Issue 103
August 26 - September 1, 2002
Volume 3
page 2

Casino Plan Gets Mixed Reviews in Maine

BIDDEFORD, ME - The city council reacted with a mix of enthusiasm and skepticism August 22 to a pitch by former Gov. Kenneth M. Curtis and others looking to build a $400 million to $600 million casino and resort.

Councilor Vincent Keeley called the casino idea "the best thing that has ever come down the pike for Biddeford." But others were skeptical.

"Somebody isn't telling the truth," said Councilor Clement Fleurent, referring to estimates that 4,000 jobs would be created.

The meeting, which involved Curtis, two Indian officials and Thomas Tureen, attorney for the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe, was the first such session with leaders of a Maine community.

Biddeford councilors plan to decide on September 3 whether voters will vote in November on the casino issue, according to Mayor Donna Dion.

Casino supporters also plan to meet with Sanford officials on September 10.

The two Indian tribes have said they want to open a casino in southern Maine, but they need the Legislature to pass a law giving them permission, and all four candidates for governor have said they would veto such a law.

Voters in Berwick, Eliot, Kennebunkport, Kittery, North Berwick, Ogunquit, Wells, Wiscasset and York have also passed measures opposing casinos.

At meeting on August 26, Curtis tried to allay fears that a casino would bring crime and other problems to Biddeford.

"This is an economic opportunity that should be carefully considered," Curtis told the council. "It would be a very clean, good and orderly operation."

Penobscot Nation Gov. Barry Dana said a casino would provide "self-reliance, dignity and economic development for the tribes and the state."

Tureen said the state should consider a casino as a way to deal with a revenue

shortfall that's been estimated at over $200 million for the current two-year budget cycle.

Tureen would not disclose the proposed location of the casino, but said it would be on a 50-acre site west of the Maine Turnpike.

The proposal worries some of Biddeford's neighbors, too. Saco Mayor William Johnson said Thursday he thinks a casino would bring numerous problems, including excessive traffic and additional burdens on area schools.

"I just hope it goes away," he said.

Mexico Anticipates Casinos - LA PAZ, MEXICO - After banishing casinos in 1938, Mexico is considering a casino comeback to bolster a sagging economy and increase tourism. Under President Vicente Fox, a pragmatic businessman, casinos are suddenly playing good odds. Despite opposition from church and law enforcement groups, analysts say the political and economic climate is right for the Mexican Congress to legalize casinos, possibly by the end of the year. "A casino wouldn't be our salvation, but it would be the perfect complement to our development. It would be oxygen," said Mayor Victor Guluarte. The La Paz Bay area, hosting 325,000 visitors last year, is envisioned as a possible casino-resort-marina site. Guluarte says a casino could create at least 1,000 badly needed jobs, develop a prime piece of real estate and pump millions of dollars into the local economy for roads, schools, water and other services that need upgrading. According to business consultant and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, James R. Jones, there is so much interest in Mexico that he was invited to speak about the Mexican market at the American Gaming Summit earlier this year in Las Vegas: "Anybody in the entertainment industry has to look at Mexico.

Wynn Pitches for Mega-Project Funding -/Reuters/ - Casino mogul Steve Wynn does not plan on letting the flailing IPO market get in the way of his next mega-projects. Wynn is expected to begin pitching investors a $2.4 billion Las Vegas resort and a new casino on the Chinese island of Macau shortly after Labor Day. The IPO of holding company Wynn Resorts Ltd., which could raise as much as $408 million, is tentatively set for the week of Sept. 16. The proceeds would help keep construction of Wynn’s luxury Las Vegas resort, Le Reve, on schedule, which is projected to open by 2005. Wynn Resorts expects the planned megaresort to employ about 8,000 workers. It will be the first Strip megaresort to open since the bankrupt Aladdin opened in August 2000. Le Reve will be "the most luxurious hotel resort environment on the Las Vegas Strip," the filing noted. The planned public offering in Wynn Resorts stock, set to be sold under the symbol "WYNN" on the Nasdaq Stock Market, is intended to raise capital to fund Le Reve construction.

The Go-GO's

The Go-Go's will performa at theHilton Theatre at Las Vegas Hilton Hotel Casino September 6-7.

$45, $55

10:30 p.m.

Reservations Recommended

For more information please call: (800) 774-1500
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