Casino Watch - August 2003

29 July 2003
Man U in Talks with MGM Mirage

At the same time, one of the world's most famous football clubs was busy on a friendly tour of the United States officials with Manchester United confirmed they are in talks with MGM Mirage to build a specialty casino in Manchester pending an overhaul of gambling laws in England.

The new guidelines for the gambling industry are expected to become law within two years and would create a casino atmosphere similar to Las Vegas and Atlantic City instead of the restrictive guidelines that now exist in England.

Neither side confirmed the discussion, but MGM is aggressive looking for partners in the United Kingdom.

Isle of Capri, which owns riverboat casinos in the Midwest and South, entered a similar agreement with Coventry City soccer club though which Capri will build its first U.K. casino in Coventry, together with a new stadium for the club.

The club owns land surrounding its Old Trafford stadium on which a casino could be build.

The club estimates that it has 4 million fans in the United States, and during its tour it will play matches in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.

No Lack of 'Exposure' for Golden Palace

The outside-the-box marketing ploys used by continued in July with a series of streakers being used to promote the online casino.

In May the site used its first streaker, England's Mark Roberts, who burst onto the pitch before the second half of a EUFA Cup match. The stunt got international attention and the "in the buff" campaign was carried through in July with Roberts making an appearance at World Swimming Championships in Barcelona. It was his fifth appearance promoting the Golden Palace URL.

Roberts was joined in his streaking exploits for Golden Palace in July by 28-yr-old London resident Laura Gosling.

Gosling ran onto the green during the presentation of the championship trophy for the British Open Championship.

In Spain, Roberts did more than streak; he jumped out of the crowd in a pink tutu, red bathing cap, while displaying a tattoo of the casino's Internet address. He proceeded to do a little ballet dance before jumping into the pool during the synchronized swimming final of the championships.

Since the inaugural streak, Golden Palace has commissioned Roberts to streak at events ranging from the PGA Tour's U.S. Open, England's prestigious Royal Ascot, and the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.

Prima Poker Sends Players to World Poker Tour Grand Prix

The meteoric rise of online poker was evident earlier this month in Europe when officials with Prima Poker, a leading online poker network, sent two of its satellite tournament winners to the World Poker Tour's famous Grand Prix de Paris.

ShipDa Cheeze and HandSoLow qualified for the event and were given a 10,000 Euro buy-in at the Grand Prix de Paris at the exclusive Aviation Club in Paris, round-trip flights, accommodations and 500 Euros spending money.

The event featured 96 of Europe's top players. with the field trimmed down to 63 after the first day. Both of Prima's players were eliminated on the second day of the event.

VirtGame Installs Sports Betting software at Nevada Properties

VirtGame Corp. a provider of open-architecture gaming software for the lottery and casino industry, completed installation of its sports wagering system in four Nevada properties earlier this month.

Three of these casinos -- Terrible's Hotel Casino, Terrible's Town Casino and Terrible's Lakeside Casino -- are owned and operated by Herbst Gaming. Casino MonteLago located adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel that recently opened at Lake Las Vegas Resort was the other property to get the new software.

"We are pleased that the three Herbst gaming casinos and Casino MonteLago are up and running using our Windows-based, open-source-architecture sports wagering software with easy-to-use full functionality for risk management," said VirtGame's President and CFO, Bruce Merati. "The systems we have installed in these casinos have the capability to be marketed across various digital platforms such as Intranets and kiosks as well as the potential to be integrated with our other suite of gaming products such as casino games."

Casino Uses Auto Racing to Boost Crowds

Casino Omaha, owned and operated by the Omaha Tribe on their land northwest of Onawa in western Iowa, is finding the addition of a 5/16-mile dirt track has boosted attendance at the casino.

The Blackbird Bend Motorsports Speedway opened in July 2002 is complete with grandstands and pit areas and was built on pastureland owned by the tribe that a herd of buffalo once grazed.

Races have drawn an average of 900 to 1,000 fans a night, said Brad Appleton, the speedway's general manager. On some nights, the grandstands, which hold up to about 3,000 people, have been filled to capacity, he said.

"In the hours before the weekly races begin, many drivers and fans go through the casino's buffet line and play the slot machines or table games," Cummings said. "After the races finish, some return to the casino."

Bird on Board in French Lick

Throughout his playing days, basketball legend Larry Bird was affectionately known as the White Hick from French Lick.

Now the state's most famous athlete is hoping to help bring riverboat casinos to his economically depressed hometown.

In a statement released through his agent, Bird said he is assessing how he can play a part in a riverboat project, particularly in ways that might benefit French Lick.

Orange County voters are expected to decide in November whether to authorize a casino, the state's 11th, to boost the southern Indiana county's economy. By Sept. 19, interested casino companies and investors are required to file applications with the Indiana Gaming Commission and pay a $50,000 application fee.

"This could really be a positive," said Rep. Jerry Denbo, D-French Lick, the casino's biggest legislative backer.

Snooker Champ Shocks Poker World with Win

Former World Snooker Champion Steve Davis, who has been lampooned for years for being straight-laced, stunned the world of poker by defeating some of its best professionals in his first ever appearance as a poker professional in the Poker Million.

In his first appearance in a professional tournament Davis faced five leading professionals from world of poker - Mike 'The Man' Magee, Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott, Roy 'The Boy' Brindley, Dave 'The Connector' Cleary and Bruno Fitoussi.

Magee alone has won over 200 tournaments in his poker career, Bruno Fitoussi is a former world "heads up" champion, and Dave Devilfish Ulliott is a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner.

In winning the heat, Davis immediately won $20,000 and qualified for the $150,000 final of the Poker Million.