09/22/2004 12:00AM

Seems everyone's shooting on location in Las Vegas


What happens here, stays here.

That's the slogan in the ad campaign from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. It's meant to let people know they can come to Sin City and let their hair and inhibitions down, do things they couldn't or wouldn't do in their hometown, and then go back to their everyday lives without anyone being the wiser.

Just make sure there aren't any camera crews around.

Vegas has become such a voyeur's delight that the things that go on here are shown nightly on television. The current state of affairs is reflected in billboards around town for the Discovery Channel's "American Casino" program, which features the Green Valley Ranch.

The Discovery Channel's slogan is: "What happens at GVR . . . is watched by millions."

"American Casino," which has met with much more critical success than the similar yet trashier "The Casino" on Fox, returns to the air with a new episode Friday at 8 p.m., Eastern and Pacific.

The show has been on hiatus since shortly after the death on July 6 of Michael Tata, GVR's vice president of hotel operations and one of the breakout stars of the show, kind of the man you loved to hate. The coroner's office ruled the death of Tata, 33, was caused by an overdose of alcohol and fentanyl, an opium-based painkiller. The episode that shows the hotel staff dealing with Tata's death is expected to air on Oct. 1.

A second season of "American Casino" has been ordered, so camera crews continue to film at Green Valley Ranch.

Other Vegas-related shows:

* CBS's "Dr. Vegas," starring Rob Lowe as a casino house doctor with a gambling problem, makes its debut Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. A lot of the early production, including exterior shots, was done at GVR and around Vegas, though most of the show is now shot on Hollywood sets.

* A&E's "Caesars" continues to shoot at - where else? - Caesars Palace. Caesars also has had film crews recently following chef Bobby Flay with the opening of his Mesa Grill restaurant, as well as scenes for the Fox boxing reality show "The Next Great Champ."

* CBS's "CSI" and Fox's "Las Vegas" also often come to town for exterior shots and to hit the hot spots. "American Idol" was here for auditions last week, and if there's a poker game going on, there's sure to be a crew filming it. Currently filming is the "Ultimate Poker Challenge" at the Plaza.

* And there's an endless stream of crews in and out of town for The Travel Channel and Discovery Channel shows on Vegas.

So, smile, you might be on camera.

Football contest updates

There is a three-way tie atop the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest standings as "RoyBoy" and "Money in Bundles" each went 5-0 last week to improve to 9-1 and catch "King Crab," who followed up his 5-0 opening-week record with a 4-1 mark this past week. Ten contestants are right behind at 8-2. Selections for all of the 411 handicappers who put up the $1,500 entry fee, as well as the consensus plays for each game, are available at the Hilton on Friday afternoons.

* "Daniel J Allen" and "Rod" are tied for the lead in the Golden Nugget's Ultimate Football Challenge, which attracted 95 entrants at $5,000 apiece. They both have 10 points, as they are 8-2 overall and 2-0 on their best bets, which are worth two points each week. Seven handicappers are close behind with nine points.

* Participants in Station Casinos' Gambler's Challenge had a tougher go of it this past week. "Ace Karalis" and "Colts" have the lead at 8-2 with a whopping 18 contestants just a victory behind at 7-3. Selections for the Nugget and Stations contests are available in the respective books on Saturday.

* Legendary bookmaker-handicapper Jimmy Vaccaro went 6-1 in the Stardust Invitational to advance over Vinnie Magliulo, director of race and sports book operations for the upcoming Wynn Las Vegas megaresort. Vaccaro's only loss was on Auburn -1 1/2 vs. LSU, as Auburn won but by only a point, 10-9. In addition, Vaccaro raffled off a $550 bet to someone in the audience, and that person won with the Jaguars +2 1/2 vs. the Broncos. Magliulo also fared well, going 4-3 and winning with his best bet. Through the first two weeks of the single-elimination tournament, the participants are a combined 18-10 (64 percent) against the spread and 3-1 on best bets. Friday night's matchup, held at the Stardust from 9-10 p.m. and on KDWN AM-720 and kdwn.com, is between Cesar Robaina, former chief oddsmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, and Pete White, father of current LVSC chief oddsmaker Ken White and a renowned handicapper in his own right.

Viva Race Vegas

It's been 40 years since Elvis Presley played a racecar driver in the film "Viva Las Vegas," and chased his opponents and Ann-Margret all over town, but auto racing has never been a bigger attraction. On Saturday night, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is hosting a program called "Double Down in the Desert," so-named because there is a Nascar Craftsman Truck Series race at 7 p.m. and a Champ Car World Series race immediately afterward.

It will definitely be a contrast in styles as the trucks will be running in the low 100's (that could refer to the miles per hour as well as the temperature) and then in the Champ Cars series, formerly known as CART, the Indy-type cars will be zooming around in excess of 200 mph.

And you can't have a sporting event in Las Vegas and not have people that want to bet on it, so Station Casinos has odds on both events. Carl Edwards is the Truck Series favorite at 5-1, followed by Travis Kvapil and points leader Bobby Hamilton at 6-1, and Ted Musgrave and Chad Chaffin at 8-1.

In the Champ Car race, Sebastian Bourdais is the heavy favorite at 9-5, with Bruno Junqueira at 5-2 and Patrick Carpentier at 9-2. Micah Roberts, auto racing oddsmakers for the Station Casinos, also has head-to-head matchups and prop bets available.

There will also be practice sessions on Friday. Check lvms.com for details on the weekend of events, including the Nascar Street Party from 7-8 p.m. Friday outside the Lady Luck casino on 3rd Street in downtown Vegas.