Biloxi gambling summit at new heights

May 6, 2003 3:38 AM

The 10th annual Southern Gaming Summit this week is expected to be six times larger than the first occasion Biloxi hosted the affair in 1996.

"When we first started holding this event, it meant 600 or 700 room nights, which is the number of people who book hotel rooms times the number of nights they stay," said Beverly Martin, executive director of the Gulf Coast Gaming Association. "Now we’re up to 2,800 room nights."

The event, slated for Wednesday and Thursday at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, is expected to draw 6,000 people. The casino industry summit is the largest gaming trade show outside of Las Vegas.

Among the guests scheduled to speak are Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., president of the American Gaming Association, Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford and Park Place Entertainment President Wally Barr.

Trump takes $ hit

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts has seen its wondrous financial ride from 2002 grind to a halt.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that the company’s first quarter net loss was $24 million, as operating cash flow declined 23 percent and net revenue declined six percent.

Chairman and CEO Donald Trump blamed the revenue drop on a heavy February snowfall and the televised Iraq war coverage, citing both factors kept gamblers at home.

"One of our biggest weekends of the year was wiped out entirely, so we got clobbered by that," Trump said of the Presidents Day weekend snowstorm.

Maine backs casinos

The Boston Globe reported that a statewide survey showed that 60 percent of Maine residents would support a casino.

The numbers went down to 47 percent when voters were asked whether they would back casinos without mention of revenue sharing. On that question, 50 percent said no and three percent were undecided.

The poll stated pro-gaming support was highest in central and western Maine, lowest in the south..

ALSO: Federal officials approved a new gambling agreement between Wisconsin and the Potawatomi tribe. Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer said she was heartened by a Bureau of Indian Affairs letter threatening to reopen the compacts if a court rules the new games to be illegal.