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Derek Stevens is ready for the next evolution of downtown Las Vegas

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Derek Stevens, owner of the D, poses for a photo outside his casino, Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.
Derek Stevens, owner of the D, poses for a photo outside his casino, Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

By Brock Radke
Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018 | 2 a.m.

Derek Stevens is quick to dismiss any comparisons between his gaming and hospitality achievements in downtown Las Vegas and those of the well-known casino visionaries who have come before him.

But there are legitimate similarities. Jackie Gaughan, Bill Boyd, Benny Binion and others were known for working hard, paying attention to every detail of their business and being unafraid to take risks. That’s the only way to achieve true innovation.

“I always thought of myself as not the smartest guy in any room but I always thought, if nothing else, I’ll always be able to work as hard as anybody in the room,” Stevens says from an upper-floor conference room at The D, one of two Fremont Street casino resorts the Michigan native owns and operates with his brother, Greg. “It probably goes back to well before we were in Las Vegas, to our manufacturing plants. When I was younger I always tried to be the guy that showed up first and the guy to go home last. In Las Vegas, that’s not really possible because the doors never close and somebody’s always here. But I’ve stuck with that principle for a long time.”

Stevens has become the new face of gaming downtown after acquiring and renovating the Golden Gate (the oldest hotel in the city), The D (formerly Fitzgerald’s) and a new casino-hotel he’s building from the ground up on the site of the former Las Vegas Club. He’s also snatched up other downtown parcels for future projects, including the block behind The D that’s been transformed into the multi-use Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, which hosts plenty of concerts, football and hockey watch parties and more.

He’s been able to get creative and sometimes experimental as he helps rejuvenate the Fremont Street area because he’s captivated by downtown Las Vegas and is always around. Stevens spends as much time as he can in his casinos meeting with staff and guests, always gathering information.

“I want to be around people that love being here and I try to bring that energy with all of our people and our customers,” he says. “The more you’re here the more you get to see and pick up on. I don’t want to spend my business career relying solely on reports. I like to be in the mix and really see what I like and what I don’t. If a light bulb is out, I want it changed in a few minutes, not changed on a normal review once a week. Those things have always meant a lot to me.” Continue reading…


Travelocity customers choose their 10 favorite Las Vegas hotels

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A view of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada September 16, 2011. STEVE MARCUS
A view of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada September 16, 2011 - STEVE MARCUS

By VEGAS INC staff

12 October 2011
11:44 a.m.

Las Vegas is home to more than 300 hotels and motels stocked with almost 125,000 rooms. Choosing the right one can be daunting.

Travelocity tried to make the task easier by culling through customer reviews to compile a list of the city’s top 10 hotels, based on visitors’ feedback.

The list may surprise you:

1. Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas: Customers said they enjoyed the hotel’s views and location. It “allows you easy access to all that Vegas has to offer, but also allows you to retreat into a tranquil space,” one customer wrote.

2. Encore at Wynn Las Vegas: One guest described the customer service at Encore as “over the top.” Another said he enjoyed the “spacious room with wonderful views, adding that “the bed was so comfortable, it was difficult to get out in the mornings.”

3. The Signature at MGM Grand: “The bathroom! Wow…the bathroom!” one customer wrote.

4. Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa: Guests said they enjoyed the amenities at Red Rock. “This hotel looked nice from the outside, but the inside was gorgeous,” a customer wrote. “If you’re looking for a resort a short ways away from the Strip but with all the amenities then this hotel is the one,” another added.

5. THE hotel at Mandalay Bay: “The immaculate lobby area and the serene aroma was truly a warming inviting welcome,” a guest wrote. Another called the pool the “best in Las Vegas.”

6. Bellagio: Customers described the Bellagio as “luxury at its finest.” “The hotel, staff service, room quality, cleanliness and convenience to everything in the heart of Vegas was superb,” a guest wrote read more…


“Kato Kaelin: From house guest to wedding guest”

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Brian Kato Kaelin
Brian "Kato" Kaelin

The following story was originally published March 26, 2009:
“Kato Kaelin: From house guest to wedding guest” – LasVegasSun.com story By Melissa Arseniuk · March 26, 2009.

“America’s most notorious houseguest, Kato Kaelin, is about to make his Vegas debut as Sin City’s most notorious wedding guest.”

“Kaelin will assume the role of a “celebrity wedding crasher” in Planet Hollywood’s off-Broadway show, “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding,” for two weeks. His first performance will be tomorrow [March 27] night and the actor will reprise the role through April 9.”

“Kaelin will arrive in Las Vegas this afternoon [March 26] and will be attending the celebrity-studded classic rock showcase at the Hilton, Monster Circus, this evening.”

“The 50-year-old actor sprung into the spotlight in 1994 during the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Once a struggling actor, Kaelin had been staying in Simpson’s guesthouse on the night the NFL All-Star’s ex-wife and lover were allegedly murdered. Kaelin served as a witness during both of Simpson’s trials and his inconsistent testimony and foggy memory led prosecutor Marcia Clark to call him a hostile witness.”
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