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Heard it on the river

2 June 2008

If casino visitations are down in Tunica County you would never know it at HARRAH'S which just finished its $45 million remodeling that centered not on more games but on the reputation of a grand ma cook.

The company has spent some 18 months remodeling its property and changing the name from Grand Casino to Harrah's Tunica, a move that went very smoothly by the way, and gave the 140,000 square feet of gaming space a very new look but the ingredients that the public was looking for came from the hands and fertile mind of the QUEEN of SOUTHERN CUISINE, PAULA DEEN.

BILL WRIGHT, GM for Harrah's, Horseshoe and Sheraton, said the huge changeover came at a good time as the new look and the reputation of Deen's home cooking in the totally new buffet would be a great attraction during the current slow down in the economy. "The partnership with Paula Deen was central to this upgrade," said Wright. "Her national impact and exposure through television and her books is very high and we believe it will attract a lot of gamers because of it. Harrah's is now in a great position to grow not only this property but to benefit our sister casinos here as well."

Some of the new things you will find at Harrah's include a new steakhouse where LB's once stood, '37. That's not a typo, the number is the name and it represents the year BILL HARRAH opened his first gambling joint in RENO. There is also the sleek new SPHERE lounge, the poker room which opened earlier, a whole new décor and the repositioning of the high limit areas into one room near the bar. (The complete Harrah's story in featured on page 1).

While Harrah's has upped the ante there are apparently others who think gambling here is a good bet. An application for site approval by a new group has been made with the MISSISSIPPI GAMING COMMISSION and it will be located in Robinsonville on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, if approved and the funds in place. OMF, LLC, of SCOTTSDALE, AZ, is the applicant and is represented by WARREN OUSLEY and JAMES FOTENET on the application. This will be no dinky little river boat as they plan 150,000 square feet of gaming, the biggest space in the county, 80 table games and 2,000 slot machines.

While the Arizona group is a new player, another one that has been making noise here for some time, MYRIAD ENTERTAINMENT, apparently is continuing its pursuit of a $2.5 billion casino complex even though it has lost over a half million bucks this year on top of the $15.8 dropped since the push began. It still needs a big loan and the land, a deal that never has closed. The timing would appear to be dicey for both projects but who knows what the economy and gas prices will be next year. There is no doubt the Tunica gaming jurisdiction needs a spark, Harrah's realized that nearly two years ago, and maybe, just maybe, the two projected developments will light that fire.

She is a real pro in the tough profession and that's why Harrah's made her a vice president and that's why she just won the JEFF PISSELLI MEDIA AWARD that was announced recently by the Tunica CVB and Chamber of Commerce. You can find all the winners of this annual feel-good fest elsewhere in JACKPOT but the lady I'm talking about is VALERIE MORRIS who heads up the biggest public relations department in the area for Harrah's Entertainment. It is a very good operation, a reflection of the skill and personality she has brought to the table, and the recognition was well deserved.

The CVB also introduced its new 2008 VISITOR'S GUIDE and this slick brochure brings all the county attractions together. If everybody reading this would get a copy and send it out of state to a friend or relative and invite them to visit, the impact would be tremendous as it is a great sales piece. It's called "Take Me Away to Tunica…Tunica Take Me Away." Call 1-888-4Tunica.

Still time to sign up for the $75,000 blackjack tournament at THE FITZ. Registration is Friday, June 6 and play begins the next day. It takes a $300 buy-in and you also get two room nights, a party and some comp buffets. First place pays 40 percent of the total. You do the math. Call 800-766-5825, ext 8450 and there may be some seats to fill.

If you play at SAM'S TOWN and plan to travel this summer, turn in your current players card and get the new "B CONNECTED" card so your hard earned comp points travel with you to be redeemed at any Boyd property in the country except the Borgata in AC.

Try out the new restaurant at SOUTHLAND PARK, the BOURBON STREET STEAKHOUSE & GRILL. Great place to dine after the running of the TRIPLE CROWN Belmont this Saturday (June 7). BIG BROWN wins in a walk away and locks up the Triple Crown running on a bad hoof.

LAISSEZ LE BON TEMPS ROULEZ

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Best of Rudi Schiffer
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