A.C. planners approve two casino projects

Apr 9, 2001 2:50 AM


   The Atlantic City Planning Board approved the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort’s plans for a new parking lot at the site of the old Dunes casino hotel and approved a Sands Casino Hotel neighborhood-revitalization plan at its meeting last week.

   The Dunes site will become a 215-space parking facility for both hotel overflow parking and public parking, said Redenia Gilliam-Mosee, senior vice president of the company.

   An engineer for the company said any traffic generated from the new garage will have a negligible impact.

Free drinks cost more for N.J. casinos

   Free drinks for gamblers are now 6 percent more expensive for casinos in New Jersey.

   The state Supreme Court unanimously upheld a decision that casinos must pay tax on alcoholic beverages purchased from wholesalers, even if those drinks are given free to customers.

   As a result, Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort owes the state $135,732 in back taxes for 1990-95 and Tropicana Casino and Resort will not get the $504,774 tax refund it sought for roughly the same period.

Casino in Beloit unanimously approved

   The Beloit (Wis.) City Council unanimously approved a deal between the city and the Bad River and St. Croix Chippewa bands to build a casino, despite the city manager’s refusal to sign the pact.

   City Manager Jane Wood asked the council to strike her name from the agreement, saying she didn’t want to support something that wasn’t in the city’s best interest.

   The deal still must get approval from the Rock County Board, after which the city and tribes can apply to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approval.

   Off-reservation casinos in Wisconsin require state and federal approval, though Gov. Scott McCallum has vowed he won’t approve any new casinos in the state.

Legal battle waged in Lawrenceburg

   More than four years after Argosy Casino began pouring millions of dollars into Lawrenceburg, a small southeastern Indiana town, a protracted legal battle is being waged over whether local officials improperly cut corners in their rush to get their hands on the cash.

   Days before leaving office in the mid-1990s, a defeated Lawrenceburg administration hurried through actions to clear the way for Argosy’s quarter-billion dollar riverboat-hotel complex.

   One of those actions — switching a city street into a private road — has drawn the ire of surrounding property owners, who contend in lawsuits that the move damaged the value of their land.

   Since opening in 1996, Argosy has generated nearly $400 million in state and local taxes and development fees. For its owners, the football-field-long riverboat casino produces gross gaming revenues — the amount that gamblers lose on slots and table games — of between $25 million and $30 million monthly.

MGM Grand may be kept off riverfront

   The City Council is threatening to derail Mayor Dennis Archer’s plan to put one of Detroit’s casinos on the riverfront.

   At least six of nine on the council oppose any casinos on the river, according to a survey of the members.

   After promoting a $2-billion riverfront plan for the past three years, Archer last week offered a scaled-down version that would move MGM Grand Detroit Casino to a permanent facility on the Detroit River. He said MotorCity and the Greektown Casino would not move, but instead expand their current facilities. Archer blamed land speculators for the change, saying they drove the cost of property for three casinos beyond $500 million, and beyond what the casinos could afford.

   City Council members last week attacked the mayor’s plan, saying that public sentiment had turned against casinos on the waterfront and suggested Archer find a different site for MGM’s permanent home.

Second scam uncovered in Mississippi

   Police and Mississippi Gaming Commission agents said last week they have uncovered a second scheme to defraud Coast casinos.

   Anthony Lewis Jones, 30, of Pascagoula was charged last week with computer fraud while he was employed at the Imperial Palace in Biloxi. Jones was arrested at the casino and placed in the Harrison County jail, where he remained last Wednesday on $10,000 bond.

   Jones is suspected of setting up bogus player’s club accounts, and using club points to issue coupons for free meals, hotel rooms and cash, said police investigator Donny Dobbs.

   The Gaming Commission also released the name of a second casino dealer who faces charges in connection with a collusion scheme to cheat four casinos out of about $200,000. One dealer was arrested last month.

   Gambling agents said that Marlena Fredericks was a blackjack dealer at Treasure Bay Casino when agents arrested her on conspiracy charges March 8. Fredericks is suspected of giving about $800 in “tip money” to Sandra Lee Pack while Pack was a craps dealer at the Grand Casino Gulfport.

Pechangas to help pay for road widening

   The Pechanga Indians will pay for more than a quarter of the cost of widening Pala Road from Highway 79 South nearly to the tribe’s northern San Diego County casino, helping to alleviate a major southern Temecula bottleneck.

   The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians is contributing $4.4 million toward the $17 million cost of widening Pala Road.

Association opposes Oxnard casino

   The Oxnard (Calif.) and Port Hueneme Ministerial Association voted unanimously to oppose a Las Vegas company and an Indian tribe’s proposed gambling hall near Highway 101 in Oxnard.

   Paragon Gaming LLC recently signed a contract with the Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians to build a 250-room hotel and 150,000-square-foot casino that promises 2,000 jobs, increased tourism and millions of dollars in revenue for the city.

Greyhound offering service to Barona

   Greyhound casino service, called Lucky Streak, now takes passengers to the front door of the Barona Casino in San Diego.

   A round trip Greyhound ticket is priced at $15 and entitles customers to a $5 Barona Casino voucher to play games, 50 percent off the Barona buffet and 50 percent off their next Greyhound trip. This offer ends June 14.

   Greyhound schedules to Barona leave Monday-Friday from the Greyhound terminals in Los Angeles and the downtown Greyhound location in Tijuana, Mex. Each bus makes stops in Anaheim, Santa Ana, Oceanside, Escondido, San Diego and San Ysidro.

   Greyhound Lucky Streak service is offered across the country to casinos in Atlantic City; Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Conn.; Caesars in Lake Tahoe, California; Lady Luck Casino in Las Vegas; and the Sands Regency, Flamingo Hilton and Reno Hilton in Reno, Nevada.

   For more information on Greyhound Lucky Streak casino service call 1-888-2THEBUS (888-284-3287).

Beatles tribute, Elvis show at Casino Windsor

   Casino Windsor presents The Caverners: A Musical Tribute to the Beatles, until Sunday.

   Elvis returns to the Showtime stage with a shake, rattle and roll, during the three-week appearance of Casino Windsor presents Max Pellicano: A Musical Tribute to Elvis Presley, from April 17 to May 5.

   Tickets for all shows start at $7 ($10 Canadian) and can be purchased in advance by calling 1-800-991-8888.