Branson not game for slots

Aug 26, 2003 6:16 AM

Branson has been Missouri’s response to Las Vegas without the gambling. But, a $5 million petition for a riverboat casino could change everything.

The Springfield News Leader reported last week that the petition is backed by a casino company in Rockaway Beach, located 15 miles east of Branson and the seven million annual visitors to the entertainment mecca of the Ozark Mountains.

Branson’s elected leadership and tourism officials have already declared their outright opposition to gambling anywhere near Branson.

Southwest Casino and Hotel Corp., a Minneapolis-based firm, was approved by the city of Rockaway Beach to develop the casino.

Peter Herschend, a Branson hotel co-owner opposed to the petition, said he would do all he could to prevent "an accident from happening.

"People will be injured because of it," Herschend said.

The 120 people in Rockaway Beach who voted to pursue gambling saw the petition as "an economic solution to the town’s decline."

Fighting for Buffalo

Mayor Anthony Masiello is again asking the Seneca Nation of Indians to change their minds and build a casino in downtown Buffalo.

Masiello wants the Senecas to reconsider their recent decision to pursue plans for a second casino in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area to be built in Cheektowaga.

"Others believe Buffalo is the best location," Masiello told the Buffalo News. "The intent of the casino compact is to have a location in Buffalo and Niagara Falls."

Feinstein pleased

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein cheered the Graton Rancheria tribe’s intention to scrap plans for a casino and 200-room hotel at Sears Point.

"So far so good," Feinstein told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. "The land buy on the western edge of Rohnert Park would be a dramatic improvement over the Sears Point wetlands site."

Tribal leaders did oppose Feinstein’s legislation that would prevent the Rancherias from automatically transforming any land it controls into a reservation, claiming it was an attempt to override Native American sovereignty.

Michigan deal coming apart

Competing claims by two Indian tribes to 100 isolated acres in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have led to proposals for three new casinos in the Lower Peninsula.

The casino proposals, slated for Port Huron, Romulus and Vanderbilt, have divided Michigan’s congressional delegation and created new friction between three of the state’s tribes.

Around the USA:

WASH: Former head football coach Rick Neuheisel sued the University of Washington and the NCAA last Thursday, alleging he was wrongfully fired for participating in a college basketball gambling pool. Neuheisel said he invested $6,400 and won $12,123 in his two years in the pools.

FLA: A Tallahassee bartender charged with felony bookmaking in the investigation of ex-Florida State QB Adrian McPherson was placed on probation after pleading no contest to four misdemeanor gambling charges.

S.C.: Catawba Indian leaders say they will know the fate of a proposed bingo hall near Santee within 60 days.