In a major step toward the de-Maloofization of the Palms, one of its signature attractions closed last weekend. As of yesterday, one can no longer gamble, ogle Bunnies nor do anything else at the semi-private Playboy Club. It was one of the few truly European-style casinos in Las Vegas and, as of the close of business Sunday, it is no more. The Palms’ private-equity owners wasted no time in removing the bunny-head logo from the casino’s eastern façade: A long, towering crane had been in standby near the Palms early last week. And if you’re thinking of scarfing up some Playboy-branded memorabilia, I hear all of that has vanished from the premises, too. (Check eBay, guys.)
A few Palms apologists have offered the excuse that, oh well, nightclub themes come and go, and it was time for a change. Pardon my skepticism but we’re talking about one of the most durable brand names on Planet Earth. Does anyone really think it ran its course in less than six years? Mind you, Playboy’s decades-long love affair with the casino industry has been a mostly unrequited one. Palms prez Joseph Magliarditi is going to “re-concept [sic]” the former Playboy Club, probably into a clone of umpteen other bottle service-and-douchebags hangouts around town. The bottom line is … the bottom line. By giving Hugh Hefner the boot (as well as hair stylist Michael Boychuck, who closes up shop later this month), the Palms saves several million dollars a year in licensing fees, which should be music to ownership’s ears.
Just as I expected. Legislators in Illinois, being under no time pressure to get a gambling-expansion bill onto Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk, are going to stall until the lame-duck session. The all-but-explicit strategy is that solons who have been either voted out or are safely re-elected will give Rep. Lou Lang the two votes he needs for an override. In the state Senate, Terry Link (D) needs to get six more votes, which looks like an awful big stretch at the moment.
If you don’t hear much from me this week, it’s because I’m under the gun on a pair of travel guides for USA Today and a Bally Technologies featurette for the British magazine, Casino Life. The latter project has been much delayed by uncooperative and unavailable casino executives (*cough*Valley Forge Casino Resort*cough*), who seem allergic to getting free publicity for their slot-bonusing system. And when I’m done with those, there’s a potted biography of Sheldon Adelson to be written, a history of IGRA, a profile of …