Casino Watch - March 2004

3 March 2004
World Poker Tour Kicks Off with Record Event

The L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, Calif., got underway this week as the first event for the 2004 World Poker Tour, and indications are the second season could be bigger than the first.

Records were set for the highest number of entries, prize money and first place payout ever on the WPT.

Three hundred eighty-two players signed up for this week's event, which concludes on Wednesday with the filming of the final table for broadcast as part of the WPT series on The Travel Channel.

WPT Signs New Licensee

The WPT has inked a deal with Brandgenuity, LLC, an independent boutique trademark-licensing agency, to launch a strategic WPT brand-licensing program.

The WPT represents an exciting new opportunity for Brandgenuity, whose clients include Snapple, This Old House, Outdoor Life, Sports Illustrated, Orajel and Meow Mix.

The WPT series is the highest-rated series in the Travel Channel's history.

Scottish casino plans growing

Developers have submitted plans for a fourth casino at the Beach Boulevard in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The proposed casino would be built next to Cafe Continental, if planners approve it later in the year.

Roulette, blackjack and slot machines look set to become the mainstay of the beach economy, with this, the latest in a string of plans that could see the area become the northeast equivalent of the Vegas Strip.

Planning permission has already been granted for casinos at Miami Beach and neighboring Cordona's Amusement Park.

The former Amadeus nightclub is also the subject of an application to be filed later this year.

If all comes to fruition, Aberdeen would house eight casinos throughout the city. As well as the four on the beach, the International Casino, Queens Road, and Gala Casino, Summer Street, have been established for years, while planning permission has already been granted for casinos on Shiprow and at Langstane Kirk, Union Street.

US Officials Warn Seminole Tribe in Florida

The U.S. government has warned the Seminole Tribe of Florida that it will shut down its casinos unless the tribe stops using illegal gaming devices and ceases a free-wheeling spending program that pumped millions into luxury cars and gifts for council members' cronies.

National Indian Gaming Commission chairman Philip N. Hogen issued the dire warning earlier this month in a private meeting with the Seminole Tribe's elected council members in Washington, D.C. Hogen is scheduled to resume talks about compliance with the Seminole governing body this week at tribal headquarters in Hollywood, Fla.

Facing the loss of its economic lifeblood (casinos bring in more than $300 million a year), the council appears eager to do what Hogen requires.

"Whatever we have to do, we will do," tribal council member Max Osceola said last week. "We want to be in compliance. We don't want to do anything to harm the economic development of the Seminole Tribe."

AFL Teams Profit from Poker Machines

Poker machine revenue was a key factor in determining the profitability of many Victorian AFL clubs last season, financial documents and officials revealed on Thursday.

Victorian teams are also increasingly looking to gaming revenue to ensure their long-term financial viability, with several clubs in the market to buy new gaming operations, officials said.

Barely 10 years since poker machines were introduced to the state, all of Victoria's 10 clubs now own or have a stake in a gaming venue, with many having multiple investments.

"We are looking for additional revenue streams. AFL revenue does not cover the cost of football any more," Hawthorn's general manager for finance and administration, John Nugent, said recently.