Bet on Bowling - Vegas Makes an Old Sport New Again

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS November 2007 Bowling is cool again, and meeting groups are heating up the lanes at three new venues that do bowling as only Vegas can do it. Small high-end parties can take over the new retro-styled Kingpin Suite, which includes two full-size bowling lanes. And walking into the new Lucky Strike Lanes at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, which was opened last March by the PURE nightclub creators, feels more like entering a chic nightspot than the blowing alley of the past. "It is the ultra-lounge answer to bowling," says Don Ross, vice president of catering, conventions, and events for Harrah's Entertainment's six Las Vegas properties. "Instead of chicken wings and beer, it's martinis and tapas." Lucky Strike, which has 10 lanes and a 160-seat restaurant, can be bought out for a private event for up to 250 people.

The same sleek attitude prevails at Red Rock Lanes at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, particularly in the VIP Suites. "It is our completely upgraded boutique area," says Dennis Mathews, bowling operations manager. "There are leather couches and special effects like black lights, lasers, and fog, and a VIP host for each of the four-lane suites who can arrange anything from bottle service to gourmet dining." The VIP Suites can accommodate up to 120 people; the entire 72-lane center can handle up to 500. Each of four meeting rooms can host 60 people.

Mathews says groups frequently want to use the Red Rock Lanes for a reception or a teambuilding event. "It is because bowling has no age limit and isn't really talent driven, so everybody can do it. Meeting groups just have so much fun doing it, and now it is the cool thing to do in Vegas," he says.