Issue 105
September 9-15, 2002
Volume 3
page 1
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Gaming News
Las Vegas Set To Mark Sept. 11

Canterbury Park Closes 2002 Live Meet

Tunica Casino Closes Chapter

Miss America Slots Get Mixed Reviews

Nevada Board OKs Cash for Life

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Las Vegas Set
To Mark Sept. 11

LAS VEGAS - /Las Vegas Sun/ - Casinos along the Las Vegas Strip and numerous businesses throughout Las Vegas plan to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with marquee messages, public service advertising and other events to remember the thousands who died.

MGM MIRAGE employees will receive a commemorative pin, while individual MGM MIRAGE casino properties will feature stories in employee newsletters, displays in employee areas and other remembrances.

Park Place Entertainment Corp.'s Caesars Palace and Flamingo properties will be displaying large American flags, while the Las Vegas Hilton will fly its flag at half mast. The Flamingo will also hold a public remembrance ceremony on its outdoor lawn.

Martin-Harris Construction, a general contracting firm based in Las Vegas, is ordering 500 T-shirts for its employees and field workers. The shirts will feature an American flag and the words "In God We Trust."

Martin-Harris will also likely hold a prayer meeting the morning of Sept. 11 to pray for those whose lives were lost in the terrorism, said spokeswoman Ellie Shattuck, and the company is arranging an alternate date to celebrate the birthdays of employees who were born on Sept. 11.

"In the office, we've had a lot of sharing," said Shattuck, who noted the company started making plans for a Sept. 11 observance about a month ago. "The fear and the sadness are just now coming to the surface. For us, Sept. 11 is a day in tribute to carrying on our lives and not allowing outside forces to alter our fortitude and our belief in the American way of doing business."

The Howard Hughes Corp., a developer in Las Vegas, has partnered with JMA Architecture Studios to help finance a permanent memorial to Barbara Edwards, the Palo Verde High School teacher who was aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when it hit the Pentagon.

The two companies will unveil the memorial's design at the Summerlin high school at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 10.

Angela Spall, director of marketing for Lionel Sawyer and Collins in Las Vegas, said the law firm hasn't planned to formally mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks but will allow its employees to remember that day in their own way.

"We've just gotten back from vacation and haven't discussed what we're planning to do yet for 9-11's anniversary," she said. "Everyone's going to be here. But we're letting employees do what they want to do. If anyone is upset that day, we would provide support for them."

Tom Williams, spokesman for Wal-Mart's corporate office in Bentonville, Ark., said the giant retailer, which will be open for business that day, plans "a day of quiet reflection" on the anniversary of Sept. 11 and will provide messages of support to its associates throughout the day.

"There'll be a period of silence on that day but we're looking to coordinate that with the national period of silence," he said. "We won't be advertising that day."

But representatives of Las Vegas daily newspaper and cable television outlets say they've seen no large reduction in advertising for Sept. 11.

"The trade publications and other newspapers we've talked to were discussing a possible decline, but it's my sense that we're not seeing a large cutback here," said Bob Brown, director of advertising for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun, which operate under a joint-operating agreement for ad sales.

"Those that normally advertise on Wednesdays are running that day," he said.

Steve Schorr, a vice president for Cox Communications Inc. in Las Vegas, said the city's dominant cable television system has not seen a decrease in advertising that day. The firm earlier decided to offer more than 30 percent more time for public service announcements that day.

"We made a commitment early on to do PSAs at a higher level that day so that organizations like the Red Cross can get their messages out," Schorr said.

The firm learned after making that commitment that several cable networks, including Lifetime, USA and Discovery Channel, are beefing up public service announcements for the day as well.

Cox also plans a special patriotic ceremony Wednesday morning, will give employees red, white and blue ribbons to place on a tree in its courtyard and will ask drivers of its more than 370 vehicles to drive with their headlights on all day.

"The tree will serve as a visual tribute for the special, yet solemn day," Cox said in a statement.

Dale Erquiaga, vice president of brand services for R&R Partners, the state's largest advertising agency, said a few of the firm's hotel accounts chose not to advertise Sept. 11 and that other accounts did a thorough review of their advertising messages for sensitivity.

"The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority wasn't running ads at the time anyway, but the others chose to be dark because of sensitivity issues and appropriateness," he said. "A lot of programming will be pre-empted that day, so accounts wouldn't know (what) they would be run with, so you have to consider those issues."

Canterbury Park Closes 2002 Live Meet

SHAKOPEE, MN – Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN announced on September 9 the final results of its 2002 live racing meet highlighted by record attendance figures. The 2002 meet, with 61 days of live racing, saw 265,363 racing fans pass through the Canterbury Park turnstiles. The season total represents an increase of 8.5% over the 61-day 2001 meet. The average daily attendance was 4,350 compared to 4,010 last season. Both the total attendance and daily average attendance are the highest since the track re-opened in 1995 and reflect the fifth consecutive year of attendance gains.

On the strength of a 9.5% increase in simulcast wagering, average daily on-track total handle (live and simulcast) increased from $490,493 in 2001 to $502,510, an increase of 2.4%. Average daily on-track live handle of $250,000 represented a 4% decrease from $261,000 in 2001. The decrease in on-track live handle can be attributed primarily to a 3.5% decrease in the number of live races run from 599 in 2001 to 578 in 2002. Due to dangerous weather conditions, Canterbury Park was forced to cancel portions of two race cards. In addition, one racing day that was canceled completely due to lightning storms was not included in the averages for the 2002 season, which had been slated for 62 live racing days.

The absence of the large out-of-state wagering on the 2001 Claiming Crown (over $2.5 million) was cited as the reason for an 8.6% decline in the total amount wagered on Canterbury Park live races ($26.5 million in 2002 compared to $29.0 million in 2001). Claiming Crown, which was held at Philadelphia Park this year after a three-year stint at Canterbury Park, is expected to return to Shakopee in 2003.

Total average daily purse payments of $117,620 represented a slight decrease from $121,058 in 2001 due to a reduced stakes schedule as a result of not hosting Claiming Crown in 2002. A 5% mid-season purse increase resulted in an increase in average daily overnight purses of 3.6% to $92,501 per day in spite of the 3.5% reduction in the number of races conducted.

The unusually wet summer also had an impact on the average starters per Thoroughbred race, which fell from 9.0 in 2001 to 8.6 in 2002. Poor track conditions brought on by record setting rainfall, combined with 11 days worth of turf racing being moved to the main track resulted in a significant increase in scratches compared to the prior year.

"We are thrilled with the attendance gains, which reflects the enthusiastic response to horse racing by our live racing fans," said Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson. "Also, the strong growth in our on-track simulcast business shows we are continuing to develop our core handicapping customer base. The declines in wagering on our live races, both on-track and out-of state, were disappointing, but not unexpected considering the absence of Claiming Crown and the weather related reductions in the number of live races conducted during the meet. With Claiming Crown scheduled to return in 2003 and a little help from Mother Nature, we are looking forward to what we expect to be a record year in all statistical categories."

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