Frisco opens door to gaming

Aug 12, 2003 1:35 AM

A major downtown casino in San Francisco? Well, it’s one step closer.

Last Wednesday, a federal judge refused to prevent a landless Sonoma County Indian tribe from taking over a San Pablo card room. Opponents feel this could lead to a Las Vegas-style casino in the heart of the metropolitan area.

Malcolm Lee, executive director of the Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond, said it could lead to "further deterioration of the whole moral climate of the area." Lee is one of a group of pastors opposed to the takeover.

Tony Cohen, an attorney for the tribe, said San Pablo officials ”” "the people best qualified to determine what is in the best interest of the city" ”” supported the deal.

The plaintiffs said that if the Indians took over the San Pablo facility, they would be able to offer electronic bingo games with unlimited jackpots. Non-Indian card rooms can’t offer any type of bingo and charitable groups are limited to $250 bingo jackpots.

Sands ups AC ante

The Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City boasts the highest betting limits and best odds in Atlantic City. And, it wants to stay that way.

"Yes it’s risky," Sands president Tom Davis told The Press of Atlantic City. "Value is getting the best odds you can."

Gamblers can get 10 times odds in craps, play roulette with a single zero wheel, wager $50,000 per hand of blackjack and join a $1 million poker tourney.

A similar strategy at Sands backfired in the winter of 2000-01, causing the casino to tap its cash reserve to fund daily operations.

"We want Sands to be a player’s place," said Carl Icahn, the casino resort’s majority owner.

No perks in Detroit

The Detroit News reported last week that Local Detroit businessmen Ted Gatzaros and Dimitrios Jim Papas lost their battle to keep casino clientele as patrons entitled to free services in their restaurants and hotels.

The Michigan Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, decided that the Michigan Gaming Control Board and not the courts has the authority to decide on casino regulation.

Gatzaros and Papas sued the state casino regulation arm in January 2002 after they were denied a state exemption to provide discount coupons at their Greektown restaurants along with the Atheneum Hotel.

Catawbas want bingo

The Catawba Nation has the backing of the Orangeburg County Council in efforts to build a proposed bingo hall near Santee, S.C.

Columbia television station WIS reports that the governor and other state leaders oppose the bingo parlor on the grounds that it could lead the way for casino gambling.

Catawba Chief Gilbert Blue says the tribe needs to get federal legislation passed that would allow it to offer enhancements for the Santee operation, such as longer hours, jackpots of more than $100,000 and an electronic connection to other tribe’s operation.

Sanford snubs casino

Legislators voted last week not to add a second casino question to the November ballot.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the ruling makes it unnecessary to ask York County residents to vote on whether they want a gambling resort in Sanford. They did, however, endorse a vote on the plan after November.

The tribes want to build a proposed $650 million resort casino in Sanford and have acquired about 300 acres across from the Regional Airport.

Last fall, residents voted 3,838-3,298 in favor of legalized casino gambling in Sanford-Springvale.

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