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Rudi Schiffer: Heard it on the river

10 June 2014

By Rudi Schiffer
(PRESS RELEASE) -- Harrah's passing June 2 is not the first time a Tunica casino has closed its doors but it is the most significant shutdown in 22 years. Who outside of Caesars Entertainment executive offices could have foreseen this event with its calamitous effects on the area through loss of jobs, tax revenue and tourism.

We should have seen this coming as the signs were out there for some time. There was a steady decline in visitors coupled with more intense marketing by the competition. It didn’t help that Caesars is in long term debt about $21 billion. Paula Dean left her mark and a bad taste on the operation as well. The corporation still has a strong footprint left with Horseshoe doing just fine as always and with Roadhouse across the street. Looking into the future is Roadhouse on the sales block?

In the meantime there has been a shortage of proposals on what to do with the 2,200 acre property with all its great amenities. Hate to see tumbleweeds blowing across the fairways of the magnificent $27 million Cottonwoods.. Some hope there is buyer out there but at this point it would have to be an adventurous one willing to rehab the operation with three hotels and a very large gaming floor all the while hoping to regain market share.

But the jurisdiction will do just fine, thank you. More players in the pool and one less competitor.

In a tale of two casinos by comparison, late- comer Southland Park, which became a casino in 2007, has propelled itself in the opposite direction. It’s been reported its visitation total last year was 3.6 million after a start of 300,000. Over those years some $101 million on capital investment has been spent on improving the casino and its greyhound racing operation and that investment will reach $148 million when the current 41,000 square foot expansion is completed around the end of the year. Southland’s advertising has been very aggressive and is geared to the area’s population as casino competition in other states has bled off gamblers who play closer to home.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO FITZ as it celebrates the occasion of its 20th anniversary this month culminating with a fireworks spectacular on Friday July 4. On Saturday June 21 you can join the party with a $20,000 cash drawing, comp birthday cake, comp champagne toast and live entertainment. On Fridays and Saturdays the BIG BIRTHDAY promo cash drawings offer $160,000 from 6 to10 pm. To celebrate Father’s Day on June 14 the casino will stage a $22,000 slot tournament with free entry with 100 points. Pay offs go 75 places deep. In case you’ve been out of town, Fitz is not being sold and remains the same with the same good people running the store.


Laizzez les bon temps roulez.

Heard it on the River is published courtesy of Jackpot Magazine, the South's leading gaming newspaper.


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The whispers on Harrah's were wrong

28 March 2014
For several months now rumors have been floating around Tunica on a possible sale of the FITZ CASINO and the sale of HARRAH’S. The rumor on Fitz turned out to be real when FULL HOUSE acquired it. But two days later, the whispers on Harrah’s were wrong…the CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT’S huge property is shutting down June 2. ... (read more)

On the table at Southland

26 January 2014
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Rudi Schiffer
Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

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