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October 1998 Article

Exclusively Found in the Insider Viewpoint of Las Vegas

Bring On The Girls -- Or Else!
By: Frank Rosenthal

Just because I authored it does not make it right." "The Argent Corporation (Stardust-Fremont- Hacienda-Marina) is not governed by the democratic process." "There are 3 ways to operate this Corporation. "The right way, the wrong, and my way." As the Director of Nevada Operations and Chief Executive Officer, I counseled with and reported to one man, the Chairman of the Board, Allan R. Glick. We did not have the fanciest of Hotel and Casinos, but we knew how to generate a positive cash flow. The prerequisite demanded a very high level of understanding for administration, marketing, flawless casino management and strict discipline.

Allan Glick was a brilliant administrator with an intellectual mind. He leaned toward me, and personally notified the entire corporation of approximately 4000 plus employees that "Frank Rosenthal is my eyes, my ears, and my alter ego." Casino personnel, especially the majority of old timers, did not take kindly to change. Additionally, they generally became very impressed with themselves. Some were "dead sharp," the majority were not. When you work in an environment where cash is king, and the casinos bale it in quicker than farmers in harvest time, you acquire a false sense of personal superiority. As you witness a human minds self destruction and challenging the games of the casino, you're prone to assume personal credit for the property's success. You may become stubborn or inflexible, or perhaps mildly defiant. Such was the case when the chairman and I decided it was time to "BRING ON THE GIRLS."

Downtown Las Vegas was experimenting with female dealers on live games. Downtown is not uptown by any stretch of the imagination, however, it was time to begin the inevitable. One of our most qualified Casino Executives, Murray Ehrenberg planted the seed. Before Murray came over to join the Stardust team, he was Steve Wynn's number one man at the downtown Golden Nugget.

One night we took a ride over to Fremont Street and surveyed the entire casino. We looked at their personnel, their procedures and their traffic flow. The first thing I noticed was the girls, and their ability to deal. The better ones were able to effectively cut and stack chips, shuffle, scoop, place the winning payoffs exactly where they belonged in a smooth friendly manner. They had winning smiles, and they were not aware that we were privately auditioning them. I was relatively impressed, and that does not happen very often. I decided it was the right time to recruit the most qualified and attractive girls onto the strip.

I discussed my philosophy and game plan with the top executives at the Stardust. They appeared to be stunned, however cautious by avoiding any appearance of dissent. That would come later. Occasionally, kind of kidding on the square, I would remind "the click" that the boss man ain't always right, but he's always the boss man. I learned that catch phrase from a very wise shoeshine gentleman and never did forget it. Art Garelli was the Casino Manager and was in private, sorely opposed to breaking the barrier. I was reminded "Frank, girls are going to be problems." "Why is that Arty."

"We're going to have more romances in this casino than they have in Hollywood." I asked if there was more. "What about their female time of the month, were not going to able to depend upon them." With that I laid out the game plan.

"I'll be leaving for about a week, hire 12 gals, 4 for each shift, days, swing and graveyard, and be sure to hire the cream of crop. I will be checking with you daily, take care of the ship and let's get it on."

I honestly did not have a clue that Art Garelli and the boys would attempt to stonewall the move. He did have the support of every single top casino man in the house. Like I said, the "click" was always present and I didn't mind that, so long as they performed and met the standards corresponding to their titles and responsibilities. They were very well paid, highly respected, treated well and were never denied a bonus when it was available. Allan Glick was well known for demanding the most qualified personnel and compensating them far above the industry's standard.

My family and I left for Palm Springs, California hoping to enjoy some good weather and a bit of R & R. I would check in with the casino 3 to 4 times a day, however I didn't think to ask about the girls until 24 hours before my return. I had assumed that the girls were in place, and that all was well. The day prior to returning, I asked Arty how the girls were doing! At that point he tenuously informed me that he hadn't had the necessary time to complete the transition. The cat was out of the bag, and I quickly grasped the situation. I was surprised and admittedly stunned. With that I instructed Mr. Garelli to hire one dozen girls within the next 24 hours "OR ELSE," Arty knew I was dead serious. He reminded me that if he were to follow my instructions we would be "way over staffed." I responded by saying, "okay Arty, terminate 12 of the weakest dealers, and make it pronto." Mr. Garelli politely reminded me that 1, he would follow my instructions, and 2, that we better be ready and prepared for a revolution within the casino. He further advised that we would be subject to a severe fine and more by way of the NLRB. "Frank, the National Labor Relations Board will crucify us. Would you please give me a little more time, I swear, I will get it done." "Sure thing Arty, you've got 24 hours. Good Luck!"

I returned to Las Vegas about 36 hours later and deliberately avoided speaking with the young Casino Manager. I did contact our Chairman and made him aware of the entire situation. I was in a situation that was somewhat dangerous. Arty was in deeper. He was notified that should he, for any reason, fail to follow my instructions forthwith, his job security would vanish. I did have the full support of our Chairman and we both felt that the terminations were unjust, however necessary. Mr. Garelli became a 24-hour magician and the girls were in the casino. We caught some heat, but that too goes with the territory. Eventually we resolved our problems and Mr. Garelli kept his job. The dealers that got fired were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and we all know how that can go.

…Stay tuned.

Frank Rosenthal


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