Growing up as a third generation Las Vegan living in the Las Vegas Country Club, Jen Bell has a unique perspective on the city. Her late father, Tom Bell, was an attorney for Howard Hughes so Vegas power players would often visit her home. As a child, she sat on the laps of Las Vegas icons such as American gangster Moe Dalitz. The close exposure to old-school businessman and casino execs must have had some influence on young Bell, who is the new director of player development for The D hotel.
Some of that influence came from mornings on the country club’s 18-hole course. “Golf and gaming go hand in hand, especially at the country club where members were casino owners,” she says. “I would play with Bobby Baldwin [MGM Mirage, Mandalay Bay] and all of these powerful people. I would listen to them talk and I knew I wanted to go into that business.”
Her putting and driving skills got her scholarship to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida (she even considered a career as a professional golfer). During the summers, she worked for Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, the man responsible for bringing sports betting to Las Vegas and who also illegitimately ran multiple gambling businesses. At the time he owned Crocs Bar and Grill where Bell was a server. But working there was more exciting than taking orders and running entrees. The Martin Scorsese movie Casino, which was inspired by Rosenthal’s life, was being filmed while she worked there. The actors would come to the restaurant to talk with him about the film. “He was very detailed and strict and I learned so much,” she says.
It’s no surprise she chose a career in the gaming industry—working all over North America at the Las Vegas Strip, Canada and First Nation, a Native American sovereign nation in Canada. She entered the casino industry with Peter Morton at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino when the property first opened and later moved to British Columbia, Canada with Paragon Gaming.
“Growing up, it was cowboys and horses. Now it’s a party outside with a fun, easy, cool vibe. I am happy it is thriving now.”—Jen Bell
After living abroad for nine years, Bell was ready to return home. She was shocked by its transformation when she arrived. “I was amazed to see how many people now visit Downtown,” she says. “Growing up, it was cowboys and horses. Now it’s a party outside with a fun, easy, cool vibe. I am happy it is thriving now.”
And she hopes to help it continue to advance. The mother of three is embracing her roots as a true Las Vegan professionally and personally. As the director of player development, she works with casino hosts and customers, connecting them with each other and working with VIP services. Her input will be instrumental in the future development of the property where the Las Vegas Club is located.
With over 15 years of experience and success, Bell hopes to one day become a casino president like Becky Binion. She even told The D owner, Derek Stevens, she wanted to run his company one day.