Exclusive Content   Join Now

Stations now closer to site at Sears Point

Apr 29, 2003 4:43 AM

Stations Casinos has moved closer to establishing a major casino resort in California NASCAR country near Sears Point.

The Marin Independent Journal reported last week that the Las Vegas-based casino giant entered into a development and management agreement with the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria.

The agreement reportedly would pay Stations 22 percent of the profits during the first seven years of operation. The Sonoma project must receive the approval of the United States Department of Interior, California Gov. Gray Davis and the National Indian Gaming Commission.

The road to approval, however, faces a few bumps.

"We’re definitely going to try and fight this," Sonoma County Supervisor Mike Kerns said. "It flies right in the face of the county’s general plan.

The Hopland band of Pomo Indians had previously sought to buy 321 acres at the same location to build homes for lease. That deal met with opposition in Sonoma County and stalled.

Stations is planning to open a Native American casino in the Sacramento area of Northern California this summer.

Senecas gain support

Legislators in the Buffalo area have granted the Seneca Nation an opportunity to open a second casino.

The vote was 18-1 in favor of a second casino, according to the Buffalo News report. The resolution being sent to Gov. George Pataki states, "Casino gaming would provide economic stimulus to the area, creating new jobs and bringing needed revenue."

The Senecas opened their first casino earlier this year in Niagara Falls. In an agreement with the state of New York, the Senecas can develop two additional casinos in Western New York, including Buffalo.

Basketball to casino?

Local politicians in Memphis are discussing the possibility turning The Pyramid, current home of the NBA Grizzlies, into a casino according to a Biloxi (Miss) Sun Herald report.

The Pyramid will become empty in the fall of 2004 when the Grizzlies move into a new basketball arena. The University of Memphis college basketball team also plays its games at the Pyramid and could schedule its games in the new arena.

Officials in Tunica County, the top destination for Memphis-area gamblers, said bringing a casino to Tennessee is a long, uphill battle.

Fla casinos still afloat

The "cruises to nowhere" are still hoping to get somewhere with Florida legislators.

Last week, a bill to ban gambling cruises led to a promise from the industry to work with state politicians on a way to tax the casino boat industry.

Ralph Haben, a former House speaker who represents nearly all of the casino boats, told the Associated Press that the industry is willing to be taxed on its gambling profits despite already paying $28 million in taxes on purchased goods.

SARS bites into Australia

The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome is taking its toll on Australian casino revenues.

Casinos in Perth, Melbourne and on the Gold Coast, which cater to Asian high-rollers, report fewer international patrons according to the Australian Herald Sun.

"We’ve had major cancellations in the order of 20 to 30 percent," said Donna Campbell, public relations manager for the Conrad Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast.