Issue 241
April 25 - May 1, 2005
Volume 5
page 2

Poker room puts casino back in game
As reported by The Press-Enterprise

SAN JACINTO, California - The Soboba Casino operated a poker room in the mid-1990s. It reopened about four years ago, only to close a year and a half later.

"The popularity wasn't there yet," said Al "A.C." Chapman, the poker room manager.
It is now.

On May 2, the Soboba Casino near San Jacinto will hold a grand opening celebration for its 15-table poker room with six plasma televisions and poker-themed wall mural.

"It's time for it," said Bob Frear, director of casino operations. "The community's ready. Certainly there are enough players to justify it."

Since the Soboba Casino last closed its poker room, the popularity of the sport has exploded, thanks to increased coverage by cable channels such as ESPN, Bravo and Fox Sports.

Top players have become celebrities. Casinos across the nation are holding tournaments with thousands of dollars in prizes. The popularity also is evident at casinos operated by Inland American Indian tribes. Many of the casinos -- including the Lake Elsinore Hotel & Casino, Pechanga Resort & Casino near Temecula and Casino Morongo near Cabazon -- operate poker rooms.

In December, Casino Morongo opened an approximately 2,000-square-foot poker room with 14 tables. Four months later, eight tables were added and the operation moved to a 5,500-square-foot room, said Jim Pedulla, assistant general manager of the casino.

"We had people waiting in line for hours," Pedulla said by phone. "We don't make money when they're standing and waiting. We decided we had to go bigger."

The Soboba Casino started planning the poker room, housed in a former banquet room, about three months ago. The addition of the poker room coincides with the renovation, new ownership and renaming of the casino's restaurant. The Soboba Steakhouse will become Manhattan's At Soboba.

The non-smoking poker room will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fontana resident Jim Arbizo, who sometimes plays poker with his nephew at his home, said it is great that Soboba is adding a poker room.

"It's the game right now," Arbizo said, sitting Thursday at the casino's snack bar.
His wife, sitting next to him, agreed.

"I think they'll do good," Barbara Arbizo said. "It's hot right now."

The Soboba poker room will be staffed by 40 dealers. Twelve variations of poker games will be offered. There also will be tournaments Monday through Friday at 10 a.m., and Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

The casino will host a ladies poker tournament May 8, Mother's Day. From May 23 to 29, the casino will host the Soboba Classic. During the week, the casino will hold daily tournaments with guaranteed prizes of $15,000 on May 23 and May 26 and an estimated $100,000 in prizes on May 28.
Chapman estimated the prize pool for the week of the Soboba Classic at more than $200,000. He said the casino plans to make the Soboba Classic an annual event.

The Soboba Steakhouse is scheduled to be renovated and officially open in about a month, said Elena Lisle, marketing analyst for the Soboba Casino.

Because the new poker room will be housed in the former banquet room, banquets will now be hosted at Manhattan's At Soboba, Lisle said. The restaurant will be closed to the public during banquets, she said.




Miami casino expanding
As reported by The Joplin Globe

MIAMI, Oklahoma- AIt didn't take long for Buffalo Run Casino's gamble to start paying off.

John Froman, chief of the Peoria Tribe, said the casino has outgrown its space and will initiate a 20,000-square-foot expansion that will cost $2 million.

"It's a good problem to have," Froman said.

He said a conservative estimate is that the expansion will add about 50 to 100 jobs.

The expansion will allow the casino to add about 500 to 600 more slot machines and some administrative space.

Mike Spurgeon, Miami's city manager, said the casino has been beneficial to the community in a number of ways. He said adding "good-paying" jobs would be a big benefit to the community as a whole. He did not elaborate on the wages.

"Those folks working there are going to have more money to spend in the community," Spurgeon said.

Since opening in October, the casino reportedly has grown from 200 employees to about 380, making it one of Miami's largest employers.

The tribe has started getting the construction documents together and hopes to start construction within two or three weeks, Froman said. He said he hopes the work is complete by Aug. 1.

The casino has added 18 blackjack tables. Poker games, such as Texas Hold'em and Three Card Poker, also will be added at Buffalo Run.

Orange County welcomes casino bid
As reported by The Indianapolis Star

FRENCH LICK, Indiana - Orange County residents hoping a casino will turn around the area's struggling economy said they hit the jackpot today when two Indiana companies announced plans to use gambling revenue to renovate the county's two historic resort hotels.

"We feel like these guys are our angels," said Irma Dilllard, 79, of West Baden. "This is what we've been waiting for."

Dillard was among about 200 people gathered at French Lick Springs Resort & Spa to hear details of the project proposed by Indianapolis development and construction firm, Lauth Group Inc., and CFC Inc., and affiliate of Bloomington-based medical device maker Cook Group Inc.

Cook Group founder William Cook has already invested $37 million in preserving the West Baden Springs Hotel.

Cook CEO Steve Ferguson said the partnership came together over the last two or three weeks and officials plan to submit an application for the Orange County casino license by the deadline on Wednesday.

The project is unique from other Orange County casino proposals, Ferguson said, because the Cook group's share of gambling revenue would go to a charitable trust. The trust would purchase and renovate both the West Baden Springs Hotel and French Lick Springs Resort & Spa.

Ferguson said his company got involved after watching negotiations last summer that resulted in the casino license being awarded to Donald Trump's Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts Inc.

Trump's bankruptcy prompted state officials to cut off negotiations last month and reopen the application process.
"We saw that this wasn't going to work out with the competing interests, with different people owning the hotels and the casino, Ferguson said. "Our determination was that this would not work without all three components being tied together."

Moving in that direction, Cook will finalize purchase of the French Lick Springs Resort & Spa for $25 million on Wednesday. Plans are still being finalized, but it appears the casino will be built adjacent to French Lick Springs, Ferguson said.

Ferguson said his company is not interested in being involved in the gambling end of the project, but saw this as the only viable option to boost the local economy.

State officials could issue the casino license as early as June. Ferguson said it is not clear what his company would do with the two hotels if the partnership does not receive the casino license.

He said his group is negotiating with three separate companies to operate the casino.

Wayne Newton


Emerald Queen Cascades Casino and Resort: "Mr. Las Vegas," also known as Wayne Newton, is bring a little bit of the entertainment capital of the world to Tacoma, Washington in May.

Date: Sunday , May 15

Time: 5:00pm

Ticket Prices: $35, $52.50, $70

For more information please call:1- 888-831-7655
Tell us what you think about our newsletter.
Copyright � 2000-2005 Casino City. All rights reserved
Casino City is a trademark of Please read our Disclaimer of Warranty