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Best of Rudi Schiffer

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Are we at war or at peace, that is the question?

6 March 2003

We are certainly warring against terrorists and hostilities appear imminent with Iraq even tho it seems like a Mexican standoff with SADDAM as I write this column.

But what if the current administration decides that those 200,000 or so troops in the Persian Gulf area have to have something more to do than  fighting sand fleas in the desert and launch the much expected attack on Iraq. Will Tunica's customers hunker down in front of their TV sets or hunker down over a craps or 21 table or their favorite slot machine? That is the burning question that faces our nine Northern Mississippi casinos and it has serious ramifications for the industry not only here but nationwide.

In Las Vegas the industry is actively engaged in marketing plans to put into effect if war breaks out and have developed strategies to keep the slots humming there. It would appear that Vegas, essentially a fly-in destination, would suffer greatly from a war and that Tunica and Mississippi's other casinos would take a hit but not as great since our gamers arrive here mostly by motor vehicles.

A variety of strategies might unfold here such as room rate cuts, marketing offers and more as events unfold.  The horrible experience gained from Sept. 11 will help but our geographical location will be Tunica's main advantage in any slump. How our casinos and Convention & Visitors Bureau leverages that advantage remains to be seen but we should be more prepared for such an emergency from past experience.

A more immediate enemy is the weak, unpredictable economy and Tunica is surviving that threat. A solid and fine-tuned database will be a strong weapon in the coming fight.

As one casino exec told me...."You have got to stay optimistic as nobody can predict what will happen or what the downside might be. Just be prepared for whatever comes."

While legislators squabble over how a lottery might be enacted in Tennessee the problem of making it successful will face a longer term challenge. The ARIZONA REPUBLIC recently reported that "...one-fourth  of lottery players in that state decreased their level of play the last fiscal year, largely because they were discouraged by not winning." You may not win in a casino either but the expectation rate is a heck of a lot more positive than a lottery.

GOLD STRIKE is putting itself in position for better times with more aggressive marketing moves. With a major renovation just completed, the new food court is now open for business with not only a new look but new names in place such as GOLD'S DELI, PIZZERIA FRESH and BURGER CITY.  There is more seating as more guests are expected with some new promotions for gamblers such as the new NASCAR SportGame contests with weekly cash rewards. With NASCAR so popular this contest has legs. At the same time, new marketing ventures include a 10 FLAT SLOT TOURNAMENT with $40,000 in cash to be awarded  in the  weekly slot tournament that runs through the April 24-25 championship.  Video poker players also get their game with a weekly tournament that runs through April 30 with over $50,000 in cash at stake. More info is available at 1-800.24K.PLAY.

Need a job, looking for travel and challenging adventures? Then the MISS. GAMING COMMISSION may have an  opening for you in helping to regulate the state's $3 billion casino industry. Apparently the agency has a shortage of agents as reported by the Associated Press.

He was an Army officer during the Korean War and a special agent in the FBI who, at age 29, became the youngest bureau supervisor at national headquarters in Washington, D.C. He later practiced international law in New York City and then ran the presidential campaign for Richard Nixon. Is he coming to Tunica to consult on wartime marketing plans? Who is he?

G. GORDON LIDDY, that's who and whose role in WATERGATE resulted in him serving five years in prison. A much sought-after speaker, his radio show is syndicated in over 260 markets and you can share his vision and version of life in these United States on March 29 at 8 pm at GRAND CASINO. Call 1-800-946-44946, ext. 3060.

FITZGERALDS may be looking at an additional 200 rooms for its hotel in Tunica but right now with the geopolitical fog clouding the national landscape, nothing is set in concrete. What is firm is that the GOODTIMES RADIO SHOW will be done live in the casino  starting at 9:30 a.m.on Saturday March 15 as part of FITZ's ST. PATRICK'S DAY weekend where $50,000 will be given away. The nation's top gaming author and gaming expert, FRANK SCOBLETE, will be in the house live on the show from 11 a.m. to noon so stop by and say hello and you might even wind up as part of the show. Yes, we will  have green hats and beads and there is a rumor of green beverages as well.

SAM SCHIARA is the new top chef for MURANO'S at Grand Casino and GOLDSTRIKE'S  culinary team has a new look with the appointments of LUCIO ARANCIBIA as food and beverage director and JAMES CHAPMAN as executive chef. There's a breath of fresh air at HORSESHOE which recently installed a custom designed indoor air quality improvement system that cost of a cool $2.2 million and will eliminate smoke and odors. Hooray!

HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT has again achieved high ranking near the top of  FORTUNE'S annual list of most admired hotel/casino operating companies.Other companies with local connections to make the list included MANDALAY RESORT GROUP and PARK PLACE ENTERTAINMENT.

The greatest  controlled dice players in the country will converge on SAM'S TOWN March 14-16. It's all part of FRANK SCOBLETE'S SHARPSHOOTER CRAPS FESTIVAL and he and the GOLDEN TOUCH dice crew will holding seminars and hands-on advice for craps players. As  we went to press, it looked like the event was filled but you might stop by anway and check it out early Friday morning the 14th.

We are pleased to report that this column is now published every other week on the new CasinoCityTimes.com website where gaming enthusiasts can find the latest in game news and advice on the most popular casino games from over 40 top experts in the country. I am no expert on anything but it's nice to be included as a sort of a bizzare attraction to balance the  professionalism of writers like FRANK SCOBLETE, HENRY TAMBURIN, JOHN ROBISON and others. Casino City Times is part of the Casino City Network, which includes CasinoCity.com, CasinoCityTimes.com, CasinoFind.com, RGTonline.com and AudioVegas.com, which in total average over half a million visits on the internet per month. The GOODTIMES RADIO SHOW, now features live audio streaming on the internet through a new hookup with Audiovegas. You can hear the show live on the internet by accessing goodtimesradio.com,  and clicking on "LISTEN TO US" which hooks up with audiovegas which also archives the show if you can't tune in  locally on Saturdays  from 9:30 to noon on WMC790 AM.

From The Quotable Gambler...
"Never mix cards and whisky unless you were weaned on Irish poteen."
Margaret Mitchell, "Gone With The Wind" (19360

LAISSEZ LE BON TEMPS ROULER.
Rudi Schiffer

Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, 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 audiovegas.com. 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.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com
Rudi Schiffer
Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, 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 audiovegas.com. 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.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com