Tonight at Spago’s in Las Vegas, Tony Curtis will unveil the prototype for a new casino entertainment award — the Cassie — in front of an expected crowd of 200 curious colleagues and casino operators.

“The awards are for excellence in the casino/resort entertainment industry,” said event organizer David Cohen.

“We don’t want to do anything ossified. We want to do a very colorful TV awards show, something as exciting as what’s happening in the gaming and resort industry,” Cohen said.

No broadcast deal yet

Negotiations for broadcast rights are under way, said Cohen, who plans an unconventional ceremony.

“We’re going to try to reinvent the awards show,” Cohen said. “We want to make this show as entertaining as possible. We don’t to bore the pants off people.”

Tech & showmanship

If all goes as planned, some 50 Cassies — the name comes from “casinos”– will be presented in spring ’94.

Statuettes will be awarded for both technical achievement and showmanship in gaming resorts nationwide.

However, tech awards will be presented prior to the broadcast.

Categories will include best single performer, comedian, singer and most unique speciality show.

“The TV show itself will focus on the entertainment industry,” Cohen said.

Funneling the program development costs through his own company, Centreville Inc., Cohen acknowledges that putting a major awards show together so quickly will be an uphill battle.

Cohen doesn’t anticipate all major casino operators will embrace the idea of saluting the competition.

Political support

However, he said the mayor of Las Vegas, Jan Laverty-Jones, and the executive director of the Las Vegas Convention Authority, Manuel Cortez, will endorse the event at today’s unveiling.