Issue 156
September 8-14, 2003
Volume 3
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News
Mandalay Resorts CFO Says Las Vegas Room Rates On Rise

Gambling Takes Over Florida

Borgata to Host World Poker Competition

Airline Adds Three Vegas Flights

Caesars Palace Has Eye on Mall of America

New Casino Planned For Scotland

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Kid Rock will perform at the Rain at The Palms Resort Casino on September 21, 2003

Does Violating Basic Strategy Cause Global Warming?

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Mandalay Resorts CFO Says Las Vegas
Room Rates On Rise

/Dow Jones/ - LOS ANGELES, CA - Las Vegas hotel and casino operator Mandalay Resort Group reported on September 2nd that its average nightly hotel room rate rose in the second quarter to its highest level ever, surpassing the average just before the tourism industry was chilled by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"We are running record room rates at our five resorts for any summer season. Above those received in August 2001, our previous high mark," said Chief Financial Officer Glenn Schaeffer in a conference call following the company's second-quarter earnings report.

The higher room rates, said Schaeffer, was helped by rising demand for hotel rooms, successfully implemented price increases, ongoing recovery for Las Vegas tourism, and the opening of a convention center at the company's flagship Mandalay Bay Resort on the Las Vegas strip.

"Mandalay is among the fortunate few corporations in the consumer sector that is achieving organic revenue growth from pricing increased well higher than the U.S. economy's own growth rate," said Schaeffer.

The most dramatic increases in revenue per available room, or revpar, came at Mandalay's resorts on the Las Vegas strip, where it operates the Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur hotels.

At the Mandalay Bay Resort, revpar was up 18%; at the Luxor, revpar was up 14%; and

at Excalibur, revpar was up 11%.

But the improvement was generally contained in Las Vegas, said Schaeffer, who noted that "outside the strip, our Nevada experience was decidedly tamer."

He described slight setbacks in earnings at the firm's Circus Circus Reno, Nev., hotel and its 50%-owned Silver Legacy hotel in Reno.

Schaeffer estimated that for August, revpar was generally up about 6% to 7% average for the company's properties, and he expects it to be up "double digit" percentage points in September.

He added that a new 1,122-room tower being built at the Mandalay Bay is expected to have an average $220 per night room cost, but that "seeing how things are behaving, that could prove to be a low number."

Gambling Takes Over Florida

/Orlando Sentinel/ - FLORIDA – The unmistakable sights and sounds of a casino greet visitors entering 577 Deltona Blvd. Plush carpeting, flashing video screens, bells, beeps and free food and drink are part of the atmosphere at Gold Dust Casino.

Instead of payouts in cold, hard cash, winners get gift cards, restaurant coupons and even discounts to the chiropractor next door.

Yes, this is Florida, and these are slot machines. And they're apparently perfectly legal. Since the state rewrote gambling laws in the late 1990s, mini-casinos have been popping up from South Daytona to Port Charlotte.

The sudden proliferation of these "adult arcades" has caught most cities by surprise. The stores aren't filled with video games and kids. They look more like a Bally's or Harrah's. And the idea of having a little of the Las Vegas strip in a strip mall has not gone over well.

While leery city officials search for ways to regulate the arcades, owners such as Jack Manning insist they run legitimate businesses.

Manning, who owns Gold Dust Casino in Deltona, said his slot machines are legal because of one small but important feature: Patrons hit a button to stop the colorful spinning wheels on the video screens. "They're skill games," he said. "That's how they're programmed in the factory."

The loophole in the law allows arcade-type games to pay out credits that can be traded in for prizes instead of cash, as long as the games involve some degree of skill. Because it's not considered gambling, there is no state regulation of the arcades.

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