Issue 261
September 12 - September 18, 2005
Volume 5
page 2

Cato finds boat for new casino
As reported by
The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ, Mississippi - Florida developer Charles Cato said Wednesday his Emerald Star Casino company has bought from Harrah's a 100,000-square-foot boat that will serve as his planned Natchez casino.

"We are coming to Natchez," Cato said.

Cato, who is in town today, said he plans to close on his purchase of The Briars bed-and-breakfast inn by the end of the month.

Cato said he also has plans to build a 120-room hotel on land he owns in front of the Ramada Hilltop. "We've got two flagship (hotel companies) we're negotiating with now" to operate the hotel, Cato said.

Cato had originally planned to buy and renovate the 162-rooom Ramada, but talks fell through.

Due to Hurricane Katrina, Cato's appearance on the Mississippi Gaming Commission agenda has been pushed back from this month to October.

If the commission grants Emerald Star a casino license then, the casino should be open six to eight months from then, he said.

The casino would be placed just south of the Mississippi River bridge.

Cato's casino would have 920 slot machines and 26 table games.The Gaming Commission approved the site and development plan for Cato's casino complex, an estimated investment of more than $50 million, in February 2004.

Emerald Star must also secure environmental permits as well as approval from such agencies as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - approval Cato said he's applied for and hopes to receive shortly.

Cato is also required to submit a site plan to the city's Planning Commission for its approval.

In 2003, Cato had talked with city officials about the possibility of locating a casino at the city-owned Roth Hill property and using three other on-the-hill properties for, among other things, a convention center hotel.




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Cattle Congress Bid Turned Down
As reported by

The National Cattle Congress has failed in another attempt to reopen the Waterloo Greyhound Park. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says the N.C.C. has no right to its old license.

Representatives of the National Cattle Congress lobbied the commission to give them some idea whether dog racing could make a comeback in Waterloo. The NCC says it's old license was never revoked. But the commission said it didn't matter...after meeting for 20 minutes behind closed doors.

Commission member Mike Mahaffey sais, "Even if you believe there was a license in 1996 which I don't believe the commission does, licenses are only issued for a period of three years and so even at the latest in 1999, there was no license."

The NCC says it needs money to stay afloat, and bringing back dog racing with slots and table games at the track is the best way.

National Cattle Congress attorney Ken Nelson says, "This is an avenue we need to pursue because we're not getting any other private investors. We're not getting any financial backing. The fair is coming's a three day fair scaled down from what it was. The income and revenue is not there. We need to take steps to save this cattle congress."

Now the NCC will wait for the commission's written ruling before deciding its next step.

This bid may not end up in court, but there may be one last gasp, filing an application for a new license before any moratorium is set.

"We're getting ready to file an application. If they fail to review our application as they say they would, a court fight would be imminent."

The NCC says it should get that written ruling in the next month. The owners and operators of a new Waterloo Isle of Capri Casino both oppose the NCC's bid.

Crosby Stills & Nash

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino: Folk Rockers, Crosby, Stills & Nash appear at The Joint.

Date: September 17

Time: 8pm

Price: $51

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