Plaza CEO’s plan: Lose Greyhound, but keep a high roller happy

The Greyhound bus station’s move out of downtown has cost a Plaza VIP guest his favorite means of transportation.

The unidentified player periodically arrived at the hotel on one of the famed silver shuttles. He then walked to the Plaza next door, where he was a favored casino customer.

In November, during his “On the Corner of Main Street” podcast, Plaza Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Jossel told his guest, Sheriff Joe Lombardo, of this high roller who rolled into the hotel on a Greyhound.

The station abutted the Plaza for 50 years until closing Tuesday for a move to Sunset Road near McCarran International airport. Jossel plans a massive hotel expansion on that lot, where the Plaza’s “Founding Fathers” authorized the original deal with Greyhound when the hotel opened in 1971.

Jossel said he believed developer Frank E. Scott ultimately put the Plaza and Greyhound station together. The hotel was originally managed by such Vegas tourism icons as Sam Boyd, Bill Boyd Jackie Gaughan and J.K. Houssels Jr.

Jossel has called the end of the Greyhound lease “the end of an era.” The hotel exec reminisced with the sheriff a few months ago, when he first made the Greyhound announcement.

“I’ll tell you something crazy, we have a casino guest, a very, very good casino guest … and I understand he is scared of flying,” Jossel told Lombardo. “I don’t know why, but Greyhound is his method of transport. He comes here with a briefcase of cash.”

“Oh, really?” Lombardo said, clearly curious. “Maybe you don’t want to put that out there. Then we’ll have people stalking Greyhound.”

“I’m not going to say how much it is. There’s only 10 bucks in the case,” Jossel said, laughing. “There’s nothing in the case.”

“Maybe he wears a money belt,” Lombardo offered. “You can’t even see it.”

This person did score a big win days before the interview.

“He won the other day, and just got back on the bus with the money,” said. “I couldn’t believe it. Bizarre.”

The gentleman is a very big craps player, Jossel said Thursday. He offered no further details. But he’s keeping him as a customer.

“We’re going to have to send a limo to the Regional Transportation Center to pick him up there,” Jossel said. “He’s going to take the bus to the RTC, and now he’s going to get picked up by us.”

Jossel said his plans to expand over the Greyhound site would begin to take hold after Greyhound formally pulls off the parcel in July, when the lease agreement expires.

“After that we’ll finalize what we want to do with the site,” Jossel said. “I can’t wait to tell you all that we already have planned.”

‘Greyhound! The Musical’

Years before starring in “Zombie Burlesque,” Enoch Augustus Scott starred at an ongoing show next to the Greyhound terminal. He actually portrayed “Bad Santa” and Cupid, among other characters, in 2004-2005 at a giant fake slot machine. The street show was conceived and directed by veteran Vegas producer Blair Farrington.

“We were right next to Greyhound, and we were offering a free buffet, free drink with one spin,” Scott said this week. “For a lot of homeless people, it was the first step and the first stop after the Greyhound station. So, they loved it. We had a crowd. We had homeless people hooking up. It was a real show, I tell ya.”

Scott recalls his biggest celeb sighting at that location.

“It was Ed McMahon,” said Scott, laughing until he snorted. “Ed McMahon, right? He got into a limo. A glorious day at the big fake slot machine.”

Tickets to ride

The venerable Vegas ticket broker Ken Solky of LasVegasTickets.com says the city is starting to rumble back to life. Solky can quantify this feeling, as he’s now selling Vegas Golden Knights and showroom entertainment.

Vegas is on the entertainment rebound in a big way,” Solky said Thursday. “Sales are beginning to grow.” VGK tickets and also the March 7 Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube March 7 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been a life preserver for Solky.

“As soon as those two events announced fans with minimal capacity, fans started buying,” says Solky, who has been in business for more than 25 years. “People miss their sports.”

Solky says the ribald circus show “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and body-oil spectacular “Thunder From Down Under” at Excalibur have topped the list for reopening demand. As he puts it, “Our clients are happy and feeling safer every day.”

Cellar coming back

The Comedy Cellar at the Rio will return, says club owner Noam Dworman. “Yes, we’re coming back. In a week or two I hope!” Dworman texted Wednesday. Most if not all Las Vegas comedy clubs are committed to a post-pandemic return.

Greene old deal

We checked on Shecky Greene a few days ago, just to say hello. We didn’t make it to, “How are you?” before Greene launched into something of a one-man show.

“I am the LAST one to be in this town, everybody else is gone, and nobody knows it!” said the comedy legend who starred for years at Riviera, among other Vegas haunts.

Greene then recited his birthday, “I’ll be 95 soon, born on April 8, My birth name was “OOOOAAAAAAH!” That’s the sound she made when I was born!” Keep living it up, Shecky, for all time.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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