Foxwoods comes up big, gives King throne of his own

Nov 6, 2001 2:50 AM


Legendary blues singer/guitarist B.B. King will have a showroom of his own at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

The club, which will comprise separate but interconnected dance and listening rooms, will feature a variety of live entertainment from blues to jazz, rock and comedy. King, who has clubs in Memphis, New York City, and Los Angeles, will perform at the venue’s opening weekend Jan. 11-12 in Connecticut.

“My manager and I talked about this for quite a bit,” King said. “We wanted to be a part of the Foxwoods family and part of the club, but we have to earn it. We’re looking forward to playing here once or twice a year.”

The idea for King’s association with the Indian-run casino came from Tom Cantone, vice president of the Foxwoods Entertainment Group.

“That’s the cool thing about this business,” Cantone said. “I sort of mentioned the idea of B.B. affiliating with us and here it is a reality a year later.  And this is much more than sticking B.B.’s name up over the door. He’s genuinely a part of it.”

King, who will be performing at The Stardust in Las Vegas from Nov. 21-23,  has been touring around the country since the 1940s. He is best known for the signature hit  “Lucille” and for collaborating with Bono on U2’s 1988 classic album Rattle and Hum.

The new venue is Foxwoods’ answer to the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena which has booked artists Tim McGraw, Gloria Estefan, Aerosmith and Bob Dylan as part of that casino/hotel’s expansion announced in late September.

Trump blasts NY

Donald Trump is ready to challenge the expansion of gambling facilities in the state of New York signed into law last week by Gov. George Pataki.

Trump, who owns several Atlantic City casinos that he conceded would be hurt by the new competition, told the New York Post last week that the new law would turn New York into “a big, gaudy gambling casino.”

“It’s not what New York is about,” Trump said. “New York is about a lot of things. It is about fashion, it’s about finance, it’s about many different things.”

Trump is considering “very massive litigation” against the new law. He predicted that neighboring states would soon respond by expanding existing gambling opportunities or by creating new ones.

The gambling legislation is expected to generate about $1 billion annually once it is fully implemented in about three years.

The federal government may have the tool to put all forms of Internet gambling out of business.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said the practical effect of his bill would be to wipe out all forms of Internet gambling, both legal and illegal.

Goodlatte’s version would complement online wagering restrictions approved earlier last week by a House committee in Washington, D.C.

According to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report, the Virginia congressman said that Nevada and Indian tribes could operate Web sites, but could not take wagers from beyond the borders of the state where they are located.

Popeye goes down

The spinach couldn’t save Popeye this time.

New Jersey casino regulators have declared the famed cartoon Sailor Man irrelevant to today’s kids and no longer of interest in the slot machine world.

Gil Brooks, an attorney for Bally Gaming, cited in a report to the Philadelphia Inquirer, that Popeye’s appeal peaks in the 60-to-65 age group. Three Popeye video games are defunct.

“Popeye is indeed mainly a nostalgia figure,” Deputy Attorney General Charles Kimmel told the New Jersey Gaming Control Commission, which had voted 5-0 to allow the Popeye slots.

However, the commission did an about face last Thursday, stating that Popeye could no longer be considered a way of marketing gambling to youngsters. The cartoon figured debuted in 1929.

Rosemont reversal

The new head of the Illinois Gaming Board said last Tuesday that he would take a “fresh look” at Emerald Casino’s bid to build a riverboat in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont.

According to an Associated Press report, the state of Illinois is losing hundreds of millions of dollars while the license is in limbo.

“I’m too new on the job to know the details of the entire matter regarding Emerald, but I will tell you this: I’m willing to take a fresh look at the entire situation,” said Philip C. Parenti, a former federal prosecutor and private attorney who is scheduled to take over as the Gaming Board’s administrator on Nov. 16.

Take that, Branson

Another small town in Middle America may be turning to gambling in order reverse the growing trend of economic depression.

The Missouri community of Rockaway Beach, angered at seeing tourists bypass the town on the way to Branson, have persuaded city leaders to put a nonbonding gambling referendum on the ballot after collecting 370 yes votes to just 10 no votes in a town of 577 residents.

However the proposal faces a struggle in the legislature, led in opposition by Sen. Doyle Childers, R-Reeds Spring.

“I can guarantee you that it won’t pass because I am personally opposed to it,” Childers said. “I guarantee they won’t override my opposition.”

Major N.C. bust

The Charlotte Observer reported that three persons were arrested last Tuesday in what investigators called Gaston County’s largest-ever bust for warehousing illegal video poker machines.

The seizure was the largest since North Carolina began regulating the gambling devices last year. Two of those arrested, a father and daughter, own the business, which has permits to rent 20 gambling machines to convenience stores, bars and other Gaston County establishments.

North Carolina law allows individual businesses to have three machines and they must be registered with the local sheriff’s office. Approximately  600 unregistered machines were found at the warehouse, including some 33 video poker machines on the first floor.

IGT buys Tennecom

Reno-based International Gaming Technology announced it has purchased the assets of Tennecom Gaming Solutions, a maker of casino table game tracking software.

The IGT news release failed to issue details of the purchase price for Tennecom.

“Tennecom’s technology will enhance IGT’s product offering on the player’s tracking side,” said Rich Pennington, senior vice president of product management at IGT.

Tennecom systems are used at the Venetian, Bally’s and Paris casinos in Las Vegas, Foxwoods in Connecticut, the Boardwalk in Atlantic City and Treasure Bay in Biloxi, Miss.

IGT is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of microprocessor-based gaming machines and software systems in all jurisdictions where gaming is legal.