Winning! Director of specialty games bets on success
It was special father-son time that set Frank Kunovic on his career path. “As a kid my dad would take me up to Hawthorne or Balmoral, and bet on the ponies,” said the South Side, Chicago native. “As soon as I was of legal age, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do.” More specifically, Kunovic sought a career in gaming—today, he’s the director of specialty games for Caesars Palace, Rio and Harrah’s, overseeing each property’s race and sports books and poker rooms.
As soon as Kunovic turned 18, his first job was taking bets at an off-track betting venue in Crestwood, Ill. When he turned 21, he set his sights on Las Vegas. In 2003, he landed his first job at Harrah’s sports book as a ticket writer. Over the next few years, he immersed himself in the industry and in 2006 was offered a management position at Harrah’s in Laughlin, Nev. That job put Kunovic on the management path and he hasn’t looked back, helping to set up and run the sports books and poker rooms for Caesars Entertainment including properties like Bally’s, Paris, Planet Hollywood and, for the past two years, Caesars Palace.
“I’m probably the only 37-year-old in Las Vegas that has been in the industry as long as I have,” Kunovic said, smiling. “It’s a challenging job but a very rewarding job. To be a part of the sports book industry. … Every day I come in, I have a huge smile on my face. I can’t believe I get paid to do this.”
With the NFL playoffs in full swing, Kunovic said, “The Caesars sports book is the premier place to be to watch sports.” Not only can guests enjoy a VIP lounge area, 120 lounge seats and the 148-foot long, 12-foot-high HDTV playing every game imaginable, but they can indulge at the massive bar and enjoy drink specials throughout the playoffs. A fan favorite is the Hail Mary, with Belvedere Citrus vodka, housemade Bloody Mary mix, Tabasco, Worcestershire and pepper, and finished off with a salted rim and blue cheese olives. The menu is packed with deals like $24 buckets of beer, $14 Moet & Chandon Brut mimosas, $8 Crown Royal Regal Apple shots and $25 buckets of Red Bull.