06/26/2003 11:00PM

Defying a pick six rule of thumb


LAS VEGAS - It's often been said that if you're going to play the pick six, you have to play very small tickets or very big ones.

The reasoning is that you either have to view it like playing the lottery and invest just a few bucks and take a shot, hoping that it's your lucky day and the stars (and winning horses) line up, or you have to invest hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to give yourself a legitimate chance. Middle-priced tickets usually aren't deep enough to cover all the contenders, and are generally seen as hopeless. Besides, those losing middle-priced tickets can add up fast and deplete a player's bankroll.

Well, it's a good thing Royale Miles doesn't subscribe to that theory. He bought a $48 ticket at the Boulder Station race book this past Wednesday and hit the pick six at Hollywood Park for $120,468.80.

And, amazingly, he did it with only one favorite reaching the winner's circle, Flying Pilot ($5) in the third race. The other winners were Kofi ($13.60) in the fourth, Pocketfullofpesos ($14) in the fifth, Here Comes Big G ($14.40) in the sixth, Fun House ($9.20) in the seventh, and Bold Hush ($23.60) in the eighth.

He lists Torrance, Calif., as his residence, but Kelly Airgood, Boulder Station race and sports book manager, said the sixtysomething Miles is a regular player in Las Vegas, often accompanied by his son.

"He was still shaking with excitement when he came in here the other night," Airgood said. "He asked about how to handle getting paid and he joked about maybe needing his son to walk him to his car. He had no problem with us using his name and picture for promotional purposes. He was proud of it."

Miles also had five consolation tickets for $1,459.60 each, for total winnings of $127,766.80. After Uncle Sam took his cut, Miles walked out of the Boulder Station with some cash and a check making up the balance of $97,649.80. He also was clutching a photocopy of his winning ticket as a souvenir.

While he's collecting things, he will also want to save his losing tickets to recoup all or part of the more than $30,000 he paid in taxes.

Speaking of taxes . . .

The price of visiting Nevada will be going up. As of noon Friday, the Nevada state legislature was still trying to sort out how to fund the $4.8 billion budget that was approved last month. To pay for the expenditures, the state is instituting an $864 million tax package that will apply to all consumers, but a bulk of that will be paid by activities mostly done by tourists.

Among the proposals are a 1 percent increase in the hotel room tax, an increase to 90 cents per pack of cigarettes, an 89 percent increase in the liquor tax, and 10 percent entertainment tax on everything from concert and sporting event tickets to strip clubs and brothels. The entertainment tax is due to begin at casinos on July 1 and in other businesses by Jan. 1.

This was all supposed to be finalized when the legislature convened on June 2, but they're now in their second special session to finalize the budget by Monday's deadline to take effect by Tuesday, the start of the fiscal year.

* It will also cost a little more to get around, starting Tuesday. The "drop charge," the initial fee a passenger pays just to enter the cab, has been increased 10 cents to $2.80. The fee per mile remains $1.80, with a traffic-delay fee (very common on and near the Strip) of 37 cents per minute.

Top sports gaming site sold

VegasInsider.com, which is actually based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was purchased this past week by Sports Information Ltd. of the United Kingdom. Established in 1997, VegasInsider.com is believed to be the highest-traffic sports betting website in the world with 60,000 daily visitors generating more than 600,000 hits.

VegasInsider.com was previously owned by CBS Sportsline.com, which agreed to sell its gambling-related companies as part of an agreement to produce the NCAA's website, as well as the network's lucrative contract to televise March Madness.

Sports Information CEO Joe Saumarez Smith is now also the president of VegasInsider, but he said in a press release that he will retain VI's employees, though it should be noted that managing editor Barry Daniels and marketing manager Mark Franco were laid off prior to the official sale.

Industry insiders, especially the ones actually based in Las Vegas, are waiting to see what happens with Sportsline's sale of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the company originally founded by Roxy Roxborough, which supplies odds to 90 percent of the sports books in Nevada, as well as many offshore companies. The firm is regulated by the state, so whomever buys LVSC would need to be approved for a gaming license.

Race and sports book notes

As mentioned in Saturday's column, horse racing oddsmaker Frank Minervini has left Coast Casinos to work at The Borgata in Atlantic City and be closer to his family on the East Coast. His final day at work was Belmont Day, June 7.

Bob Gregorka, director of race book operations, has closed future book betting, which was previously monitored by Minervini, at the Coast Casinos until after the Gold Coast Summer Classic on July 10-12.

"We're busy with the tournament coming up and I just don't have time to stay on top of it," Gregorka said. "One thing I've learned is that June is a very slow month for futures. Since I took them down, I've only had two inquiries."

Gregorka said he hasn't decided how to replace Minervini.

* While we wait for that appointment, it's usually interesting to see how these things have a domino effect.

When the Casino MonteLago opened last month in Lake Las Vegas, Rob Terch was hired as the sports book director. Terch ran the Desert Inn's book for years until it closed in August 2000, then he opened the Terrible's book in December 2000 before moving on to the New Frontier in 2001.

At the New Frontier, Terch was replaced by Tony Nevill, who was previously at the Las Vegas Club downtown. Nevill was replaced by Larry Richards, who was promoted from shift supervisor.