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Best of Rudi Schiffer

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Heard it on the River

1 May 2003

PARK PLACE ENTERTAINMENT is making a major move into the world of "ticket-in, ticket-out" technology and has rolled out the system in nearly 3,100 of the 3,211 state-of-the-art slot machines at PARIS LAS VEGAS and BALLY'S LAS VEGAS, the first major Strip properties to fully adopt it. By the end of the year, Park Place expects to extend the program to CAESARS PALACE and FLAMINGO LAS VEGAS. In the future, you can also look for this hot technology to be put in place at PPE's Mississippi properties, as well.

For the uninformed, TITO, my abbreviation for ticket-in, ticket-out, pays out cumulative winnings with bar-coded tickets that customers can exchange for cash, or insert into other TITO machines for additional slot play. If a customer chooses, TITO slots also will accept coins. Says PPE CEO WALLY BARR ... "Park Place is taking the lead across the gaming industry in delivering new technology that is great for customers and great for our casino resorts."

In another slot-related development, PPE will offer a new progressive game with "PARK PLACE MILLIONS" slots, according to ALLIANCE GAMING CORP., which announced it has entered into an agreement with PPE to develop the area-wide slot game. It is anticipated that Park Place Millions will be available in December. The games will be offered in 17 PPE casinos with separate links for Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi.

DAVE LYONS, one of the company's senior slot executives, said, "... the ability to offer an exclusive, multi-regional progressive game gives us a competitive advantage in our major markets, and it gives slot customers yet another benefit of playing at our properties." The progressive is scheduled to be operational by the end of the year and will be ticketing-enabled and feature a million-dollar top award, paid instantly, not as part of an annuity.

I don't know where KAZAKHSTAN is and don't really care, but they do a heck of a job raising gold medal boxers. This country is known for producing very competitive fighters and ranked second in gold medals at the 2000 Olympics in Australia. Our local promoter, the ebullient BRIAN YOUNG, has teamed up with USA BOXING to bring a top international competition to SAM'S TOWN on May
17. Both teams are preparing for the 2004 Olympics in ATHENS and will showcase many of their best boys. This is great boxing and non-stop slugging, not like the oft- time sluggish pro pugilists. It will be a great night of sports entertainment so plan on being there. With the terrific talent in the ring, this deserves a sold-out house.

Due to bad weather earlier this year, construction at the new airport was delayed and the opening of the first 5,500 feet should now take place around mid- June with the opening of the Air Center in July. Our third area championship golf course, TUNICA NATIONAL, will tee it up on Labor Day and the fabulous RIVERPARK, adjacent to FITZGERALDS, will open in August. At the same time, the TUNICA QUEEN, will paddle out from its dock with up to 400 passengers, according to FRANK RINELLA, the new marketing director for the vessel.

The QUEEN is now being retrofitted into a three-deck, air conditioned ship in CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., and will float down the Tennessee River to the Mississippi to Port Tunica sometime this summer. A great attraction and amenity for Tunica will be the ship's dinner cruises for up to 250 guests. I predict the RiverPark and the Tunica Queen will make significant contributions to attracting more visitors to the county, more than people now think.

By the way, while you are waiting for Tunica National to open, don't overlook our two great courses that are open ... COTTONWOODS GOLF CLUB at GRAND CASINO and RIVER BEND LINKS, a short golf cart ride from HOLLYWOOD, HARRAH'S and SAM'S TOWN.

The TUNICA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU informs us that a leading travel publication, TRAVEL WEEKLY, has named Tunica "The South's Casino Capital," as one of "10 up and coming destinations." Hooray! The writer went on to say that Tunica Towne "is well on its way to becoming one of the nation's premier destinations." I hope so and so do all the casino operators who deserve better days ahead.

By the way, the CVB and its casino members are in the midst of the media blitz of the ST. LOUIS market to attract more gamers to our fair county. Over a million bucks in hard cash and added value will be expended to let those folks know they are wasting their time gambling up north when the best comps, best games and best hotels and restaurants are just down the road a piece. What with the war and SARS and other such crisis situations, the timing couldn't be better for this marketing effort.

We've got it good here when it comes to ticket pricing for featured name acts. Consider this: MGM- Mirage and Cirque du Soleil say that the July 31 opening of ZUMANITY there will have a top ticket price of $190. Zumanity is Cirque's erotically- charged New York-New York show. Now, I like erotics as much as the next person, but to pay 190 smackers to just sit motionless in a theater seat for it ... I don't know.

HORSESHOE has a new Winners Circle Players Club card, but don't throw away your old, beat-up black card if you are partial to it as I am for historical reasons ... you can still use it for the same benefits.

Whilst competing in BALLY'S Ultimate Blackjack tournament recently, I wandered by a craps table and saw that you could use 25-cent chips to play. Craps was my first casino love until it beat me to death as long rolls were hard to come by, but now, with only two-bits on the line, I could satisfy my craps fantasies. I played with wild abandon, got on the hardways, even dropped a couple of quarters on the field and other crazy crapper bets, and while it was fun, the result was the same. Back to blackjack tables for this writer. Bally's also offers 50- cent roulette and 43 blackjack games.

If you plan to attend the SOUTHERN GAMING SUMMIT May 7-8 at the Gulf Coast Convention Center, you will get to hear legendary New Orleans jazz great PETE FOUNTAIN at the terrific Gulf Coast Casinos dinner when all the local house chefs put on the dog with a great selection of regional delicacies at dramatically-themed serving stations. Check it out at www.sgsummit.com. See you there.

It's been awhile since a new casino has joined the Mississippi family, 1999 to be exact when BEAU RIVAGE came on line in Biloxi, but the AP reports that the Gaming Commission has approved site development for the $58 million ROCK- N-ROLL casino in Biloxi. It is projected to have 25,000 square feet of gambling space with 800 slots and 22 table games, a 200-room hotel and a 25-slip marina. They hope to open in late 2004.

FROM THE QUOTABLE GAMBLER ... Lyons Press "There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about it. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the game is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal and sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a 'flush.'It is enough to make one ashamed of the species."

- MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)

LAISSEZ LE BON TEMPS ROULER

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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