Will there be 10 Indian casino operations?

February 12, 2001 7:07 AM
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A new group called the Native American Mohegans is seeking federal recognition in order to qualify as a casino builder. They represent the 10th tribe to seek such status.

The "other" Mohegans were recognized as a tribe in 1994. They operate the thriving Mohegan Sun casino in Montville, Conn.

Trump rated low

Trump Hotels & Casinos Inc. maintained its place among the least admired companies, according to a Fortune magazine survey. Trump ranked 527 out of 535 listed among America’s Most Admired Companies. Within hotel, casino and resorts, MGM Mirage placed second behind Marriott. Park Place Entertainment placed fourth with Harrah’s fifth, Mandalay Resort Group eighth and Trump 10th.

Last year, Trump ranked 501 out of 504 listed. Fortune provided only a top 10 and bottom 10 overall and ranking within 62 industries.

An outside firm was hired and surveyed executives, directors and analysts. Those from companies that were too small were surveyed.

Trump only beat out Kmart, Bridgestone Firestone, America West, LTV Copperweld, US Airways, Federal Mogul, Warnaco Group and CKE Restaurants. Only the country’s 1,000 largest companies are eligible.

Changes to Showboat

Showboat Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City is getting a facelift.

A marketing shift and physical improvements should help the hotel and casino stem its five-year period of flat results, according to officials at parent Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. said.

"This property is experiencing construction disruption and also had the negative impact of the weather in the fourth quarter," Chief Financial Officer Colin Reed said.

The casino has had a six percent decline in revenue and 10 percent decline in cash flow.

Showboat is now reconfiguring its casino floor, adding slots and replacing its bowling alleys with two restaurants.

Reed said the Showboat should start reaping the benefits in the second half of this year.

Harrah’s Chief Operating Officer Gary Loveman said, "We are in a position now of trying to resegment Showboat’s customer base to a slightly higher-end customer, with less reliance on heavily discounted bus patrons. Now we’re in February and we’re beginning to see some of the benefit of that strategy."

WEST

Casino expanding in Oregon

The Coquille Tribe has been given the go-ahead to expand gaming at its Mill Casino in North Bend, Ore.

After four years of negotiations, the compact has been signed with the state.

The casino opened six years ago. It has nearly 350 slots, two poker tables and 10 blackjack tables. The tribe will add 30 or 40 high-tech slots soon and could add roulette and craps tables and 650 more slots.

The Coquilles are one of only four Oregon tribes that can have any games that are legal in Nevada in their casino.

Cardrooms sue to overturn Indian compacts

Several Bay Area cardrooms and a bingo hall operator have filed suit to overturn Indian compacts that allow casino gambling on tribal land.

The suit was triggered by the possibility of a Sonoma County tribe taking over a San Pablo cardroom and turning it into a full-blown casino.

The plaintiffs say tribes have an unfair monopoly on slot machines and casino gaming.

A bill approved by Congress late last year included a brief provision to put the San Pablo land in trust for the tribe, bypassing the normal application to the Interior Dept. Gov. Gray Davis must still sign a compact with the tribe.

SOUTH

Judge OKs Harrah’s BK plan

A plan to reorganize the financially strapped Harrah’s New Orleans Casino has received tentative approval from a federal bankruptcy judge.

Creditors of JCC Holding Co., the casino’s owner, have until March 14 to vote on the proposal.

JCC said its creditors have agreed to erase nearly $520 million in casino debt by converting 24 percent of it into stock and wiping away the rest.

Showdown looms over Texas casino

The state of Texas has filed a lawsuit to close the Tigua tribe’s Speaking Rock Casino, alleging it violates state law prohibiting unauthorized gambling.

The Tigua have argued the casino is a private club, offering off-track betting, poker and slot machines, and is authorized under state lottery laws.

The suit won’t be heard until the summer, but a bill under consideration in the state Legislature would change the penal code, making tribal gaming legal.

Harrah’s: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over

Although Harrah’s New Orleans has gained support of Gov. Mike Foster and some legislators, its relief from state taxes and other restrictions won’t come easy.

The governor must muster a majority of 20 votes in the Senate to get the tax lowered and ease other restrictions. That’s because the annual $100 million tax, as well as restrictions on rooms and restaurants, are part of the statute that enabled the state’s only land-based casino.

The word from the Big Easy is that generating enough legislative support is not a "done deal." Stay tuned.

Harrah’s reports fourth quarter, year-end results

Harrah’s Entertainment, the world’s No. 3 gaming operator, reported fourth quarter losses of $161.3 million, mainly due to Chapter 11 reorganization at its New Orleans Casino and 48 percent owned-National Airlines.

The company reported a loss a loss per diluted share of $1.41 against earnings of 47 cents. On the year, Harrah’s posted earnings per share of $1.49, down from $1.52 in 1999, based on record revenue of $3.5 billion and EBITDA of $887 million, up 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

"I am encouraged that our fundamental results continue to be strong, though I am disappointed by the impact of the reserves and other charges we recorded in 2000," said CEO Phil Satre.

Tennessee on verge of state lottery

Tennessee’s state Senate has approved a measure allowing for creation of a statewide lottery, which could generate $200 million in revenue for state schools.

If the lottery is approved by the House (as expected), the initiative will go before voters next year.

If ratified, the Legislature in 2003 would approve the details and mechanics of a state lottery.

Detroit casinos rake in $74 million

Greektown Casino, opened just three months ago, helped push the gaming win for Detroit’s three casinos to $73.59 million in January.

MotorCity Casino led all three casinos with $27.7 million, up 22 percent from last January’s $22.7 million. MGM Grand Detroit won $27.5 million, down 15 percent from January 1999.

Ventura may support non-Indian casino

Minnesota Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura says he may support a non-Indian casino if it’s privately run. The state Legislature is reviewing a proposal to allow a state-owned casino.

The state’s 11 tribes oppose the proposal because, they claim, a casino in the Twin Cities area could "wipe out" thousands of existing jobs at Native American casinos.


Oneida Nation is giving away cash

Guests of the Oneida Nation’s Turning Stone Casino Resort have a chance to swipe their Diamond Cards and win cash and other prizes through Feb. 25.

During the four-week promotion, there will be one grand prize of $1,000 every day.

Also, patrons will have the opportunity to win hundreds of other prizes, including a one-night stay at the hotel, discounts at The Shoppes at Turning Stone, a free oil change and a carwash at the Nation’s Car Care Center, and vouchers for free play on the Instant Multi-Game machines.

Patrons will get one swipe per day at one of the five kiosks located at the Diamond Card satellite desk across from the Garden Buffet.

Winners will immediately receive a voucher from the kiosk describing the prize and instructing them to see the casino marketing representative at the satellite location.

Joey and Maria’s 25th Anniversary Party

If Joey and Maria’s wedding was any indication, their 25th anniversary party is an event not to be missed. You play the role of a guest at Joey and Maria’s anniversary celebration, an interactive dinner theater presentation, at the Oneida Nation’s Turning Stone Casino Resort Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

After 25 years of "marital bliss," the sequel to the wedding pokes another dose of fun at the couple and their colorful relatives (including those in the mob). By mingling with the improvisational characters, guests are drawn into conversational topics at the party that address the trials of raising children and even the court trial of Uncle Vinnie.

Tickets are available for $40 by calling the Showroom Box Office at 877-833-SHOW. The show includes a free dinner buffet.


Regis Philbin coming to Foxwoods with solo act

Regis Philbin, the host of two of America’s most popular television shows, brings his solo "million-dollar act" to the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino Saturday, Feb. 17 at 9 p.m.

Philbin hosts the daytime talk show Live! With Regis and the primetime success Who Wants To Be A Millionare.

"We’re really happy that Regis decided to join the Foxwoods entertainment family," said Tom Cantone, vice president of the Foxwoods Entertainment Group. We’re off to a dynamite start this year and he’s a great addition to our lineup."

Philbin, who lost co-host Kathy Lee Gifford last year on their morning talk show, says in his show that he attributes his success to keeping things simple. Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee had a weekly audience of 18 million viewers.

According to the Mr. Showbiz Celebrity Internet web site, much of the show’s success was based on Philbin’s freestyle format and his knack for turning small talk into big conversations.

A graduate of Notre Dame, Philbin served in the Navy before becoming a Tonight Show page, a Hollywood production assistant, and a news writer at a station in Los Angeles. After a seven-year stint on A.M. Los Angeles, he joined Cindy Garvey on The Morning Show in New York in 1983. Two years later, Gifford replaced Garvey.