Platinum recording artists The Righteous Brothers – the first rock and roll act to perform on the Las Vegas Strip – will receive the Casino Entertainment Legend Award at the sixth annual Casino Entertainment Awards (CEA) on Wednesday, October 10 from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Vinyl inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas (Pictured: The Righteous Brothers – Bucky Heard & Bill Medley).
Additionally, casino nightlife icon Victor Drai – owner and operator of Drai’s Enterprises – will be honored with a Casino Entertainment Legend Award that evening.
Sponsored by Global Gaming Expo (G2E), the Casino Entertainment Awards are the official awards exclusively honoring outstanding artists, executive and venues in the casino entertainment industry. The Legend Award recognizes lifetime achievement in the casino entertainment industry.
In 1964, The Righteous Brothers duo of Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley became the first rock and roll act to perform on the Las Vegas Strip, performing three shows a night in the lounge at The Sands Hotel. Their distinctive blue-eyed soul hits “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and “Unchained Melody” were No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, in addition to receiving Grammy nominations. The Righteous Brothers toured extensively and performed up to 12 weeks a year in Las Vegas until the untimely death of Hatfield in 2003. Medley revived the duo in 2016 at Harrah’s Las Vegas with singer Bucky Heard, where they continue to perform. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” has become the most played song in the history of American radio and television, according to music rights organization BMI.
Victor Drai is known as the father of the casino after-hours scene. Creator and founder of Las Vegas mega-clubs Tryst and XS, Drai is the visionary owner of Drai’s Nightclub, Beach Club, and After Hours at The Cromwell. In 1997, he opened the original Drai’s After Hours, a high-end restaurant and pulsating nightclub underneath the street level of the Barbary Coast Hotel & Casino. Drai’s was one of the first clubs to charge premium prices not only for cocktails and bottle service, but also for bottled water. An inductee into the Nightclub Hall of Fame, Drai is also a former movie producer known for “The Woman in Red,” “The Man With One Red Shoe” and the “Weekend at Bernie’s” films.
Casino Entertainment Awards also will be presented to artists, executives and venues in nine categories in casino-entertainment, including a new category this year for “Casino Production Show of the Year”.
Selected from more than 1,000 online nominations, CEA final nominees include:
Casino Entertainer of the Year
- Paul Anka
- Chubby Checker
- Donny & Marie Osmond
Casino Comedian of the Year
- Bill Engvall
- Piff The Magic Dragon
- Sebastian Maniscalco
Casino Musical Artist of the Year
- Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo
- The Commodores
- John Fogerty
Casino Production Show of the Year
- Legends in Concert
- Magic Mike Live
- Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man
Casino Entertainment Executive of the Year
- Robyn Smith Levi – Boyd Gaming
- Christian Printup – Seneca Gaming Corporation
- Monica Reeves – Station Casinos
Casino Showroom/Theater of the Year
- Beau Rivage Theatre – Beau Rivage Resort
- Hard Rock Live – Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park
- Xcite Center – Parx Casino
Casino Arena/Amphitheater of the Year
- Battery Park – Hard Rock Sioux City
- Choctaw Grand Theater – Choctaw Casino Durant
- Sandbar Stage – Red Rock Resort
Casino Booking Agent of the Year
- Abby Wells Baas – William Morris Endeavor (WME)
- Noël Largess – Agency for the Performing Arts (APA)
- Seth Shomes – United Talent Agency (UTA)
Independent Casino Talent Buyer of the Year
- Steve Gietka – SMG Entertainment
- Lori Otelsberg – Signature Entertainment
- Scott Thomas – Buzz Entertainment
Complimentary tickets will be distributed to G2E attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis (subject to availability) on October 9-10 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Casino Entertainment Awards Booth (#5938) on the G2E expo floor at Sand Expo.