve Wynn built The Mirage. As mobsters and accountants battled for the soul of the last American frontier town, Las Vegas had endless possibilities--if you didn't mind high stakes and stiff odds. Sarno invented the modern Las Vegas casino, but he was part of a dying breed--a back-pocket entrepreneur who'd parlayed a jones for action and a few Teamster loans into a life as a Vegas casino owner. 

For all of his accomplishments, his empire didn't last. Sarno sold out of Caesars Palace shortly after it opened--partially to get away from the bookies and gangsters who'd taken over the casino--and he was forced to relinquish control of Circus Circus when the federal government indicted him on charges of offering the largest bribe in IRS history--a bribe he freely admitted paying, on the advice of his attorney, Oscar Goodman. Though he ultimately walked out of court a free man, he never got Circus back. And though he guessed the formula that would open up Las Vegas to millions in the 1990s with the design of the Grandissimo, but he wasn't able to secure the financing for the casino, and when he died in 1984, it remained only a frustrating dream.

Sarno's casinos--and his ideas about how to build casinos--created the template for Las Vegas today. Before him, Las Vegas meant dealers in string ties and bland, functional architecture. He taught the city how to dress up its hotels in fantasy, putting toga dresses on cocktail waitresses and making sure that even the stationery carried through with the theme. He saw Las Vegas as a place where ordinary people could leave their ordinary lives and have extraordinary adventures. And that remains the template for Las Vegas today.
Grandissimo is the story of how Jay Sarno won and lost his casino empire, inventing modern Las Vegas along the way. 
In Grandissimo, you'll learn Jay's fascinating story, and also plenty of things you never knew about Las Vegas, including: 

  • the true story about how Jimmy Hoffa's Teamsters Union first started funding Sarno projects 
  • how Steve Wynn ended up answering the telephone in Hoffa's suite on the second day Caesars Palace was open  
  • how Sarno, represented by Oscar Goodman, beat a seemingly-airtight case against him when he was accused of offering the largest bribe in IRS history to an undercover agent  
  • how Sarno's unbuilt Grandissimo became the template for the 1990s "mega-resort" era in Las Vegas 
From start to finish, it's the story of the man who inspired modern Las Vegas.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Author:

This was a difficult and great book for me to write. After writing Roll the Bones, a comprehensive history of gambling, I wanted to do something smaller in scale that could let me really dig into a topic as opposed to skimming over several millennia and continents' worth of history.
One day it just came to me: no one had written a book about Jay Sarno, who seemed to be one of the most colorful characters in Las Vegas history. After all, he'd built Caesars Palace and Circus Circus, two casinos that defined Las Vegas in different ways for more than a generation. So why not write about him?
I was started asking questions and finding people to interview, and discovered that Jay was a more interesting subject than I could have imagined. From his business partnerships with Jimmy Hoffa, Doris Day, and Kirk Kerkorian to his uncontrolled gambling and womanizing, this was a man who did everything in excess. 
I've learned that Jay Sarno was more than a casino builder; he was Las Vegas personified, and his life tells the story of that awkward transition in the 1970s and 1980s when the Strip was passing from the hands of old-school gamblers and hustlers to corporate types. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

From the Back Cover:

When Jay Sarno first visited Las Vegas in 1963, he was convinced the town was missing something--a sense of fantasy and fun. With the help of a few Teamster loans and his own artistic vision, Jay was able to deliver that fantasy with Caesars Palace and Circus Circus. And visitors to Las Vegas couldn't get enough of it.

Neither could Sarno, whose compulsive personality drove his spectacular successes and complicated his business and personal lives. With dangerous friends, powerful enemies, and an insatiable craving for action, Sarno lived his life to the fullest, winning big but losing the chance to build the Grandissimo, which would have inaugurated the mega-resort era of the 1990s a decade early. 

Grandissimo tells the true story of the man who made modern Las Vegas possible.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description Winchester Books, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Jay Sarno built two path-breaking Las Vegas casinos, Caesars Palace (1966) and Circus Circus (1968), and planned but did not build a third, the Grandissimo, which would have started the mega-resort era a decade before Steve Wynn built The Mirage. As mobsters and accountants battled for the soul of the last American frontier town, Las Vegas had endless possibilities-if you didn't mind high stakes and stiff odds. Sarno invented the modern Las Vegas casino, but he was part of a dying breed-a back-pocket entrepreneur who'd parlayed a jones for action and a few Teamster loans into a life as a Vegas casino owner. For all of his accomplishments, his empire didn't last. Sarno sold out of Caesars Palace shortly after it opened-partially to get away from the bookies and gangsters who'd taken over the casino-and he was forced to relinquish control of Circus Circus when the federal government indicted him on charges of offering the largest bribe in IRS history-a bribe he freely admitted paying, on the advice of his attorney, Oscar Goodman. Though he ultimately walked out of court a free man, he never got Circus back. And though he guessed the formula that would open up Las Vegas to millions in the 1990s with the design of the Grandissimo, but he wasn't able to secure the financing for the casino, and when he died in 1984, it remained only a frustrating dream. Sarno's casinos--and his ideas about how to build casinos--created the template for Las Vegas today. Before him, Las Vegas meant dealers in string ties and bland, functional architecture. He taught the city how to dress up its hotels in fantasy, putting toga dresses on cocktail waitresses and making sure that even the stationery carried through with the theme. He saw Las Vegas as a place where ordinary people could leave their ordinary lives and have extraordinary adventures. And that remains the template for Las Vegas today. Grandissimo is the story of how Jay Sarno won and lost his casino empire, inventing modern Las Vegas along the way. In Grandissimo, you'll learn Jay's fascinating story, and also plenty of things you never knew about Las Vegas, including: - the true story about how Jimmy Hoffa's Teamsters Union first started funding Sarno projects -how Steve Wynn ended up answering the telephone in Hoffa's suite on the second day Caesars Palace was open - how Sarno, represented by Oscar Goodman, beat a seemingly-airtight case against him when he was accused of offering the largest bribe in IRS history to an undercover agent - how Sarno's unbuilt Grandissimo became the template for the 1990s "mega-resort" era in Las Vegas From start to finish, it's the story of the man who inspired modern Las Vegas. Seller Inventory # APC9780990001607

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