Issue 171
December 22 - 28, 2003
Volume 3
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News
Connecticut's Foxwoods Casino Starts Promotional Show

First Season of 'American Casino' Showcases Green Valley Ranch

Eager customers flock to Evangeline's casino opening

Possible Las Vegas-Style Casino for Mall of America

Markham in new talks for a casino


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A-Mei, Taiwanese native and Asian pop star, performs at the Paris Las Vegas

New Slots By John Grochowski

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Connecticut's Foxwoods Casino Starts
Promotional Show
As reported by The Day

Mashantucket, Conn.--Foxwoods Resort Casino has launched a glitzy show called WIN-TV to promote casinoamenities to guests at the Mashantucket Pequots' five hotels.The Creative Arts Department is developing and producin the Wampum Insider Network, which involves employees from throughout the casino as well as big-name entertainers who perform at Foxwoods.
WIN-TV airs 24 hours a day on televisions at the three on-site hotels as well as the Mystic Hilton and Norwich Inn & Spa.

It is Foxwoods' second venture into television programming. Foxwoods News Network, a show geared toward the 12,000 employees who work at the world's largest casino, has been on the air in the back of the house at Foxwoods for five years.

The debut show features segments on the casino's new mid-week matinee performances and a recent "Murder Mystery Slot Tournament," a special event for loyal slot machine customers. Entertainers David Copperfield, Bill Cosby, Dennis Miller, Wayne Brady and country singer Jo Dee Messina make guest appearances. The co-hosts and reporters repeatedly extol the benefits of the Wampum program, in which customers use their cards every time they gamble and accrue points that can be used at casino stores, hotels and restaurants.

Tom Cantone, vice president of entertainment, said he realized some time ago that Foxwoods had a TV station on its in-house network that was not being used. At the same time, the casino's marketing department was embarking on an effort to "rebrand" its Wampum players card. The card is now being promoted as a rewards program rather than a club membership.

"The timing was good," Cantone said. "We set out five years ago to be more innovative with how we communicate to our employees. FNN was created. Since then we've learned a lot about our capabilities to use television. When we saw another opportunity to use it, this time on the consumer side, we were ready from a technology and knowledge perspective."

Cantone said his longtime friend Bill Cosby wanted to do more than just make a brief appearance on WIN-TV. Cosby insisted on producing a segment in the Stargazer Casino, a high-roller area on the 25th floor of the Grand Pequot Tower. Cosby worked "off the top of his head," Cantone said, overseeing a three-camera shoot involving 10-12 people called "Don't Touch the Cards." It will air in January.

WIN-TV is probably the first show of its kind for a casino, Cantone said. When Foxwoods first started airing FNN five years ago, a team from Canada's Casino Windsor visited for a week to learn how the show was produced.

"Word spread to Las Vegas, and the word we got was that one or two casinos out there were doing the same thing," he said.

First Season of 'American Casino' Showcases
Green Valley Ranch

Las Vegas--Executive Producer Craig Piligian, of "American Chopper" fame has chosen Green Valley Ranch Casino Resort and Spa in Henderson, Nevada as the showcase for "American Casino," his newest installment in the Discovery Channel's wildly popular "American" series. Production for the first season of "American Casino" which includes 13 episodes begins January on location at the resort.

The success of the Discovery Channel's family drama-reality show "American Chopper," was the catalyst for Piligian's idea to produce "American Casino."

"We wanted to create a show that takes viewers behind the scenes of a casino operation. American Casino is a look at the hard work, pressure, and day-to-day business decisions the owners and managers must make for their operation to be successful," said Piligian.

Piligian said that Green Valley Ranch Station was a natural fit when choosing a location for the show. Green Valley Ranch operators Frank Fertitta III and his brother Lorenzo Fertitta are at the top of the game in Las Vegas. The family-run operation was attractive to Piligian, and fit the "American" series philosophy perfectly.
"American Chopper, and now American Casino are real American success stories about people who are the best at what they do. The Fertitta brothers are the hottest hoteliers in town right now, " said Piligian.

Green Valley Ranch is a four-diamond resort destination located just minutes away but a world apart from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip offering the luxury amenities celebrities demand. President Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, George Clooney and Sir Anthony Hopkins have each frequented the resort.

"American Casino" will take a look at just what it takes to woo the famous and infamous off the strip to the seclusion and privacy of Green Valley Ranch, and will highlight the day-to-day operations that have helped make the resort so popular.

"This isn't a competition reality show, where everything is staged and carefully orchestrated, in a word, not 'real' at all. These are regular people who are living their lives and we're right there with them. We like to call it 'real-reality'," Piligian said.

Green Valley Ranch is becoming a favorite among television producers capitalizing on the intense interest viewers have in Las Vegas right now. CBS's "CSI-Crime Scene Investigation," NBC's "Las Vegas", Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" and TLC's "A Dating Story" and "A Wedding Story" are some of the productions that have used Green Valley Ranch as the backdrop of recent episodes.

"American Casino" is scheduled to begin airing on the Discovery Channel in June.

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