Issue 263
September 26 - October 2, 2005
Volume 5
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News


Poker popularity may spark legislative debate in Iowa

GULFPORT | Harrison County wants casinos ashore

eFlyte Offers Inflight Gambling to Airlines

Las Vegas Sands Corp. Announces Plans to 'Usher in New Era of Entertainment' in Singapore

Show Time B.B. King appears at the Stardust.

Column Got an Edge? These Experts Think They Do By John Brokopp.

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As reported by the Associated Press

Walking through the under-construction South Coast, Mike Gaughan Jr. surveyed the massive $600 million facility on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard on Monday and reflected on the past 17 months of construction.

The property's opening is at least four months away and more than 2,000 construction workers are toiling to meet a deadline.

Southern Nevada's abnormally wet winter set back the construction timeline a bit, said Gaughan, South Coast's vice president and general manager.

On the bare concrete floor that will eventually become the South Coast's 80,000-square-foot casino, spray painted outlines depict the planned location of the main gaming pit, blackjack tables and the bulk of an expected 2,400 slot machines. By week's end, carpet will cover up much of the markings.

Interior design workers still have months to complete restaurants, gaming areas, 150,000 square feet of convention space and other amenities. In the 25-story hotel tower, rooms to the 10th floor have furniture while interior finishing work, such as wallpapering and painting, is proceeding upward.

Meanwhile, the South Coast's signature attraction, a 4,500 equestrian and event center, won't have its roof until sometime in November.

Still, Gaughan said the South Coast will be ready to throw out the welcome mat soon after Jan. 1 to a casino-lacking customer base that stretches throughout communities on the southern end of the Las Vegas Valley, including Anthem, Southern Highlands and Silverado Ranch.

"The project is pretty much at a point we thought it would be at this time," said Gaughan during an hour-long media tour of the South Coast. "What's amazing is that you could be gone for a day or two, and you notice that much has changed in a very short time."

He said customers of other Coast properties, such as the Suncoast, The Orleans and Gold Coast, will find many similarities.

The casino layout at the South Coast somewhat mirrors the Suncoast, only the footprint is much larger.

"We're telling everyone it's like the Suncoast," Gaughan said. "But it's the Suncoast on steroids."

One noticeable change is the location of the casino's 16-screen movie theater, which was moved to the second floor of the South Coast, adjacent to a 64-lane bowling center and a child-care center.

"We wanted to offer customers a little bit of a safe haven (away from gaming)," Gaughan said.

Gaughan, whose father, Jackie Gaughan, founded Coast Casinos, which became a division of Boyd Gaming Corp. last year, said the company has learned much about building casino-hotels since first constructing the Gold Coast on West Flamingo Road in 1986.

The South Coast will open with 600 rooms. A second 700-room tower, under construction, is expected to open by May.

A third tower is also planned, which would give the property in excess of 2,000 rooms.

The South Coast site is 60 acres and the property will have 6,000 parking spaces.

"We will have a strong draw from the tourist market because of our location, but we expect to market heavily to the local casino customer," Gaughan said. "We have a very strong built-in customer base right around us."

The South Coast is also expected to draw customers from several nearby timeshares and nongaming properties.

The biggest tourist draw will be from the equestrian center, Gaughan said. The first event is planned in February and 13 equestrian competitions have been booked.

Tim Lanier, general manager of the equestrian center, said many of events have complementing trade shows that will use the South Coast's meeting space and large followings that will fill the hotel's guest rooms.

Lanier said the equestrian center can be used for other sporting events and large meetings.

Poker popularity may spark legislative debate in Iowa
As reported by the Associated Press

‘‘I think this is an area that is unclear,’’ said Sen. Michael Connolly, D-Dubuque. ‘‘I think it would help for people to know what’s allowable.’’

At issue is a game called Texas Hold ’Em, a game played in Las Vegas for enormous sums of money. Texas Hold ’Em tournaments are often broadcast on television. While a proposed measure might deal with how much money can be won or lost in a poker game, it also could open up debate to the entire subject of gambling.

Joe Diaz, a Division of Criminal Investigation agent who deals with gambling issues, told a legislative oversight committee the game is increasingly popular, both as a fundraiser and as a social event.

‘‘It’s being played everywhere,’’ Diaz said.

Jean Davis, of the Department of Inspections and Appeals, said gambling restrictions are contained in a series of places in state law, and the issue has become more complicated as the state has plunged more deeply into the gambling business.

Beginning in the 1980s, the state authorized parimutuel betting. It then approved a lottery and casinos around the state.

‘‘We don’t have a long history of gambling, but we have a lot of forms of gambling,’’ Davis told the Government Oversight Committee, a joint House-Senate panel.

Rep. Scott Raecker, R-Urbandale, said the rapid expansion of gambling in the state has led to laws that are confusing and often contradictory.

Davis said that in general, card games are limited to winning or losing $50 within a 24-hour period, but Raecker said he’s been told of poker games where hundred of dollars are won and lost.

‘‘There is such ambiguity as to what the laws are,’’ Raecker said.

He asked Davis and Diaz to draft legislation that would clear up any confusion, acknowledging that that will likely be a complex task for the next election-year Legislature.

Sen. Mary Lundby, R-Marion, said the time may be right for the debate because many lawmakers are finding themselves hooked on the profits the state collects from gambling and are unable to resist proposals to expand the industry.

‘‘I’m starting to see an addiction from legislators because of the money,’’ Lundby said.

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