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Heard it on the River: Here comes spring

10 March 2009

By Rudi Schiffer

It soon will be Springtime when nature begins the renewal of the life cycle and hope springs eternal in gamblers bosoms. On my random ramblings through casinos and from talks with various executives, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel and I don't mean an express train.

This is an informal poll but those I talked with said they were doing just fine and were stable. And where I recently visited, the tables and slots were busy. One sign of renewed activity on the promotional front is the number of tournaments, free or otherwise, that have sprung up like crocuses as the first sign of life. But those little flowers better beware as frosts can still snuff out their blooms, just as more and deeper recession can keep casinos gasping for air.

Personally, I am an optimist even tho financial woes have fallen close to home. I still play, perhaps not as bold as I once did when my coffers were fuller, but I am no stranger to blackjack tables and slots. In fact, some recent slot free play turned into a small bonanza for me. As my friend, Milton the Mooch, likes to say..."No chips, no chance."

It's time to get out of your caves and dust off the last vestiges of cabin fever with an entertaining session at your favorite glitter palace. Times are so gloomy I find a session or two revitalizing. I might find a losing session here and there but winning would have little of its exhilaration without an intimate acquaintance with losing. You can't be like James Bond and win all the time for the highs of gambling for us mere mortals are paid for by the lows.

"Give me those dice, bro."

Farewell to a friend, MARK SALLINGS. Mark and his weirdly named band, THE FAMOUS UNKOWNS, are well known in casino venues throughout the south but in his heydey he opened with WILLIE NELSON on the Farm Aid tour.

Mark recently left us when he tragically died driving to a gig at the Horseshoe. He was only 56 years old but had a down home wisdom a lot older. Widely considered one of the best Delta-style-blues harp players, he was also a talented saxophone and piano player. He was a familiar presences on the Arkansas blues scene and we spent many an hour in his large barn in Wynne s moking some good cigars, sipping a bit of bourbon and branch and talking about cars. He restored my 1973 El Camino and when I told him just before his death that I might have to sell it, he was against it. "There are some things in life that should not be sold," he said. "Like a good dog and a good 'ol car. They are part of you"

I'm not selling it, Mark. He will missed by many, including his wife Sandy and all the boys who spent a lot of time in the old cedar barn.


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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