Parry Thomas is still outspoken at 89,
and says Vegas needs a train to LA now
By STEVE FRIESS
One story in the news caught my eye as I flew to Sun Valley, Idaho, a few weeks ago to interview the man who made Vegas possible. Some Clark County commissioners were kvetching over whether to allow the use of some redevelopment money to help finance a new arena on the property formerly occupied by Wet N Wild, an idea they eventually nixed.
One intriguing reason: They feared that the competition with the Thomas & Mack would harm UNLV’s cash flow. That made some sense to me, but a few hours later, when I arrived at my destination, I decided to ask someone who ought to know. I mean, after all, Parry Thomas is the “Thomas” in the university landmark, and that first arena—and the university itself, really—was built largely because he and Jerry Mack acquired the land for it.
“Oh, that’s bull,” the 89-year-old Thomas replied. “There will have to be an adjustment, but I’m all for the new arena. It’s great for business and anything that’s great for business is great for the university. We add a big sports center and we add all kinds of activities. You get major sports, you’ll get some of the biggest gamblers in the world down there. There’s certainly room for two venues.”
Before you write this off as the mutterings of an out-of-touch oldster, keep in mind the speaker’s track record. In the 1960s, bankers Thomas and Mack loaned money to casinos when nobody else would. Because they secured the capital, the “good old days” happened.
You know what else Thomas thinks would held Vegas recover
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