John Kelly grew up in south suburban Chicago with an eye on gambling, even as a youngster.
Consequently, he never developed a loyalty toward the Cubs or White Sox.
“I guess it was the gambling thing,” he said.
“I learned early I couldn’t be for either one of them.”
Kelly, the voice of Las Vegas sports gambling now that Larry Grossman has retired, was around for the last breaths of old Las Vegas and to see the birth of a new one.
Over the past 16 years, coinciding with his 1990 Sin City arrival, Kelly has watched as the city has grown, step-by-step, into a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis and international resort destination.
“I don’t think in the future we’re going to see some of the deals, bargains and value we’ve seen in the past,” Kelly said.
“But it’s all relative.
“A hotel room in mid-town New York, Chicago or Los Angeles goes for about $400 a night, so a $180 room on the Strip doesn’t seem like such a bad deal.
“Everything costs more.
“Another thing is you don’t have to pay to park at the hotels here.
“Anywhere else, it would cost $18, $20 a night.”
On the flip side, Kelly laments the fact Las Vegas didn’t take a more progressive and aggressive approach when Internet gambling began to explode.
“I don’t have any great insight in this area, but I am disappointed that with all the rules and regulations we have here (like limits) many of our bettors were forced to go elsewhere,” the broadcaster said.
“I’m sorry there hasn’t been more creativity.
“Football futures prices are just one example.
“You take what we have to offer and you know you can find a better price somewhere in the world.
“Another thing that has hurt sports betting here is all the consolidation because you have fewer outs and there are fewer big jobs.”
The Northwestern University journalism school graduate soon will have no choice but to watch the end of another era, one in which he very much was personally involved.
Kelly, who has four main gigs, will see two of them become dust in the wind when the fabled Stardust Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard South is imploded later this year and eventually replaced by something called Echelon Place, a 21st Century structure that will put the long revered resort to shame.
Kelly has handled the daily Stardust Line morning show since before the Millenium and, with Seat Williams, co-hosted the wildly popular Stardust Invitational football contest for all of its 11 seasons.