Canada Dry: Detroit casinos profit from tougher border

Nov 20, 2001 2:32 AM


Detroit’s three casinos achieved their highest monthly revenues ever thanks in great part to bolstered security measures that have made border crossings into Canada more difficult.

The MGM Grand, Motor City and Greektown casinos reported that their revenues rose 47 percent in October from the same period last year, according to an Associated Press report.

It was the first full month of financial reports since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Combined revenues climbed from $63.2 million last year to $93 million, according to figures published in the Detroit News.

Tighter border security has discouraged gamblers from crossing Canadian checkpoints to visit Casino Windsor. Historically, more than 80 percent of the resort’s business comes from the United States.

The business levels have been off by 50 percent at Casino Windsor since Sept. 11. The resort slashed room rates, stepped up advertising and enhanced gamblers perks.

This year’s October revenues include earnings from Greektown Casino, which opened in Detroit last November.

Park Place first to hit Catskills

Park Place Entertainment has gained a running start on the competition in the Catskills.

The casino giant has signed an agreement with the Mohawks to start construction of a $500 million casino/resort complex in Sullivan County, N.Y.

Park Place reported that the agreements were signed in a formal ceremony at the legendary Kutsher’s Resort Hotel and Country Club, near the planned site of the 750-room resort hotel and 130,000 square foot casinos.

“The Saint Regis Mohawk casino and resort will bring hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to Sullivan County and create thousands of local jobs, both during and after construction,” said Thomas E. Gallagher, Park Place President and CEO.

Mohegan up, Foxwoods down

The sagging economy was blamed by a Foxwoods Casino official for the drop in slot machine revenue last month. However, revenues at the rival Mohegan Sun were higher in October.

The Associated Press reported that Foxwoods dropped to $63.2 million, down from $68 million in September and $76.8 million the previous month.

Bill Sherlock, president and CEO at Foxwoods, said the revenue was positive given the conditions.

“Considering the general economic times, the continuing fallout from the events of Sept. 11 and the recent major expansion of a nearby competitor, we think the October showing is a strong one,” Sherlock said.

Mohegan’s revenues increased to $56 million, a rise of $2 million from September. The Sun’s 25 percent share to Connecticut was $14 million.

Jersey turns up AC in gaming

New Jersey is answering New York’s decision to expand casino gambling.

The Press of Atlantic City reported that Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. will build a 480-room tower at its Showboat Casino-Hotel.

The $90 million project is viewed as a vote of confidence for a city beset by lower gambling revenues, suspended casino projects and eventual New York casinos.

Construction will begin in February with a planned opening in the summer or fall of 2003, assuming environmental and planning approvals.

Tiguas keep heat on Texas lawman

The Tigua Indians are continuing to pressure Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, carrying signs vowing not to give up their casino.

Cornyn was in El Paso to discuss the city’s Better Business Bureau programs with local business leaders and did not meet with the Indians, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

“He needs to look at the way we’re living here in El Paso,” said Ester Guzman, who gambles at the casino and lives nearby. “There’s a lot of unemployment and there’s not any benefits for the unemployed. He’s wrong about the law because we are not doing any harm to anybody.”

The Tiguas have operated the Speaking Rock Casino in east El Paso for eight years.

New Mexico pushes gaming

The New Mexico governor’s office has built a point-by-point argument that will attempt to persuade federal officials to approve a new state-tribal gambling compact.

The Albuquerque Tribune reported that David McCumber, the governor’s top negotiator, has outlined a “win-win” situation for tribes and the state in New Mexico’s booming gambling industry.

The Interior Department has until Nov. 23 to approve or reject the new compact.

New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and the 10 tribes and pueblos have signed the new compact.