Issue 172
Dec. 29, 2003 - Jan. 4, 2004
Volume 3
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News
World's Tallest Observation Wheel to Be Located at the Rio

Full house, fat profits at South Korea's only casino

Park Place to sell Las Vegas Hilton to Colony Capital

Seminoles up the ante with Hard Rock casino complex

Illusionist returns to Vegas for rehabilitation


Show Time
Bette Midler brings in the New Year at the Mohegan Sun.

You Gotta Know When to Hold'em and When to Fold'em By Fred Renzey

Check out our entertainment highlights & upcoming tournaments

See the lucky winners


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World's Tallest Observation Wheel
to Be Located at the Rio

LAS VEGAS-- The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas recently agreed to move forward with negotiations with Voyager Entertainment International, Inc., to build "The World's Tallest Observation Wheel." The 600-foot structure (150 feet taller than the Masquerade Tower), which will feature 30 "Orbitor" cabins and a 20,000 square foot nightclub, will be positioned on the Southeast side of the Rio parking lot, visible from the Las Vegas Strip and Interstate 15.

This larger-than-life spectacle, similar to the world-famous London Eye, is anticipated to pique the interest of tourists and locals alike.

"The observation wheel has enormous potential to boost tourism in Las Vegas," said Tom Jenkin, President of Harrah's Western Division. "Because the wheel will be situated off-Strip, there will be an unparalleled panoramic view of the city in a private, luxurious environment ... this will be a one-of-a- kind experience."

Each luxury cabin will accommodate at least 20 passengers; and each Orbitor will contain its own restrooms and fully-stocked bar and galley. One full wheel rotation lasts approximately 27 minutes, and the hours of operation are slated to be 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The wheel may occupy 22,200 daily passengers at maximum capacity.

The opportunities for an attraction of this size and versatility are limitless. Cabins may be booked for a variety of celebrations and activities, including wedding parties, office retreats, corporate meetings and individual sight-seeing.

An on-board navigator, part entertainer and part steward, will deliver personalized service to every passenger, enhancing the overall ride experience. The average ticket price will be $18 a person.

A site integration plan is currently under development, and the project plans to break ground during the first quarter, 2004, with an estimated opening date of July, 2005.

Full house, fat profits at South Korea's only casino
As reported by The Off-Beat - AFP

SABUK, South Korea--The only casino where South Koreans can legally gamble stands on a hillside above a slag heap in the Taebaek mountains, a region known for its natural beauty and grinding poverty.

Twenty years ago miners from valley towns like Sabuk 300 kilometers (180 miles) east of Seoul dug the coal that fueled South Korea's rapid industrial growth.

Pit closures came with a slump in demand in the 1990s and the population of Taebaek City, the region's hub, shrank from 120,000 to 54,000.

"The miners were protesting in the streets. The government decided to give them a chance," said Moon Chan-Ho, head of staff training at the Kangwon Land Casino where more than 4,000 players spend 1.7 million dollars a day.
Kangwon Land won a monopoly to open the casino and installed 30 tables and 480 slot machines in 2000.

"It was an explosion when it opened," said one roulette player, who remembers the lines of cars snaking up the mountain pass and how it was quicker to hike up to the casino than drive.

Bursting at the seams it was replaced by a new casino with 100 tables and 960 slots, the second largest in Asia, that opened in March this year inside a 500 room five-star hotel.

Profits are fat for the publicly listed company that is 51 percent government-owned with foreign investors holding 23 percent.

The casino culture is new to Koreans, who like to bet on horse and bicycle racing and have their own traditional card games.

"Basically, Koreans don't get it," said Moon, who has written three books on casino gambling, including a "how-to" guide for gamblers.

"They believe in luck. But they haven't realised that the casino never loses."

Kangwon Land is planning rapid expansion and a promotion effort to attract more high rollers and foreign gamblers. An 18-hole golf course will open in 2004 and a ski resort the following year.

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