Issue 173
January 5 - 11, 2004
Volume 4
page 2

Casino gambling worth a closer look
As reported by The Atlanta Business Chronicle

As this year's legislative session draws near, lawmakers should know that casino gambling downtown would be good business -- in the strictest sense of the word. Setting aside for the moment the morality debate, the bottom line is that casino gambling would bring a bona fide boost to downtown, and by extension the state as a whole.

Legislators would be wise to back Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts' push for a referendum to legalize casino gambling in Fulton.

Pitts says that casino gambling could generate more than $200 million a year in tax revenue while adding 4,000 jobs in metro Atlanta. Such windfalls are tough to ignore, even as the economy is expanding again.

Pitts says the first casino could be at Underground Atlanta, which certainly could use help, particularly as the nearby World of Coke museum gets ready to move to near Centennial Olympic Park.

With two full gaming casinos in Georgia, Pitts says, the state could receive more than $300 million in up front licensing fees, which could help the city of Atlanta pay for $3 billion in sewer improvements.

Fees or tax revenues also could help shore up elementary and secondary schools. Or perhaps casino money could go to "rainy day" funds so that state and local governments can sidestep hardships when the economy slows again in the future.
The casinos also could provide well-paying off-duty jobs for the area's underpaid police officers and help raise employment in general by bringing to town more conventioneers and other visitors who will fill local hotels and restaurants.

With these kinds of possible benefits, it is difficult to reject Pitts' proposal without consideration.

There are legitimate downsides of course -- like the possible spreading of crime or gambling addictions -- but lawmakers could prepare for such risks if they decide to put the measure to the people.




2,500 job seekers line up to work for expanded casino facility
As reported by The Associated Press

Tampa -- More than 25-hundred people have turned out to look for a job at the new hotel and expanded casino run by the Seminole tribe.

This left the tribe turning people away from the day-long job fair yesterday.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is scheduled to open in March. It will double the space of the current casino to 90-thousand square feet, and add a 250-room Hard Rock hotel.

The facility plans to hire 950 new employees at the job fair scheduled to continue through next month, and bring on another 800 workers in the next few months.

Yesterday, the first job seeker arrived two hours before the hiring fair began at nine a-m, and there were 500 applicants in line by eight-30 a-m.

The Seminole tribe opened a casino east of Tampa in 1982 and debuted an expansion in June.

Gaming stocks a sure bet in 2003
As reported by The Las Vegas Gaming Wire

The past 12 months have been a banner year for gaming stocks, with the average value of casino shares up almost 40 percent -- more than double the broader market indices. "The surprise of 2003 was how much the consumer was willing to put up and still want to travel especially when it came to gaming," said Goldman Sachs analyst Steve Kent. "We saw consumers still travelling to Las Vegas in the first half despite the Iraqi war and the fear of terrorism. And in the second half, we saw a resurgence in convention business (that drove demand in Las Vegas skyward)."

Driven by high holiday demand and expected fourth-quarter earnings, Applied Analysis' monthly weighted average of eight local stocks closed December at 215.71, up 5.4 percent from 204.75 in November and 37.2 percent from 156.9 in December a year earlier. That is almost double the increase in a similarly weighted average of the Standard and Poor's 500 Index, which increased 19.8 percent to 1077.6 in 2003 from 899.2 a year earlier.

"During most of December, indicators suggested a strong holiday season with the better weekday timing than last year for the Christmas and New Year's holidays," said Brian Gordon, spokesman for Applied Analysis, a Las Vegas-based financial consulting firm. "Month-end concerns over terrorism threats and speculation of acts of violence publicized on a national level seem to have had only a small impact on visitation for the big New Year's celebration," he said.

Mamma Mia!
Bette Midler

MGM Grand Hotel: Bette Midler, one of the world's best-loved and most versatile entertainers, performs at the MGM Grand Hotel.


Date: February 14, 2004

Price: From $78.75

Time: 8:00pm


For more information please call: (800) 929-1111

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