Issue 115
November 25 - December 1, 2002
Volume 3
page 1
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Gaming News
Bellagio, Picasso and Renoir Honored With AAA Five Diamond Award

Internet Gambling Wins Key Ruling

Harrah's to Make Donations During 12 Days of Christmas

Station Casinos Install First Penny Progressive Slots

Mississippi Casino Opening Planned for September 2003

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The 2002 Billboard Music Awards will be held at the Grand Garden Arena at MGM Grand Hotel Casino on December 9

How Important Is Penetration in Blackjack?

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Bellagio, Picasso and Renoir
Honored With AAA Five Diamond Award

LAS VEGAS – Bellagio, which last year became the first Las Vegas hotel and casino and the largest resort in history to be awarded the AAA Five Diamond Award, has received the distinction for the second
consecutive year.

Piscasso at the BellagioRestaurants Picasso at Bellagio and Renoir at The Mirage also were honored with Five Diamonds for the second consecutive year. The two restaurants made history last year when they became the first two Five Diamond restaurants in Las Vegas history. They are among a distinguished list of only 53 restaurants nationwide to receive this distinction.

The AAA Five Diamond Award, presented to fewer than one-half percent of the approximately 40,000 lodgings and restaurants in the AAA Tour Book guides, has been the most coveted symbol of excellence in the travel industry since its inception in 1977.

"Bellagio guests are showered with first class service throughout their entire stay," said AAA spokesman Atle Erlingsson. "The AAA Five Diamond standard is evident from check-in to check-out, with gracious staff, sparkling rooms and impeccable service."

Renior at The MirageBellagio's President and CEO of Mirage Resorts, Mr. Robert Baldwin, said, "Bellagio's employees are the best in the industry. Their ability to continually provide Five Diamond Service makes them entirely deserving of all of the credit for this honor."

To be considered for AAA approval and rating, lodgings and restaurants must undergo a thorough, unannounced, inspection by one of AAA's 60 full-time professional evaluators. Five Diamond establishments go through the most extensive reviews.

Chef Alessandro Stratta of Renoir at The Mirage said, "It is an honor to be recognized for doing what you love to do. At Renoir, we try to be a very special aspect of the Mirage experience."

Capturing the flavors and aromas of the French Riviera, Chef Stratta's cuisine highlights the finest of seasonal ingredients.

Guests can indulge in prime meats, seafood and vegetable specialties while admiring numerous works of art by master painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Of the Five Diamonds Chef Julian Serrano said, "Awards are never the goal -- we set out to create special moments for our guests. Moments they will remember always. The awards, like the Five Diamonds, tell us we have achieved that."

Chef Serrano's cuisine is inspired by the regional cuisine of France and Spain where Picasso spent much of his life. The restaurant boasts a wine cellar stocked with bottles from the finest European vineyards. Picasso masterpieces, as well as a collection of his charming ceramic pieces, further delight the senses of diners enjoying the Picasso experience.

Inspired by the beautiful villages of Europe, the Bellagio overlooks a Mediterranean-blue eight-acre lake in which fountains perform a magnificent aquatic ballet choreographed to music and lights. Within Bellagio are award-winning dining experiences including Julian Serrano's Picasso, Michael Mina's Aqua, Todd English's Olives and Le Cirque and Circo from the renowned Maccioni family. The elegant Petrossian Lounge, a world-class art gallery, exquisite gardens, Cirque du Soleil's stunning performance of "O," luxurious spa services and an elegant casino all add to the extraordinary Bellagio experience. The resort's shopping promenade, Via Bellagio, features upscale shops including Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Prada, Fred Leighton, Hermes, Moschino, Yves Saint Laurent.

With an erupting volcano at its entrance, The Mirage offers exquisite AAA Four-Diamond accommodations, exclusive shopping boutiques, upscale restaurants including the AAA Five Diamond Renoir, extensive meeting and convention services and excellent entertainment including Siegfried & Roy -- Magicians of the Century and Danny Gans -- "The Man of Many Voices." From the 20,000-gallon aquarium in the lobby to the lush tropical foliage in the atrium and the tropical pool with waterfalls, guests experience a world-class destination unlike any other.

Internet Gambling Wins Key Ruling

/Las Vegas Sun/ - LAS VEGAS - Internet gambling supporters won a major legal victory on Nov. 21 when a federal appeals court in Louisiana upheld an earlier dismissal of a class-action lawsuit by people who lost money gambling in Internet casinos.

Proponents say the case could help their efforts to legalize Internet wagering nationwide. But the decision could also trigger a backlash by anti-gambling forces intent on banning Web casinos in Congress, they add.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a district court's dismissal of a lawsuit by gamblers Larry Thompson and Lawrence Bradley, saying the gamblers failed to prove that online casinos and the credit card companies they used to process their wagers violated federal racketeering laws and the federal Wire Act.

Thirty-three virtually identical cases had been transferred to the Louisiana district court through multi-district litigation and the cases of Thompson and Bradley were selected as test cases and consolidated, the appeals court said.

The 1961 Wire Act was enacted by then-President John F. Kennedy to curb illegal sports betting over interstate telephone lines. Bills that would ban Internet gambling in the United States have failed to pass in previous sessions of Congress, leaving the Wire Act as the primary law on the books to address Internet casinos.

Yet experts have fiercely debated whether the law applies to casino-style gambling on the Web. Attorneys specializing in gambling law have said that the language and the spirit of the law applies to sports events, not card games and other casino-style gambling.

The federal government sees it differently. In August, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to Nevada's state Gaming Control Board stating that, in its view, the Wire Act also applies to casino-style gambling on the Internet.

Thursday, the federal court of appeals in New Orleans disagreed with that interpretation.

"The district court concluded that the Wire Act concerns gambling on sporting events or contests and that the plaintiffs had failed to allege that they had engaged in Internet sports gambling," the panel wrote. "We agree with the district court's statutory interpretation, its reading of the relevant case law, its summary of the relevant legislative history, and its conclusion."

The ruling may leave open the possibility of legalizing non-sports Internet betting, such as traditional casino-style games of chance, in states that approve it, supporters say.

"In 1961 I don't think legislative intent could have included the concept of playing casino-style games over phone lines," said Keith Furlong, deputy director of the Interactive Gaming Council, a group that lobbies on behalf of Internet casinos and related businesses.

Still, it's unlikely that Internet gambling will be legalized in the near future, said Joseph Kelly, an attorney and professor of business law at SUNY College of Buffalo in New York.

The anti-gambling forces in Congress far outnumber pro-casino factions, he said.

Tony Cabot, a gaming attorney and Internet gambling law expert in Las Vegas, agrees.

The court decision could be used as fodder to fuel an all-out ban on Internet gambling, he said.

Similar decisions by weighty courts could weaken the force of the Wire Act over time, however, he noted.

"Ultimately the laws are interpreted by the courts. As you get higher appeal courts making the determination of the Wire Act applying only to sports, it makes it more difficult for the Department of Justice to sustain its position."

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