Category Archives: Casinos

Phil Ruffin likes a good deal — if he’s the one getting it

WICHITA — It’s no wonder Phil Ruffin does business in Las Vegas instead of merely his hometown of Wichita.

Ruffin, who owns Treasure Island, recently added 40,000 square feet of retail space to the casino and hotel. CVS signed the first lease at the new space at $300 a square foot.

“Can you imagine that?” Ruffin says of the price. “Isn’t that crazy?”

Wichita prices are significantly less at more like $15 to $25 a square foot.

Ruffin says a lot of Wichitans are coming to his hotel, but he’s not giving them any special deals.

“Hell no.”

Kansas Star Casino working on reception

WICHITA — Visitors to the Kansas Star Casino have found it frustrating that their cell phones often don’t work while they’re there, but the casino is working to fix that.

While some casinos do scramble signals on purpose to prevent cheating, that’s not the case at the Kansas Star, says public relations manager Megan Strader.

“Two years ago, this was a field,” she says of the casino’s Mulvane site. “There isn’t an abundance of cell phone towers in this area.”

Even outdoors on the grounds of the casino, it can be tough to get a signal.

In addition, Strader says the casino’s building has “an immense amount of steel” for signals to penetrate.

She says the casino is looking at ways around the issue.

“It’s something we do want to work on,” she says.

“Trust me, it drives us crazy, too.”

Phil Ruffin solves one headache, fights another and does lots of business in between

WICHITA — As always, Phil Ruffin has a lot on his plate, and some things are going better than others.

This week, a federal judge threw out an age discrimination lawsuit against Ruffin’s Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

“We wanted to put a first-class spa in,” Ruffin says of his wife’s namesake Oleksandra Spa & Salon. “Oleksandra was very familiar with that business and wanted a bunch of new things put in.”

That included hiring people with the necessary skill sets, he says.

“The ones who didn’t have the skills sued us,” Ruffin says.

He describes it as a typical headache.

“You get those things all the time. You try not to, but you can’t help it sometimes.”

He’s also added a second Starbucks on his property along with the Margarita Bar, both of which are near Treasure Island’s pirate show on the strip.

“Nine thousand people a night look at that,” Ruffin says. He wants to accommodate each of them with a drink.

Ruffin also is working with Cirque Du Soleil to revamp “Mystere,” one of the most popular Vegas shows, which also is at Treasure Island.

The new show debuts Feb. 12.

“It should be an even better show,” Ruffin says.

Back in Wichita, Ruffin is once again working on getting slots at his closed Wichita Greyhound Park.

“We keep trying,” he says.

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Kansas Casino Shuttle prepares to expand its service

WICHITA — The new Kansas Casino Shuttle, which has been operating out of Old Town since New Year’s, is preparing to expand its popular free service to the east and west sides of Wichita.

“We’re getting to bring the full model out,” says owner Dennis Sanders, who is offering free rides to the new Kansas Star Casino. “We were just kind of testing the waters.”

The colorfully decorated shuttles offer free rides from the Farm & Art Market Plaza every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. Pick ups are at the top of every hour. The shuttle returns from the casino every half hour.

Sanders pays for the shuttles through print and video advertising inside the shuttles.

Riders love it, Sanders says.

“They just can’t believe that it’s free.”

There will be several east and west pick-up points, though they’ve not been finalized yet. Sanders says to keep an eye on the shuttle’s website or call 316-262-4500. The new locations will be ready next month.

There’s no drinking on the shuttles, but Sanders says it’s a great service for people who want to drink at the casino and not have to drive.

“It’s really cool and fun, like a party bus atmosphere on there,” Sanders says. “It’s a free party bus.”


Phil Ruffin is looking for a new casino to buy

WICHITA — last week reported that Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin may want to buy the adjacent Mirage hotel and casino.

The publication couldn’t reach Ruffin, but Have You Heard? did.

“We approached them, and they don’t have anything on the market,” Ruffin says of Mirage owner MGM International Resorts.

He wants the Mirage in part because of its proximity to his property.

“Well, it hooks onto my casino here,” he says. “They kind of go together.”

He also made an offer on the Beau Rivage hotel and casino in Biloxi, Miss., which MGM also owns.

Ruffin says he likes MGM’s properties — the company sold him Treasure Island in 2008 — but he’s not pursuing them any further for now.

“It’s hard to buy them when they’re not for sale,” he says. “And you never want to chase a deal. You’ll pay too much when you start.”

Still, Ruffin is interested in buying another casino, and he says he has the money to do it.

“We’re always interested in expansion,” he says. “We’re just going to bide our time.

“At some point, we will pick up another casino down the road.”

So how many is he legally allowed to own?

“As many as you can afford, you can have ’em.”

You don’t say

“It takes 20 acts of Congress to turn a dime in.”

— The response from a tour guide at the new Boot Hill Casino and Resort in Dodge City after someone gave her a found dime, which she held away from her as if it were poison and which took 10 minutes of paperwork to turn in

You don’t say

“Where is Jimmy Buffett when you need him? Parrot heads RULE!”

— Retired concert promoter Buck Goodman’s comment on this blog upon hearing Brad Paisley is Intrust Bank Arena’s opening act (Goodman says Paisley is great and will probably sell out but isn’t a superstar)

Pauly’s Productions opens in Delano

delano2WICHITA — Today is the first day of business for Pauly’s Productions, a new studio at 827 W. Maple in Delano.

Paul Jacobs started the business to offer studio time and lessons.

Joshua Wiley is the full-time instructor for guitar and bass.

Jacobs is looking to bring on a piano teacher next.

The business will be open seven days a week. Jacobs thinks he’d like to offer studio time on the weekends and lessons during the week.

The studio has a vocal booth and a drum room.

“It is all state-of-the-art,” Jacobs says. “I record everything in high definition. We have both digital and analog equipment.”

Wiley says lessons will be in “everything from classical to metal to music theory — everything.”

Instruments can be provided for the studio time and lessons.

“We understand the economy is kind of in the dumps right now,” Wiley says.

He has a degree in special education and would like to offer some kind of musical opportunity to special-needs children.

“I’ve got the patience for it, but I’m not sure how to go about it,” Wiley says.

He’d like to hear from parents about what they might like.

“The main thing we try to do is to have a good time while being productive,” Jacobs says.

Bill Cosby, Don King just two of Phil Ruffin’s new celebrity pals

WICHITA — Donald Trump is hardly Phil Ruffin’s only celebrity friend.

billcosbyHe’s now struck a deal with Bill Cosby to do shows at his Treasure Island in Las Vegas, and he’s enjoying getting to know the comedian.

“He says, ‘Ruffin, I’m taking over,’ ” Ruffin says of Cosby’s recent visit to his office.

“I brought you lunch,” Cosby said of a chili hamburger he brought.

“While he gave me the unhealthy hamburger, he himself had this asparagus and broccoli salad,” Ruffin says.

And he shared.

“Now, Ruffin,” Cosby said, “you’ve got to have part of this broccoli salad so if your wife asks you what you had for lunch, you can honestly tell her.”

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