Sports Betting

    Hall of Fame

    Yolanda Acuña
    Former Resorts International Director of Race & Sports Administration, MGM

    Yolanda Acuña is a 39-year race and sports industry veteran who has left an indelible impact on the gaming industry in Las Vegas and beyond.

    Better known as Yoli, Acuña began her career as a ticket writer at the Club Cal Neva in Reno, NV. After returning to her hometown of Las Vegas, she began at the Stardust, home of the “opening line”. Eventually, she landed at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook, the first state-of-the-art race and sports book of its kind.

    In 1989, she opened the book at Steve Wynn’s The Mirage property as an administrative assistant, kicking off an illustrious 31-year run with what would ultimately become MGM Resorts International.

    As the Director of Administration, at the peak of her tenure, she managed 15 properties, including 13 in Las Vegas. Through mergers and acquisitions, The Mirage remained the hub for all of the other books, thus leaving Acuña steering the ship.

    She shared her expertise on book design for sister casinos the Bellagio, Aria, NYNY, Treasure Island and others.. She played a part in the development of the first IVR sports wagering system. And, she successfully lobbied alongside Nevada’s congressional delegation to persuade the country’s lawmakers not to impose a ban on college sports betting—a contentious topic at the time.

    Yet, it’s the relationships she fostered and the care she took to protect the book that she’s most proud of. In an age of digital informality, Acuña was one of the last race and sports book industry aces standing who understood that the crux of this work can’t be defined in job descriptions.

    She learned from legendary bookmakers Jimmy Vaccaro, Art Manteris and Robert Walker. But, as they will all tell you, “Yoli ran the show.” Thanks to an unmatched work ethic, a beloved reputation and a devotion to the details, Acuña was the magic manning the team and bringing customers back to the counter year after year.

    A ways away from her birthplace of Tijuana, Mexico, Acuña leaves a long legacy behind, including her impact on the industry as oftentimes the only female or Mexican-American in the room.

    After nearly three decades in the “boys club”, Acuña is dedicating her days to her two grandchildren, Aiden and Ethan, and plans to return to the industry in 2022. She is also the proud mother of four children, Andrew, Alex, Jessica and her late daughter Monica, who recently passed away from a rare blood disease.