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Two New Indian Casinos Opening This Week

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Into the doom and gloom surrounding the gaming industry’s biggest players — as well as the national economy — come the openings of two Indian casinos this week in the Southwest.

Wednesday, the Navajo Nation, America’s largest Indian tribe, will open their first casino, the $30 million Fire Rock Casino near Gallup, New Mexico.  The 65,000 square-foot space will feature a bingo hall, blackjack and poker tables as well as 400+ slot machines and marks the end of a long road to bring gaming to the Navajo tribe. (more…)

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Ouch! Fortune Not Smiling On Gaming Stocks

Monday, November 17th, 2008

In doing my research this past weekend for some upcoming articles, I came across tons of news items detailing the stock declines of the major players in the gaming industry.  And it’s not just the casino owners/operators who are seeing double-digit stock drops but also the game and technology manufacturers.  Thought it would be interesting to see some of the numbers — all in one spot — so here’s a chart showing just that:  (All prices are as of market close November 14, 2008.) (more…)

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Favorite Slot Machine, Hot Topics at “Slot Manager” Site

Sunday, November 16th, 2008
It's no surprise that Blazing 7s from Ballys is a customer slots favorite.

It comes as no surprise that Blazing 7s™ from Ballys is a customer slots favorite.

The iconic Bally’s Blazing 7s machine and Vision Gaming‘s old-time favorite, Pot of Gold, were named as two of the games casino slots managers “can’t pull” off their floors due to customer popularity. This question — “What old school slot or video poker games are so popular with players that you just can’t pull them off your floor?” — is asked and answered at the website belonging to popular industry-insider magazine, “Slot Manager.”

The site has lots of interesting information and categories including “Hot Topics” where you’ll find the question-and-answer forum, a “New Products & Games” section, and great articles and columns by industry pros.  (more…)

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Casinos Fold on New Construction Projects

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Screech.  Thud.  Those are the sounds of casino construction being brought to a halt across the country.  It seems there is news every week about another project being put “on hold” as the downturn in the economy continues to affect all segments of the gaming industry.  Curious, I compiled this list of who is stopping what and where…so far.

MGM Mirage – Announced in its third-quarter earnings release on October 29 that the company is postponing indefinitely its MGM Atlantic City project citing “current economic conditions and the impact of the credit market environment.”   In Las Vegas, MGM Mirage has also halted plans “for the development of a major resort complex on the southwest corner of the Las Vegas Strip and Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas….” 

There’s better news, however, for MGM’s CityCenter Las Vegas development.  In an interview with Market Watch, company officials said the $9 billion resort complex “will get the financing it needs to be completed.”  (more…)

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Sands Corp. Issues Warning to Investors

Thursday, November 6th, 2008
Owner of The Palazzo -- Las Vegas Sands Corp. -- sees troubled times.

Owner of The Palazzo -- Las Vegas Sands Corp. -- sees troubled times ahead.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. — owner of The Venetian and The Palazzo casino resorts on the Strip in Las Vegas, plus the Macau Venetian, Sands and Four Seasons — said in a regulatory filing today that it probably won’t meet the requirements of loans arranged by Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. unless it cuts spending on developments, boosts earnings at its Las Vegas Strip casinos and raises more capital. (more…)

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Election Results on State Gambling Questions

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Here’s a quick update on the post I did regarding gambling issues on the 2008 election ballot in several states.

Missouri — Proposition A passed and with its approval lifted the ” no more than $500 in losses every two-hours” spending limit imposed on casino players.

Ohio — No casino for my friends in Ohio.  Steve Wynn sighs with relief.  (more…)

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New Gila River Casino on Pace to Open November 20

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Workers recently installed this sign at the new Gila River Casino, Lone Butte.

Workers recently installed this sign at the new Gila River Casino, Lone Butte.

The new Gila River casino, Lone Butte, at Loop 202 and Kyrene Road in Chandler, Arizona is coming together nicely for the scheduled November 20 opening date.  I am really looking forward to playing in this new Phoenix-area casino which is slated to have 850 slot machines, a 750-seat bingo hall, new high-limit player areas and exciting table games including Fortune Pai Gow Poker Progressive, Let It Ride Three-Card Bonus and Three-Card Poker.  And, for a non-smoker like me, the thought of a state-of-the-art smoke removal system built right into the facility makes me swoon.

In grand opening promotions, casino customers can play their favorite games for cash and prizes including a new Pontiac Soltice which will be given away on December 4th.  Prior to the main event car giveaway, the “Luck Has a New Home” promo will award cash prizes to players from 6 – 10 p.m., November 5, 12 — at the current Lone Butte location —  and on the 26th at the new casino. (more…)

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Gambling and The Election, Part 2: Gaming Issues in Ohio and Missouri Will Be Decided

Monday, November 3rd, 2008
Gambling issues take gaming decisions to the voters tomorrow.

Voters will have their say on gambling issues in several states.

Election 2008 sees some interesting gambling-related issues on ballots in several states.  Of these, two are of particular interest to me and here’s why.

This past summer, P.B. and I took a cross-country jaunt and stopped to stay and play at several mid-West casinos including Harrah’s St. Louis.  When we arrived at the casino, we were informed that we needed new player’s club cards and to obtain them, we had to produce picture ID’s plus sign the backs of our replacement cards.  We were told that we must insert these cards into the machines in order to play and that’s when we learned about the $500 loss limit.  Huh?  Yes, unique to Missouri, is a law that says a player cannot lose more than $500 in any two-hour period.  (The cards keep track of your play.)  (more…)

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Gambling and The Election, Part One: Want to Know Who’ll Win? Ask Kenny Rogers

Monday, November 3rd, 2008
Is Barack Obama holding all aces?

Is Barack Obama holding all aces?

Professional political commentators have weighed in and according to The Washington Post, only two out of fourteen pundits see John McCain in the White House next January.   While you can put your stock into what people like Ed Rollins, Eleanor Clift and Bill Maher say, Keith Thomson, in an article appearing on the website The Huffington Post, argues  that professional gamblers or, to be more specific, bookmakers are the true political soothsayers.

In his article “The Most Accurate Election Forecast?  Hardcore Gamblers,” Thomson gives some great information on the history of betting on political outcomes – which was legal for many years — here in the United States.  He also gives reasons in the article as to why bookmakers have to be on the money – pun intended – when setting odds.

For the post, Thomson interviewed professional gambling experts and a University of Kansas economics professor, Koleman Strumpf, who “believes wagering is an incomparable barometer of an election.”

If you are interested in seeing the current odds on the presidential and other races, check out internet site Betfair.com.  Keep in mind that it is for information and entertainment purposes only since both betting on political races and internet gambling are prohibited for United States citizens.

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Arizona Casino Revenue Falls in Third Quarter

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Casino gaming revenue is down all over the country.  No surprise there considering the state of the economy.  In September alone, Biloxi casinos — hit with Hurricane Gustav and forced to close over a typically busy Labor Day Weekend — reported revenue down a whopping 26% from a year ago.  In Atlantic City, September brought the biggest monthy drop ever for the seaside gaming community – 15.1%.  And for August — which included most of the Labor Day weekend numbers — Nevada reported an 8.1% decrease with gaming capital, Las Vegas, down 7.4%.  I’m sure we’re going to see Nevada’s September numbers more in line with the double-digit declines reported above when they are released later this month.

And in Arizona, the state department of gaming, announced Friday that for the quarter ended September 30, tribal contributions from Indian gaming revenue — which are based on gaming earnings — to the state fell 9.5% from the same period a year ago.  

According to the Arizona Department of Gaming press release, “Arizona tribes’ combined contribution for the quarter…was approximately $25.0 million.  That’s down from $27.6 million in the same quarter a year before.”

So what do these revenue drops mean for casino visitors?  Look for more competition among gaming venues for your gambling dollars.  More and bigger promotions (think Harrah’s Ak-ChinWin Your Million“), enticing hotel rates all around the country, especially in room-laden Las Vegas, and lots of other events and ideas aimed at getting fannies into the gaming seats.

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New Encore Resort at Wynn Las Vegas Open for Reservations

Thursday, October 30th, 2008
The new Encore resort at Wynn Las Vegas.

The shining new Encore resort at Wynn Las Vegas opens in December.

UPDATECheck HERE for the latest on the grand opening of Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

The new Encore resort at Wynn Las Vegas has begun taking room reservations for January 12, 2009 and beyond according to a recent press release.  The $2.3 billion resort is scheduled to open December 22 and a rumor is out that the grand opening may get tied into Steve Wynn’s late-January birthday.  Since P.B. and I always go to Las Vegas in January for P.B.’s birthday maybe this year we’ll be celebrating it with Steve Wynn.

Encore’s 2,034 suites will no doubt feature all the luxury and attention to detail that Wynn Resorts is known for when designing guest rooms.  The property’s resort suites will be more than 700 square-feet while Tower Suites clock in at up to 5,800 square-feet!

Wynn Encore, situated next to the flagship Wynn Las Vegas, will feature five “signature” restaurants, seven bars & lounges, a new “ultra-chic” nightclub and several new retail entities.  And, according to the press release, “A vibrant atrium and European-inspired pool area are centerpieces of the Encore experience and signature design elements include an abundance of natural light, a landscape of foliage and shimmering pools of water. Butterflies flirt over vibrant carpets, mosaic tiles and textured walls to draw guests into a playful juxtaposition between indoors and out.”

For reservations and a peek at the new room design, check out the Encore Las Vegas website.  (Click on the “reservations” tab at the bottom of the screen to pull up a photo of the new rooms.)

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Gila River to Debut Exciting New Arizona Casino November 20

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
Soon the ringing of slot machines will replace construction noise at the newest Arizona casino, Gila River's Lone Butte.

Soon the ringing of slot machines will replace construction noise at the newest Arizona casino, Gila River's Lone Butte.

When the clock strikes 3 pm on November 20, the newest Arizona casino will open its doors to the public at the Loop 202 and Kyrene Road near the Phoenix suburb of Chandler.   Gila River’s new Lone Butte Casino will offer gamers more than 120,000 square-feet of casino entertainment including 850 slot machines, live blackjack, casino bingo, and a host of poker games including Fortune Pai Gow Poker® Progressive, Let It Ride Three-Card Bonus® and Three-Card Poker®.

Slot machine aficionados will find both new casino slot games like eBay™ (see eBay™ photos here) as well as popular favorites such as Wheel of Fortune®, Star WarsTM, and Blazing 7’s.  Casino bingo players will be treated to a 750-seat state-of-the-art bingo hall with both matinee and evening sessions. 

And Gila River planners have made sure players won’t go hungry while visiting the new casino by offering six restaurants in the expansive $60 million facility.  Visitors can choose from Venona Chophouse, Café 24/7, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Express, Tuscan Olive, Quiznos™ plus a quick-serve coffee shop featuring Starbucks™ coffee.

Looking for some live entertainment to complement your gaming?  Then visit the new Cascades Lounge evenings Thursday to Sunday for a variety of entertaining acts.

The Gila River Indian Community operates three Phoenix-area casinos including Wild Horse Pass, Vee Quiva and Lone Butte.  (The current Lone Butte casino at 56th Street will be closed prior to the opening of the new casino.)

Look for more updates on the opening of Lone Butte as we draw closer to the big day!

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