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Archive for March, 2006

March 31st, 2006

Will Barry Bonds be Suspended?

As a swirl of attention and speculation surrounds Barry Bonds, online gaming
giant has released a number of proposition wagers on the slugger
as he sets out to break Hank Aaron’s record for career home runs.

On Thursday, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced the
launch of a probe into alleged steroid use by Bonds and other MLB players.
Selig appointed former Senate majority leader and current Boston Red Sox
director George Mitchell to lead the investigation. Although Mitchell’s
final report will be made public, no timetable for the release has been set.
The investigation comes on the heels of the release of the book “Game of
Shadows”, which alleges steroid use by major leaguers.

“The steroid controversy has been raging for years,” says Calvin Ayre,
Founder and CEO of “With Barry Bonds under the microscope, the
integrity of the national pastime is at stake. Whenever a current affair of
such magnitude finds the spotlight, there will be intense debate.
allows people to place a value on their forecasted outcomes of the issues of
our time. What we do with our proposition wagers is add to the debate.”

Bonds, the San Francisco Giants’ star, enters the season with 708 homers,
trailing only Babe Ruth (714) and Aaron (755) on the career list. Bettors
looking to put their predictions to the test can bet on the following:
Will Barry Bonds be suspended at any time during the 2006 MLB regular season
for past or present steroid use?

Yes +170
No -250

How many home runs will Barry Bonds hit in the 2006 MLB regular season?

Over 30½ Home Runs -130
Under 30½ Home Runs -110

Will Barry Bonds break Hank Aaron’s all-time Home Run record in 2006?

Yes +315
No -530

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Post at 10:11 am UTC by Jerry

Vegas Visitors’ Spending Shows 15 Percent Rise

If the love of money is truly the root of all evil, go ahead and slide Las Vegas a few steps closer to hell.

Thanks to some lavish spending by last year’s out-of-town guests, there’s a helluva lot more money for locals to love.

The statistics on dollars spent are contained in the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s 2005 visitor profile, a nearly 90-page document chronicling everything from guests’ average trip length to whether they visited a local nightclub.

The report, released Wednesday, suggests that last year’s visitors didn’t hold back when patronizing area hotels, casinos, restaurants, shows and shopping centers.

Eighty-six percent of the city’s 38.6 million visitors said they gambled while in town. Their average casino budget was $626.50 per trip, up 15 percent.

Alan Feldman, an MGM Mirage senior vice president, was not surprised by the findings given the state’s recently released record gaming win of $11.6 billion, up 10.3 percent.

Feldman added the convention authority’s findings are particularly important because they indicate across-the-board spending increases.

“The community has focused on nongaming attractions for the better part of the last decade, and rightfully so,” Feldman said. “This just shows that that effort has brought (Las Vegas) a better gaming customer as well.”

Food and drink expenditures averaged $248.40 per trip, up 4 percent from the prior year and 19 percent from 2003.

Tom Bachner, general manager of The Capital Grille at Fashion Show, said restaurant and bar tabs were up in part because restaurants must pass on suppliers’ approximately 20 percent price increases for meat, dairy and produce.

In addition, Bachner said he thinks Las Vegas has attracted an older, more sophisticated traveler. That claim was supported by his restaurant’s wine sales increase of up to 18 percent.

“Las Vegas is really on people’s radar these days,” Bachner said. “I’ve seen a big number of upper-middle class people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who are coming here for the first time.”

Authority data show 21 percent of visitors were between 40 and 49, while 20 percent were between 50 and 59. Twenty-seven percent were at least 60 years old.

Overall, visitors’ average age decreased from 49 to 47.7 years thanks to a 4 percentage point gain among 30- to 39-year-olds. That group last year accounted for 20 percent of the citywide total.

Twenty-four percent of visitors reported household incomes between $60,000 to $79,999. Twenty-two percent earned more than $100,000 per year, well above that category’s prior 13 percent count.

Though too few cared what all the fuzz was about surrounding Wynn Las Vegas’ new Broadway transplant “Avenue Q”, last year’s visitors still spent $2 more on entertainment, averaging $49.43 per trip.

Shopping reported a nearly 10 percent boost to an average of $136.60 per trip.

Other notable findings included:

* Downtown Las Vegas took a huge hit last year. Only 46 percent of travelers said they visited the Fremont Street region, well below the prior year’s 57 percent.

Transferring those percentages into actual visitors indicates nearly 3.6 million fewer people went downtown from 2004 to 2005.

* Vacations were the top draw for 61 percent of all guests, while 12 percent cited meetings or conventions.

* Forty-seven percent of travelers arrived by plane, the same percentage as 2004.

* Travel agents continued to play a lesser role in people’s plan-making. Only 17 percent said they used such a service, down from 20 percent the prior year and 22 percent in 2003.

Many people have migrated to the Internet when planning a Las Vegas getaway: data showed 40 percent of guests went online before making a trip last year, up from 32 percent two years before.

Demographic data show last year’s local visitors were largely married (74 percent), white (83 percent) and employed (67 percent).

Forty-four percent were college graduates, 24 percent retirees. Southern California remained the city’s top guest supplier at 29 percent, up from 27 percent a year ago. Arizona held steady at 6 percent.

The percentage of foreign visitors slipped slightly to 12 percent, down 1 point from the prior year.

The U.S. Commerce Department won’t release year-end data on specific cities’ foreign visitation until this summer. But that data will likely show Las Vegas hosted more foreign travelers in 2005 than 2004 because the city’s foreign and domestic visitor counts each expanded last year.

The annual study was prepared by GLS Research, a San Francisco-based polling firm regularly hired by the authority. Its workers conducted approximately 300 in-person interviews each month last year, primarily inside or near Las Vegas hotel-casinos and motels.

Responses were confined to non-Clark County residents ages 21 and up. To ensure people experienced the city before reviewing it, only visitors who planned to leave the city within 24 hours could complete the questionnaire.

The margin of error for the 3,600 respondent sample is plus or minus 1.6 percent at the 95 percent level, which means if the survey were repeated exactly as it was originally conducted, responses would be within 1.6 percent of the original results 95 percent of the time.

Post at 10:11 am UTC by Jerry

Casino du Liban Board Approves Accounts

As reported by the INA Daily News: “The new board of directors of Casino du Liban approved Tuesday the accounts of the casino over the past seven years which showed an increase in gross revenues from $80 million in 1998 to $130 million in 2005. Announcing the figures at a news conference, casino chairman Elie Ghoraieb attributed the impressive results to a series of measures he adopted since being named president in 1999.

“He also talked about the heavy political pressure on him and his administration since he took office but emphasized that he had never bowed to pressure and intimidation.

“But Ghoraieb criticized the Finance Ministry for ‘unjustifiably slamming 30 percent in tax on the gross revenues of slot and poker machines although the contract clearly stipulates that the government collects LL1,000 a year from each slot machine.’

“The chairman, heaped praise on President Emile Lahoud for supporting his work and vehemently denied allegations that the casino was tucking away some of its revenues for nefarious purposes.

“?According to a 30 year contract with the casino, 30 percent of gross revenues go to the Finance Ministry. But the casino administration stressed that the 30 percent only applies to roulette tables, back jack and other table games.

“The Finance Ministry and the Central Bank control 48 percent of Intra Investment Company and the remainder is divided among Gulf and Lebanese shareholders?”

Post at 10:10 am UTC by Jerry

Fortune Lounge Launches New Promotion

Fortune Lounge has done it again. Just as you thought it couldn’t get better after the revolutionary Free Spins and Free Time promotions, Fortune Lounge has unleashed yet another innovative deal: “Free Play Worth $200”.

Resembling the 100 Free Spins mechanics, whereby players enjoy free spins up to 100 spins, players can now enjoy free play up to $200. Effectively, players will be given a competition account and credited with $200 worth of casino credits. From there, it’s up to the player to wager and win.

For the discerning player, this means more exclusive, non-stop action from Platinum Play, with over 155 games supplied by Microgaming. Once the player has wagered his $200 requirement, the amount above the initial balance will be transferred to the player as a comp. This means the player gets to pocket his or her wins ? a generous offer.

Post at 10:10 am UTC by Jerry

Abramoff, Kidan Sentenced to 70 Months

As reported by the Florida Sun Sentinel: “Disgraced super lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former business partner Adam Kidan were sentenced Wednesday to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $21.7 million in restitution to the bank they defrauded.

“But as expected, Miami federal court judge Paul Huck stayed the sentences for 90 days so Abramoff and Kidan can continue working with authorities in a potentially widespread bribery and influence peddling investigation on Capitol Hill. Huck has the discretion to lower their prison time once their cooperation is evaluated.

“?Kidan, 41, added that he’s accepted full responsibility for his role in the wire fraud scheme, an apparent shot at Abramoff, who recently filed a court motion that not only asked for leniency but also blamed Kidan for much of the bank fraud scheme to purchase the Dania Beach-based SunCruz Casinos gambling ships.

“?In addition to potential prison time, Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence D. LaVecchio said that the men owe $21,701,015.45 to Foothill Capital Corp., the financing firm in the $147.5 million sale of the Dania Beach-based SunCruz Casinos. It proved an ill-fated deal, ending with possible prison terms for Kidan and Abramoff, who raised more than $100,000 for President Bush’s re-election campaign. Six months after the sale, the floating casinos’ founder, South Florida entrepreneur Konstantinos ‘Gus’ Boulis, was murdered.

“The bank fraud case revolved around a stipulation in Foothill Capital’s $60 million loan that Abramoff and Kidan pay Boulis $23 million of their own money at the closing. But when they couldn’t come up with the down payment, Abramoff and Kidan came up with a plan to have Boulis sign promissory notes and then the three of them faked a wire transfer showing the $23 million had been paid?”

Post at 10:09 am UTC by Jerry

Politicians Oppose Arkansas Casino Proposal

As reported by the Arkansas News Bureau: “Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, said Wednesday they oppose a proposal to build an American Indian tribal casino on the downtown riverfront in Fort Smith.

“Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., said she was undecided on the idea.

“The effort by the United Keetoowah Band would hurt the state’s poor and flies against a 2000 referendum in which Arkansans voted against allowing casino gambling in the state, the lawmakers said.

“?The Tahlequah, Okla.-based tribe, one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, on Tuesday filed a trust application with the Oklahoma branch of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to develop the 10-acre site into a 250-room hotel and casino.

“In their application, tribal officials are setting out to show that the Arkansas land lies within the historic treaty boundaries of the Cherokee Nation.

“?If approved, the application would allow the tribe to use a provision in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that lets tribes operate gambling facilities on land held in trust.

“A bill that was approved by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Wednesday would limit the ability of tribes to open casinos off their reservations.

“But it would allow landless tribes like the Keetoowahs to establish casinos under certain circumstances where they could show they have historical ties to the property?”

Post at 10:09 am UTC by Jerry

March 30th, 2006

Rockaway Beach Moves Towards Casino

As reported by the Branson Daily News: “On Monday, the city of Rockaway Beach took a step toward building a ‘mixed-use facility that would include a casino,’ while preserving the resources the city already has on the lakefront.

“The Board of Aldermen approved a resolution to send letters to developers with the intent to entice them to build a facility that would include a casino in the city of just under 700 people.

“Mayor Tom Strom estimated that 86 percent of the city’s population still wanted to pursue the building of a riverboat casino. He also said he felt that developers would still be interested in coming to the area.

“In 2004, Rockaway Beach attempted to convince state voters to change the Missouri constitution to allow a riverboat casino on Lake Taneycomo in Rockaway Beach. Currently, the state only allows casinos along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers?”

Post at 8:01 am UTC by Jerry

Experts: Massachusetts Slots a Good Bet

As reported by the Lowell Sun: “If Massachusetts legislators legalize slot machines, experts say, it’s not a question of whether an Indian tribe will seek to open a casino. It’s a matter of when.

“A nod to Class III gaming, as slots are classified, is the first of several required steps outlined in the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which gives a federally recognized American Indian tribe the right to open a casino.

“And with one recognized tribe already in Massachusetts — and possibly more in the pipeline — approving slots is essentially a green light for casinos.

“?But with another slots vote scheduled in the House for April 5 — and with many gambling supporters claiming to have the majority this time — the possibility of an Indian tribe pursuing a casino could be more real than ever. Last October, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would grant licenses for up to 8,000 slot machines in the state.

“Rep. Charlie Murphy, D-Burlington, who opposes legalizing slots, said most lawmakers realize a vote in favor on April 5 opens the door to casinos?”

Post at 8:01 am UTC by Jerry

Object 9 Recognized for Casino Rouge Project

ReBrand 100, an international awards competition established to recognize the world’s 100 most effective rebranding campaigns, recently presented Object 9 with a Merit award for identity work the firm produced for Casino Rouge. Rebrand 100 acknowledges organizations and their branding partners that have successfully repositioned, revitalized and/or redesigned some or all of an existing brand’s characteristics in order to drive strategic objectives.

Entries are evaluated on a before-and-after basis and assessed on the resulting impact on strategic organizational goals and target markets. “We always go the extra mile to achieve that critical blend of design and business strategy essential to achieving market objectives,” said Jon Cato, Object 9 CEO and partner. Object 9’s creative team rejuvenated Casino Rouge’s corporate brand and graphic identity, including the design and execution of a new corporate Web site, direct mail, booth displays, merchandising booklets and promotion collateral. The full list of winners is located at

“Casino Rouge tapped Object 9 to help us overcome growing threats from larger, destination-style casinos. We needed an upscale presence that reflected a bigger and better casino that also incorporated our signature red color,” stated Mike Odom, strategic marketing director for Casino Rouge. “Redesign efforts contributed to an increase in awareness, market share and response to promotions. Additionally, we were successful in moving more players into our top tier database.”

Post at 8:00 am UTC by Jerry