Abandon ship: SunCruz not cruising in Daytona

Aug 20, 2001 9:04 PM

The gambling boat of support overturned in a Daytona Beach suburb.

SunCruz Casino’s boat permit to use Ponce Inlet as an operational base was surprisingly revoked in a unanimous vote of the Town Council.

The town was owed a $7,500 quarterly permit July 1 and SunCruz failed to respond to a July 5 demand for payment, according to Ponce Inlet attorney Ted Doran.

In a straw ballot referendum, more than 80 percent of the town’s voters expressed displeasure with SunCruz’s use of the coastal site as a base.

Ponce Inlet was owed the money based on last year’s settlement of a federal lawsuit filed by SunCruz against the town. SunCruz claimed the town and its officials violated the cruise company’s corporate rights by trying to drive its operation out of town.

Under the settlement, the town’s insurance carrier paid $50,000 to SunCruz. The cruise company agreed to pay Ponce Inlet $30,000 per year on a quarterly basis for a special event permit to continue operations.

“A deal’s a deal and the terms have been violated,” Vice Mayor Don Hampton said. “So, the deal’s off.”

SunCruz has been involved in a power struggle, according to reports from The Associated Press and Gaming Magazine.

The magazine’s Web site reported that SunCruz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, seeking protection from at least eight lawsuits.

The company is reportedly under reorganization and refinancing.

S.C. ruling contested

South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon said gambling machines not stored offshore violates state law.

Condon asked the State Supreme Court to rehear a case reviewed last month in which the justices ruled that gambling day cruises along the coast were legal.

The court’s ruling came after a lawsuit by Stardancer Casino Inc., which operates day cruises out of a port in Horry County, near Myrtle Beach.

The attorney general said that unless the court changes its opinion, gambling will operate on lakes, rivers, trains or other movable property in South Carolina.

Race Course sold

The Atlantic City Race Course was sold for $13 million to the Pennwood racing consortium.

The New Jersey Racing Commission approved the purchase, which includes more than 400 acres near the track. The closing is scheduled for Sept. 20.

Pennwood also owns Freehold Raceway, a harness track in Monmouth County and had leased Garden State Park in Cherry Hill, N.J., until it was sold in December.

The consortium is made up of Penn National Gaming and Greenwood Racing, each based in Pennsylvania.

Sands slumping

Billionaire Carl Icahn has seen the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City sustain its third straight quarterly drop since taking ownership.

The parent company, GB Holdings, reported a cash flow of $6.8 million. The total was an 18.5 percent decline. The Sands reported an 8.5 percent increase in overall expenses.

“I think it’s pretty indicative of what’s going on in this city,” Sands CEO Alfred Luciani said. “We had a good April, a bad May and a decent June.”

Mohegan tabs McGraw

The new 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena will feature country star Tim McGraw to officially open the site at the Connecticut casino resort.

McGraw will appear Nov. 9, followed two days later by Latin pop diva Gloria Estefan. Classic rock artists Aerosmith will play the arena Nov. 19.

“What we’ve done by melding Clear Channel, the number one entertainment force in Connecticut and the Mohegan Sun, the number one gaming power, is make possible events that would be difficult to pull off if we didn’t have each other,” said Jim Koplik, president of Clear Channel Communications

Windsor seeks growth

Casino Windsor, a 389-room hotel, will seek government approval for plans to expand the hotel and bus capacity.

The multi-million dollar plan would include from 150-to-200 additional hotel rooms and a depot able to handle 12 buses at a time.

The timetable for Detroit’s three permanent casinos remains uncertain. The three casinos total 2,400 hotel rooms.

Battle lines drawn

Opponents of a planned casino near Grand Rapids, Mich., say they will not be scared off by an 800-person show of support at the potential Allegan County site.

The Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi Indians is proposing a 181,000 square foot casino resort at the Ampro Industries site near the Bradley exit on U.S. 131. The West Michigan Gaming Opposition claims to have more than 10,000 signatures on petitions against the casino.

A poll surveying 600 residents in the five-county area near the proposed casino showed 51 percent supporting the site, while 41 percent were opposed.

Internet sways Davis

California Gov. Gray Davis, in a surprise reversal of position, signed legislation allowing Californians to bet on horse races over the Internet and telephone.

Davis said he changed his mind due to a federal law last December that allowed for Internet gambling.

The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, is a victory for racetracks facing declines in revenues. Labor groups will also be able to unionize backstretch workers and regulate housing and workplace conditions.

Nevada casino stuck

A giant hotel-casino in northwest Nevada has been placed on hold pending new changes for the project.

Nevada Northwest LLC wants to build a 125-room hotel, a 274-unit apartment complex, 116 patio homes, an RV park and retail and commercial buildings.

The developer needs the Douglas County planning commissioners to change zoning, approve a specific project plan and adjust the master plan to allow commercial development in an area currently designated only for multifamily homes.

Casino jams I-8 traffic

Officers closed I-8 east and westbound after motorists caused a one-mile traffic jam heading to the new Acorn Casino & Travel Center.

Frustrated drivers tried to get through traffic by crossing the freeway center divider. The casino, located at the Camp Indian Reservation near San Diego, opened at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The 60,000-square foot complex, operated by the Campo Tribe, is part of a plan that will include a 98-space truck stop and a 100-room hotel.

Jackpot for two?

Women from Sacramento and St. Louis could be declared winners of a $3 million jackpot, according to a ruling from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Jill Steuber, 60, of St. Louis, won at the $1 Wheel of Fortune slot machine last week at Harrah’s Laughlin Casino & Hotel. Francesca Galea of Sacramento hit the same jackpot five days before at Eldorado Resort Casino.

International Gaming Technology, which owns the game and the progressive jackpot, didn’t pay Galea, 29, believing that the play occurred during a machine malfunction. IGT said it would honor Galea’s claim if the Gaming Control Board declares the play legitimate.