Gov. Davis gives regulators more power

Mar 27, 2001 7:31 AM


After several days of uncertainty, Gov. Gray Davis last week formally gave state gaming regulators more power to control the distribution of slot machines for tribal casinos.

In an executive order, Davis said the commission would be in charge of licensing the machines as well as making sure that tribes statewide don’t end up with more machines than allowed under state-Indian compacts.

Gaming tribes are concerned that the newly formed commission is overstepping its authority. Non-gaming tribes worry that the state could restrict the overall number of available licenses before the tribes have a chance to get machines.

Michael Sides, an accountant, was hired by the state’s most powerful tribes to coordinate and oversee an unknown number of confidential slot-machine draws over the past year. The tribes have angered state officials by repeatedly refusing to release information on the number of slots claimed by each reservation, as well as a statewide tally.

The gaming commission must compile that information in a report to the Legislature before it can distribute some $38 million in revenue sharing to small and non-gaming tribes, many of which live in abject poverty.


Three hotel-casinos proposed

River Walk Development LL has leased 160 acres of Indian land in Laughlin, Nev., to build three hotel-casinos, an RV park and other developments.

A spokeswoman said the company won’t operate the casinos, but will lease them out.

River Walk will operate the 700-lot RV park and proposed housing development. The Tribal Council approved River Walk’s 65-year lease last week.

Borgata officials knew what the name meant

Bob Boughner, chief executive of the Borgata, which is scheduled to open in Atlantic City in 2003, acknowledged that company officials knew the casino name’s other meaning when they selected it.

The word means Tuscan village. But it also is a mob term, the kind that can be found under the Mobspeak section of the official Sopranos Internet site. It means organized crime family. Boughner said they figured it was obscure enough to be a non-issue, even in a state where regulators have spent 21 years trying to keep legalized gaming free of mob taint.

Boughner said the term in its mob sense had only recently been popularized by The Sopranos HBO television series, which has led to a flurry of snickering about the Borgata and embarrassing publicity.

But Boughner said he had no plans to change the name, which has been heavily promoted in billboards and multimedia presentations.

Tropicana addition plan fails to win over officials

Tropicana Casino and Resort’s plan to add a 500-room hotel tower and a retail and entertainment complex in Atlantic City got a chilly reception last week at City Hall.

In a presentation to the city Board of Adjustment, Tropicana representatives described the $225 million expansion as the kind of project Atlantic City needs to broaden its appeal beyond gamblers.

The expansion would consist of an 18-story hotel tower and convention space built atop "The Latin Quarter," a complex of shops, nightclubs, and restaurants, and a 2,400-space parking garage.

No new casino space is included in the expansion.

Three-Card Monte is not gambling, judge rules

The venerable New York street game, three-card monte, is a game of skill, not of chance, and a defendant accused of playing it can’t be prosecuted under state gambling laws, a Manhattan Criminal Court judge has ruled.

However, New York County’s district attorney may prosecute for violating a city ordinance specifically banning three-card monte, a type of shell game, the judge ruled.

In a case of first impression since enactment of the city’s anti-three-card monte ordinance, Judge Matthew F. Cooper ruled that three-card monte is not gambling under the definitions included in the New York State Penal Law.

Emmanuel Mohammed was charged with three violations of the state Penal Law — including promoting gambling and having a gambling device — and one violation of the New York City Administrative Code for playing three-card monte.

Ohio governor nixes video gambling

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft has pulled the plug on video gambling machines as a potential source of cash for public schools.

Taft and Republican legislative leaders agreed last week not to pursue their wildly differing funding reform plans and instead piece together a compromise.

The leaders’ vow of unity, combined with Taft’s threat to veto the authorization of video gambling terminals, effectively popped Speaker Larry Householder’s trial balloon only one week after it was floated.

Taft is asking lawmakers to allow Ohio to join a multi-state lottery game to prop up sagging Ohio Lottery profits and generate money for schools.

49ers owners expand Louisiana casino

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board last week approved plans for John York and his wife, Denise DeBartolo York, to install more than 1,700 slot machines as part of an $86 million expansion of the family’s Louisiana Downs racetrack.

Ironically, the move is intended to help Louisiana Downs compete with those same riverboat gambling casinos that got Denise’s brother, former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., indicted after paying ex-Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards $400,000 in cash to help try to land a riverboat license of his own.

Deal approved; Harrah’s New Orleans stays open

Harrah’s New Orleans Casino won final legislative approval for a deal that will slash its state tax and let the land casino stay open.

But a bill to let South Louisiana riverboat casinos gamble permanently at dockside remains in doubt after a drafting miscue during major surgery on the measure on the Senate floor last week.

The Senate added provisions opposed by Gov. Mike Foster and the gambling industry. Both bills are integral parts of Foster’s plan to provide pay raises for teachers and college faculties next year.

SB1, now headed to the governor’s signature, will give Harrah’s New Orleans Casino more leeway to operate a hotel and restaurants.

It also lowers the land casino’s $100 million annual tax on Harrah’s New Orleans casino to $50 million in the first year, then $60 million a year for three more years.

Turning Stone Classic II May 3-6

The Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Casino Resort will host the Turning Stone Classic II billiards tournament in the Conference Center May 3-6.

Mike Zuglan, the winningest player in the Northeast, will be among the premier players at the Verona, N.Y., resort. The 128-player field includes Earl Strickland, a five-time U.S. Open 9-ball championship winner; Karen Corr, the second-ranked women’s player in the world; Mike Massey, the reigning world trick shot champion; Mike Immonen, defending champ of last year’s inaugural Turning Stone Classic; and Johnny Archer, Player of the Decade.

The Classic will close out the Billiards Congress of America’s 2000-2001 season.

The top 48 finishers receive cash prizes. Over $82,000 in cash prizes will be awarded. The double-elimination tournament begins at 10 a.m. May 3. There is no charge for admission, but seating is limited.

For more information, visit or

Humperdinck to perform April 26

Engelbert Humperdinck, who has earned four Grammy nominations, will be playing at the Turning Stone Casino Showroom April 26.

Tickets ($65, $70 and $75) are available from Ticketmaster at 472-0700; on the web at; or by calling the box office at (877) 833-SHOW or (315) 361-SHOW.

Foxwoods signs pact with Alliance

Alliance Gaming Corp. has signed a contract with Foxwoods Resort Casino to provide the world’s largest casino with its SDS slot management system from Bally Gaming and Systems.

Preliminary work on displacing the existing system has started. Implementing SDS into the more than 6,000 slot machines at the Mashantucket, Conn., property should be complete by this fall.

The new SDS Version 8 software provides Foxwoods with the full suite of financial reporting tools and includes technology for creating a cashless environment using both ticketing and electronic funds transfer.