12/03/2003 12:00AM

Vegas, Vinton bond with 'Jackpot Night'


Las Vegas is in a different world from Vinton, La., and that has very little to do with the 1,300 miles separating the two.

Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert. Vinton is in the middle of nowhere. Las Vegas is a booming metropolis with a population of 1.5 million in the immediate area. Vinton is a town of 3,300 located more than 100 miles from the nearest big city. Las Vegas is world famous. Vinton is not. We could go on and on, but that's not necessary.

The two cities do have something in common, however: gambling. Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Inc. bought Vinton's Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino in 2001, and the influx of slot machines in 2002 has helped quadruple purses at the track and led to the $1 million Delta Jackpot Stakes that will be run Friday night.

Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, the Boyd-owned locals casino located on Boulder Highway in Las Vegas, is looking to make the ties between the two cities even stronger by holding a "Delta Jackpot Night" in the race book to celebrate the big card, which includes three other stakes. First post is 4:45 p.m., Vegas time. Sam's Town will have $2,500 in cash drawings throughout the night, along with a special $2,500 handicapping contest.

"We had been thinking about doing a fan appreciation night for our players and hadn't come up with anything," said Norman Kelly, race book manager at Sam's Town. "Then some of the Delta people were out here, and we started bouncing some ideas off each other. They said if we put up $2,500 that they would put up $2,500, and that set the wheels in motion."

Each person in the race/sports book will receive one drawing ticket, and additional tickets are earned for every $5 wager on a Delta Downs race. Five tickets for $100 apiece will be drawn after the third through seventh races. Prizes must be claimed before the next race. All unclaimed prizes will be redrawn after the eighth race - the Delta Jackpot Stakes - until all of the money is given away.

The handicapping contest will be on the fourth through ninth races at Delta Downs. Post time for the fourth race is scheduled for 6 p.m., Vegas time. Entrants will be scored on a mythical $2 across-the-board wager with no caps. First prize is $750, second prize is $375, and third prize is $125. Winners need not be present, but they'll want to be, as prizes are doubled if collected in person Friday night.

"We want everyone to come out and have fun," Kelley said, "but we also want them to stick around, and that's why we put that rule in."

Other racing promotions

The Coast Casinos (The Orleans, Gold Coast, Barbary Coast, and Suncoast) are trying to bring in players to their race books to try out the newly installed Interactive Player Terminals, the machines that let you bet from your seat. IPTs also allow you to access track and betting pool information at your convenience, as opposed to when the track's simulcast signal decides to show it to you.

Anyone opening a new IPT account before the end of the year will receive a free buffet for two. In addition, all IPT wagers earn double Turf Club points for further comps.

* The race books at the Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station, neighboring casinos on Rancho Drive that are both owned by Station Casinos, are teaming up for "Losing Ticket Drawings" this month.

The horse or greyhound bets must be made with a racebook player ID number, and losing tickets are then deposited in a drum for a drawing the following day (note: Saturday through Tuesday tickets will be drawn Wednesday). After the seventh race at the Southern California track each Wednesday through Sunday, three tickets will be drawn. The first ticket will be worth $100 cash plus a certificate worth a $25 parimutuel wager on that day's eighth race. The second ticket will be worth a $15 wager on the eighth race and the third ticket will be worth a $10 bet.

Winners must claim their prize within two minutes or another ticket will be drawn. If SoCal racing is canceled for any reason, the drawings will be held at 5 p.m.

Football contest update

The Stardust Invitational handicapping tournament enters its semifinal round this Friday at 9 p.m. in the sports book (and live on KDWN AM-720 and www.kdwn.com). Local handicapper Ted Sevransky, who is 12-1-1 in his two previous appearances, will be taking on GamingToday managing editor David Stratton. The other semifinal will be next week between Las Vegas Advisor's Steve Fezzik and Las Vegas Sports Consultants co-owner Ken White, who was 6-1 last week to defeat Jimmy Vaccaro's 5-2. Both won their best bets. In fact, the best bets of all Stardust Invitational contestants this year are 23-9 (71.9 percent)

* Former leader "Peter and Paul" went 5-0 last week in the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest to catch "Jarhead," who posted a 3-2 mark, for first place with 43.5 points. "Jarhead" is 41-19-5 while "Peter and Paul" is 43-21-1. Pushes are worth half a point. "Jarhead" and "Peter and Paul" have opened up a 1 1/2-game lead on "betaadss.com," who has 42 points, and a two-game edge on "Azeri" and "Moxie," who have 41.5.

* "Jarhead" maintained his 2 1/2-game lead in the Station Casinos Gambler's Challenge with his 3-2 week and overall record of 42-19-4, worth 44 points. "Big Richie" went 4-1 to take over second place from "AJ Sports."

* Selections of all the leaders in the SuperContest and Gambler's Challenge will be available in their respective sports books Friday afternoon. Stardust Invitational selections will be available after the show.