Issue 184
March 22 - 28, 2004
Volume 4
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News
Grand Casino ads highlight winners' spending

Sammy Hagar to Open Cabo Wabo Cantina in Harveys Resort Casino at Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Allegan County casino moves one step closer to reality

How to position Singapore's casino

TV company's big gamble pays off


Show Time
Paul Anka, one of the most successful songwriters in history, performs at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

Jest for Fun By Larry Mak

Check out our entertainment highlights & upcoming tournaments

See the lucky winners


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Grand Casino ads highlight winners' spending
As reported by The Star Tribune

The gaming industry likes to focus its advertising on the inside of the casino, on the dazzle and excitement that hits gamblers when they walk through the door.

In a new campaign, Grand Casino looks at the other side of the door, featuring stories about what casino-goers have done with their winnings.

Grand Casino is the second-largest of the 11 tribal gaming operations in Minnesota. Owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa, Grand Casino draws more than 5 million customers yearly to its operations in Mille Lacs and Hinckley. It employs nearly 3,000 people and operates about 6,000 slot machines.

The tribes don't reveal their revenues, but estimates are that tribal gaming brings in at least $1 billion a year statewide.

Grand Casino's ads kicked off this month on billboards, in print and on radio and TV throughout the state. They feature the stories of people such as Tom Neumann of Coon Rapids, who took his $400 winnings and bought a Shih Tzu puppy that he named Hinckley.

Todd Strusz, vice president of marketing for Grand Casino, said the approach differs from the standard ads for casinos around the country.

"The focus has always been on what games they have and the opportunity to win," he said. "They always really zeroed in on the huge jackpots."

Strusz said he has more than 150 stories under consideration for future ads, and not all of them are happy.
The ads are done by Red Circle Advertising, a Plymouth shop whose president, Chad Germann, is a member of the Mille Lacs Band.

Germann gave credit for the idea to Dave McMillan, advertising director for the Mille Lacs casino. McMillan had heard about Hinckley the Shih Tzu and pushed to use the idea in a campaign.

"Every year when it came time to do the TV advertising, Dave would bring this scrap of paper out of his wallet and say, 'Why don't we do this one?' " Germann said. "And we said, 'Yeah, yeah, but we gotta show restaurants and slot machines.'

"This year we took Dave's idea and put it on the wall with all the other ideas, and we realized that his idea was the best," Germann said. We put it in front of focus groups, and we had people sitting in there telling their [casino] stories all night long."

"For the sake of making sure the people look pretty and they deliver their lines on time, we're using actors," Germann said. "It's easier that way.

"We might use a real person at some point. But you get a crew of 40 people standing around, you're eating up a lot of money. It takes a professional to really hit the lines right."

Sammy Hagar to Open Cabo Wabo Cantina in Harveys Resort Casino at Lake Tahoe, Nevada

LAKE TAHOE, Nev. -- Rock vocalist/guitarist Sammy Hagar will open the first U.S. based Cabo Wabo Cantina on Friday, April 30, 2004 inside Harveys Resort Casino at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Nicknamed "Taho Wabo," the Cabo Wabo Cantina and retail store will be located in Harveys Resort Casino, while three, grand opening weekend performances starring Sammy Hagar will take place across the street at Harrah's Lake Tahoe's legendary South Shore Room. On April 30, May 1 and 2, the famed Harrah's showroom will be transformed into the "Cabo Wabo Nightclub."

Hagar will officially open the doors of the Cabo Wabo Cantina at 11 AM, Friday, April 30. The Cabo Wabo Cantina will be open for lunch, dinner and a late-night club scene seven days a week. The Cantina will serve the finest in Mexican specialties and a diverse offering of wines, beer and spirits, including one of the largest selections of premium tequilas and new and innovative tequila-based cocktails exclusive to Cabo Wabo.

Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas will perform on Friday, April 30th and Saturday, May 1st, while Sunday, May 2nd will feature "Sammy Hagar and Friends."

With Sammy working closely with Don Marrandino, Senior Vice President of Harrah's Northern Nevada, the Tahoe-based Cabo Wabo Cantina went from casual conversations to reality.

"Having my first Cantina open in the States is a dream come true," states Hagar. "The creation of Cabo Wabo has brought me happiness, success and many rewards over the years. Bringing the Cabo Wabo to Tahoe is something Don and I both plan on making this town rock with."

"Harveys and Harrah's are creating a home for Cabo Wabo and Sammy, his thousands of fans around the world and the thousands more that will come to learn the Cabo Wabo way of life," said Marrandino. "Cabo Wabo is a key component of our continuing strategy to create more excitement, more attractions and a broader appeal to Tahoe. We are looking forward to a long and successful journey with Sammy."

The first annual "Cinco de Cabo(TM)" celebration will take place in conjunction with the opening of the Cabo Wabo Cantina. The south shore of Lake Tahoe will participate in a town-wide street fair with a cross-section of food, live music and more on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2.

The "Miss Taho Wabo" contest will take place on Saturday, May 1. Winners will become on-stage "waitresses" for that evening's show, a fan-favorite and a featured part of Hagar's concerts.

Heavenly Ski Resort will be celebrating the event by keeping the ski slopes open through May 2, offering discounts for all who mention "Cabo Wabo." For additional information on room reservations and more, go to

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