Issue 108
October 7-13, 2002
Volume 3
page 1
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This Issue

Gaming News
Golden Moon Hotel & Casino Opens

MGM Mirage Launches Online Casino

Spin Palace Online Casino Spins into UK

Boyd Gaming's Vacations Hawaii Selects New Charter Service

Bininon’s Insufficient Reserves Forces 40% Shut Down

Show Time

James Brown will perform at the House of Blues
at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino on October 18

Lawrence's Black Book Back For Another Year

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Golden Moon Hotel & Casino Opens

CHOCTAW, MS - The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) reached yet another milestone amid its ongoing quest for expansion of the Pearl River Resort with the official grand opening of the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino on October 4. The facility had been accessible to the public since the August 26 "soft opening," but the atmosphere was electric and excitement was in no short supply as events were held throughout the day to commemorate the historic achievement.

"Today marks another historic moment for Pearl River Resort, the Mississippi Choctaws and, for that matter, all Mississippians," said MBCI Chief Phillip Martin. "This luxurious facility will go a long way towards helping us achieve our goal of becoming a top U.S. resort destination - a distinction of which all state residents can be proud." Presently, Pearl River Resort represents more than a $500-million investment by the Choctaws in the State of Mississippi. Additionally, the Golden Moon has hired 2,000 new employees - bringing the current employment base for Pearl River Resort close to 5,200.

Ground was officially broken for the $177-million facility in November 2000. The Golden Moon Hotel & Casino is located directly across Highway 16 from Silver Star Hotel & Casino and features an 843,000-square-foot luxury hotel consisting of 571 rooms, including 112 suites and 32 VIP luxury suites, located within the hotel's 28 floors. The casino offers 90,000 square feet of gaming floor space with 1,750 slot machines and 54 table games. The Golden Moon features five appealing restaurants ranging from

Golden Moon Hotel & Casino is located across the street from Silver Star Hotel & Casino. This 28-story tower resort also includes 112 suites with 32 VIP luxury suites.

California-style 24-hour dining to steaks and fine wines, seafood, and sushi. Five lounges exist for entertainment pleasure, including a show lounge offering live music, a sports bar and grille, and a coffee bar lounge.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is a federally recognized, self-governing American Indian tribe of 9,100 enrolled members living on or near 30,000 acres of reservation land in east central Mississippi.

MGM Mirage Launches Online Casino

Las Vegas resort operator MGM Mirage has quietly launched the first online casino by a major U.S. gambling company, a Web site that welcomes Internet gamblers with 19 games and photographs of showgirls.

The site is open to all for free play, but only gamblers in six countries outside the United States can bet real money.

The owner of such hotel-casinos as Bellagio, The Mirage and MGM Grand entered the online gambling world with a $15 million investment and a small office on the Isle of Man, an island-nation off the coast of Great Britain that has licensed four other Web casinos.

Because of its established brand name and its 19 land-based casinos on three continents, the MGM Mirage has more to lose than most online gambling sites should it run afoul of regulators.

Only residents of the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand were allowed to open accounts and start betting when the Web casino went online last week.

The Sept. 26 "soft launch" is to be followed by a flurry of online ads and promotions on Western European portal sites, said Bill Hornbuckle, president and chief operating officer of MGM Mirage Online.

The site offers slots, roulette and animated card games including poker and blackjack. There's also baccarat, craps, bingo and keno. Each pops up in a separate window and allows gambling without software downloads.

The MGM Mirage site is networked with layers of database-searching software designed to ensure gamblers are who – and where – they say they are.

Five different companies working for MGM verify the age and residency of a potential online bettor. Regulators and auditors on the Isle of Man and in London monitor that network of systems.

The site for now rejects gamblers from dozens of countries, including the United States, where federal law prohibits using the Internet or phone lines to offer casino or sports betting.

But while MGM Mirage is hoping it will lead other big casino companies online – and other offshore gambling sites hope it will lend credibility to their companies – federal lawmakers are pushing in the opposite direction.

A bill passed by voice vote in the House on Tuesday would make it a crime for a gambling business to accept credit cards, checks or fund transfers in connection with unlawful Internet gambling.

"Internet gambling serves no legitimate purpose in our society – it is a danger to the family, it is a danger to society at large," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. James Leach, R-Iowa.

In Nevada, where MGM has ownership in 12 casinos, regulators will monitor the site through quarterly reports filed by the company. Online violations could jeopardize the company's state gambling licenses. But the Nevada Gaming Control Board did not approve the site and can only react to violations found by Isle of Man regulators.

"The burden is on (MGM Mirage) to ensure that they report to us, keep us informed," board chairman Dennis Neilander said.

Gambling industry analysts say regulated online casinos are likely to become an established niche in the industry. Bear Stearns Co. estimates 1,800 largely offshore Internet gambling sites generate $3.5 billion in yearly revenues.

"This is really a revolutionary time for the industry," analyst Michael Tew said.

Keith Furlong, deputy director of the Interactive Gaming Council, said the group representing smaller gambling sites is hoping for a "domino effect" of regulation.

"The challenge right now is to find one or two major states or countries that will step in with sensible regulation," Furlong said.

Other major U.S. casino companies – Park Place Entertainment and Harrah's Entertainment – have not yet committed to the Internet.

Park Place has applied for a license on the Isle of Man, but has not decided whether it would open an online venture. Harrah's has said it's too soon to seek a license.

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