Moneymaker becomes money
maker for Tennessee U. frat

Nov 2, 2004 4:18 AM

It was a moneymaking scheme that worked for a University of Tennessee fraternity, despite dire warnings that staging a Texas hold’em poker tournament was illegal.

There were 240 players who paid $30 for a commerative T-shirt and a chance to play against Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 World Series of Poker champion and a former brother at the university’s Pi Kappa Phi house.

But the challengers’ hopes were dashed when, to no one’s surprise, Moneymaker walked off with another "championship."

"We just wanted to find a good way to raise a lot of money for our philanthropy," explained a fraternity member. What with the growing popularity of poker, created by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.’s television sponsorship of the Binion’s World Series and the World Poker Tour’s television events, the fraternity decided to capitalize on the fad.

A state official warned the university that such poker games, even for charitable purposes, were illegal.

Fortunately, the cops never showed up.

Argosy fine

If you hold a gaming license you had better know who you are doing business with or face the prospects of a hefty fine.

That’s what Argosy Gaming Company (AGY) found out recently when the company was fined $200,000 by the Missouri Gaming Commission because of a relationship it had with a group of investors that included convicted criminals with alleged mob ties.

The commission cited Argosy for failing to perform an adequate due diligence in 2000 before entering into a $40 million financial arrangement with another company that would have become the manager of a proposed tribal casino in Wisconsin. The tribe ultimately dropped its plans for a casino near Kenosha, Wisc.

The commissioners said they believed Argosy had "jeopardized the credibility and integrity of the commission, and Missouri riverboat gambling in general."

Voter sentiment

There was no legislation for them to address on Tuesday but the registered voters that participated in a poll conducted by the Baltimore Sun strongly supported allowing the state’s racetracks to install video lottery machines.

The pollsters reported that 57% of registered voters surveyed said they favored legalizing slots while 41% said they were opposed. And, Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich believes that the support is even stronger than the poll results would indicate.

During the past 18 months, the state Senate has been behind the governor in attempting to move pro-racino legislation along only to be frustrated in the House where Speaker Michael Busch maintains ultimate power. It has been Busch that has prevented racino legislation from going forward and the voters surveyed were quick to identify Busch as the problem,

Following the polling, a spokesman for the governor remarked, "The governor has made it clear. He’s got a hard head, and he’s not giving up."

Meanwhile, members of the state’s horsemen’s association are concerned that a number of stables currently racing on the Maryland circuit will soon be leaving. Purse money in states where racinos operate has been higher and now the Maryland industry must compete with Pennsylvania where the tracks will soon be installing the slots.

THE INSIDER: Gaming analysts at JP Morgan have raised their rating on Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (ISLE) from "underweight" to "neutral."

In Louisiana, county officials said they want Isle to provide them with detailed plans of their move of a riverboat from Lake Charles to the New Orleans suburbs.

The two bands of Nipmuc Indians who previously were denied recognition and as such prohibited from going forward with plans for a casino have appealed the decision of the Board of Indian Affairs.

Advertising revenues, just limping along in the U.S. have skyrocketed in Australia during the past fiscal year, contributing a 75% surge in the country’s largest media empire, Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd., the company owned by gambling "whale" Kerry Packer.

New Jersey Senate President Richard Codey, a strong supporter of horse racing who is replacing resigning Gov. Jim McGreevey, has gone on record as opposed the leasing of state-owned Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands racetracks to private interest.

GTECH Holdings Inc. (GTK) announced that it has been selected to expand its services to Atlantic Lottery Corporation, the company that operates video lottery services to the Maritime area of eastern Canada.