The D has made an unexpected move in a town famous for imploding its history: they’ve brought back a fully restored vintage Sigma Derby game as the centerpiece of their second-floor vintage casino. If you’ve ever been to the MGM Grand and seen the table with the miniature horses with everyone crowded around it having a blast—that’s the one. I’ve only played it a couple times there because it’s so popular. It’s the kind of game where you can really have a good time with five bucks or less (it takes quarters).
The one at MGM is well-worn, and I doubt they’ll be taking it away soon, but The D’s new machine has been fully restored to what it looked like when Hunter S. Thompson was running around town. It can host up to 10 players, and someone will always win when the table is full. It’s the sort of fun and camaraderie we don’t get while zoning out solo in front of a typical slot machine.
The newly restored machine at The D is a pleasant surprise, and from my conversation with CEO Derek Stevens, it sounds like they have more in mind than just a name change. Read the entire interview after the jump.
AV: Why did the D seek out this vintage game to restore?
DS: Well, there are two key reasons. First off, when we determined that we were going to make this entire floor the vintage Vegas floor, we spent some time thinking, “what is the most classic game out there?” And Sigma Derby was first to my mind.
For me personally, what was interesting was that this was the very first machine I played when I first landed in Vegas in the late ’80′s. Back then, it was over at The Dunes on the “oasis” side of the casino. It was right in the middle of the casino floor.
How did you find this specific machine?
We spent a lot of time trying to acquire one; I put all of my slot guys on a search committee, and we finally found this one in California. We brought it back, got it up and running, and had it certified by the gaming control board. Then we went through the process of refurbishing it to the original specs, including the marquee and canopy, which had to be refabricated. It’s a complete replication of the original canopy.
Is this the first of other future game restorations in the works?
Yes, we’re really trying to focus on the coin-operated games here on the second floor. This is where we’re going to feature the games that were popular in the ’70′s and ’80′s.
With the name change and the acquisition of vintage games, is this part of a bigger plan to transform the way you do business downtown?
Absolutely. When we bought this property, we determined that we were going to fully renovate it. In doing that, we felt that the name change was important to signify a complete transformation.
Because this property is so unique in having two stories downtown, we wanted to be able to provide two different themes. Over the course of the next few months, you’re going to see a lot more neon up here, and a lot more LED down there; more Frank Sinatra upstairs, and more Katy Perry downstairs. That’s the thought process: to give people two different environments to enjoy.
ArtsVegas: Covering Las Vegas Art and culture since 2009.