Issue 272
November 28 - December 2, 2005
Volume 5
page 2

Three casinos set dates for reopening on Mississippi Gulf Coast
As reported by USA Today

BILOXI, Mississippi - Three of Mississippi's battered Gulf Coast casinos are expected to reopen by the end of the year.

The Imperial Palace, the Isle of Capri and the Palace Casino have all announced reopening dates in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The powerful storm, which struck Aug. 29, damaged or destroyed most of the 12 coast casinos and a 13th that was about to open.

The Imperial Palace reopens on Dec. 20. The reopening will be followed by the Isle of Capri's on Dec. 26 and the Palace Casino's on Dec. 30.

The Isle of Capri is putting its casino inside its new hotel tower, while the Palace's initial operation will be smaller than it was before Hurricane Katrina.

Owen Nitz, a member of the family trust that owns the Imperial Palace, recently told the Mississippi Gaming Commission the casino and hotel amenities will be completely revamped.

"It's going to be a mindblower," Nitz said.

The Imperial Palace Casino will increase its slot machines from 1,400 to 1,900, its table games from 36 to 52 and will add a 16-table poker room. It will also have a new 470-seat buffet, steak and seafood restaurant, and 1,088 renovated guest rooms.

The Isle of Capri will have 960 slot machines and 27 table games. It will also add a poker room. Within 30 days of the casino's reopening, the Isle will also unveil its new 8,000-square-foot spa.

"We're very bullish on Biloxi," Bill Kilduff, the Isle's general manager told the Biloxi City Council this week.

He said plans are underway for "a great new facility of the magnitude the Isle of Capri has not seen before."

Keith Crosby, the general manger of the Palace Casino, said he had thought about bringing in a temporary riverboat, but Robert Low, the casino's owner, told him to start making plans to renovate and expand.

The number of slot machines at the Palace Casino will initially decrease from 1,170 to 820. The 14 table games will be significantly less than the 36 that were in the gambling barge. The number of employees will be about 400 instead of the 975 who worked the Palace before Katrina.




Virgin launches a casino poker website

As reported by

LONDON, United Kingdom - Virgin Poker, now part of the Boss Media poker network, has been launched in London. The site was initially soft launched in July 2004 but this latest launch sees almost every aspect of the website redesigned to provide additional features and a depth of content suitable for the current marketplace.

Virgin Games plans to start aggressively marketing the site early in 2006, including some tournament opportunities such as "The Big Three", where the winner walks away with entry into the three biggest land-based poker tournaments on the planet. It will also focus on customer support and retention schemes. In the first six months of operation, Virgin Poker will be launching a market-leading loyalty program and a platform that nurtures the online poker community.

Virgin Poker will use the resources of sister companies throughout the Virgin Group to add new value to our players" experience… we will be able to offer a loyalty scheme similar to that found at the Virgin Casino that allows players to earn Virgin Atlantic points whenever they play,” says CEO of Virgin Games, Simon Burridge.

Furthermore, the site will try to entice would-be players to their new service by tapping into the more entertaining aspects of poker than just the purely monetary allure of the game. Burridge adds, “Our message is clear; it’s not just about winning money, it’s about creating a fun, social environment where poker can be enjoyed".

Group aims to block sale of terminal to Senecas
As reported by The Buffalo News

BUFFALO, New York - A preservation group is threatening to block the sale of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad terminal to the Seneca Nation of Indians for conversion to a casino.

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo says it will seek a temporary restraining order blocking transfer of the property from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to the Senecas.

"We are opposed to the use of the terminal as a gambling casino," the group's executive director, Tim Tielman, said in a letter to acting NFTA Chairman Mary S. Martino. "The DL&W is an important historic landmark and is a part of the historic cultural landscape of the old canal district presently being reconstructed."

The Seneca Nation has named the former railroad facility at the foot of Main Street, now used by the NFTA to house and maintain its Metro Rail fleet, as its preferred casino site. The Senecas are in talks with the NFTA to acquire the building and develop a 100,000-square-foot gambling venue on the structure's second floor. The NFTA would continue to use the ground floor for its light rail operations.

Use of any portion of the building as a casino requires a full assessment of its environmental impact on the Cobblestone District and the historic Erie Canal terminus neighborhood, the Campaign for Greater Buffalo said.

If the property is sold to the Senecas, it would become sovereign land and would not be subject to state and federal preservation guidelines.

NFTA Executive Director Lawrence M. Meckler said the preservation group is premature in attempting to block a sale, as no deal has been concluded.

"At this point, nothing has been finalized. We continue to have discussions," Meckler said.

He also said the authority has given thought to how a combination casino/rail building would fit into the neighborhood.

Built in 1917, the rail building was originally part of a complex that included a public ticket hall. The structures were briefly granted city landmark status, but they were taken off the list due to their deterioration.

The NFTA bought the property from the city in October 1979 for $190,000, razing the dilapidated ticket hall and converting the remaining building for Metro Rail use.

"At this point, nothing has been finalized. We continue to have discussions," Meckler said.

Kelly Clarkson

Aladdin Resort & Casino: American Idol superstar, Kelly Clarkson, will be singing at the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts on Saturday, December 10. Since her 2002 win on "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar," Ms. Clarkson has gone from unknown talent to global sensation, performing before millions of fans worldwide.

Date: December 10, 2005

Time: 8:00 pm

Ticket Price: $48.50, $38.50, and $28.50

For more information: 1-800-333-9474

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