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Heard it on the River

18 September 2003

The story that we have been following for some weeks now got hot when I was away goofing off trout fishing on the L'll Red River and it was not Ameristar, or MGM but HARRAH'S who grabbed the brass ring that is HORSESHOE. By now you know the details of the sale for $1.45 billion so no need to go over old ground as it has been covered in the media in much detail, not to mention break room banter. Suffice to say that the landscape at Tunica Resorts is shifting but maybe not as much as some people might worry about. Harrah's, which also announced it would sell its Shreveport property, said it "expects no other property sales related to the Horseshoe transaction." And according to a quote in the COMMERCIAL APPEAL story of Sept. 12, Harrah's spokesman DAVID STROW, said…"No, we do not plan to make any cuts at this time in the employment base at Tunica…we will need those employees to ensure that Horseshoe Tunica is as successful for us as it was for (owner) Jack Binion." And the famous name will remain the same. Harrah's, which is a powerhouse in its own right, has dramatically strengthened its position in three major markets and expects the sale to close in the 2004 first quarter. And a final word from GARY LOVEMAN, president and CEO…"Coupled with our longer-term expansion projects in both the United States and United Kingdom, the Horseshoe acquisition positions us for a decade of growth." Oops, almost forget this little item. The acquisition is NOT subject to financing. There will be another change in Jan. 2004 also. By an overwhelming margin, shareholders of PARK PLACE ENTERTAINMENT have approved management's recommendation to change the name of the company to CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT. WALLY BARR, president and CEO, called it "an historic day for our company and our shareholders." I guess it is and it certainly got overwhelming support from the shareholders as more than 90 percent of the nearly 250 million votes cast approved the change. Now that our SENATOR TRENT LOTT has officially opened the new TUNICA AIRPORT, just what can we expect from this facility in the way of increased traffic to the casinos? Not being a swami, ala Johnny Carson, we took our crystal ball to WEBSTER FRANKLIN, our soothsayer and clairvoyant at the Tunica Resorts Convention & Visitors Bureau, to see what he might conjure up. Thus he spoke: "Senator Lott, who I might add was instrumental in obtaining millions for the airport when he was House Majority Leader, is now Chairman of the House Aviation Committee. What more can I say." Hmmm, what was he saying? Dare I read between the lines of the tealeaves and come to my own conclusions. Could it mean commercial airlines flying into the airport in 2004 when the runway is expanded to 7,000 feet or when it is extended to 8,500 feet later, does it mean that hundreds, maybe thousands of junkets and private jets, will use the facility in the near future, will it become a full service airport being only four miles from the I-69 NAFTA highway route, is it a good sign that Enterprise auto rental has a booth in the new terminal, would our honorable senator use his influence and clout on the committee to help guide the worthy to our hangers…who knows, only the Swami does and he would not reveal his inner secrets to this unworthy scribe. Stay tuned! There's been some concern with the recent drop in the river gauge to low levels, which has hindered commercial navigation on the Mississippi River, that our TUNICA NAVY won't be able to cast off from its dock at RiverPark on Sept. 19 as planned. Belay such thoughts; Capt. Lumpp of the Tunica Queen assures us. The good Captain, who is also a principal owner of the vessel and a longtime riverboat skipper, said the recent fluctuations in river levels will not pose a problem and the Queen will not be cruising in areas that have shallows. He said that the Queen has only a 4.5-foot draft and cruises will go forth as scheduled. If you want to be on board for this historical voyage, call 800-805-3535 Is that new building going up behind PAUL BATTLE ARENA one that will be solely devoted to boxing and training for such? Good move if so and it will come in handy when the US Olympic team holds trials here next Feb. Our Fighting Pit Boss, Big RAY LUNDSFORD from Horseshoe Casino, suffered a cut that halted his recent bout at Sam's Town and his record is now 16-3. Ray says he'll get a rematch and a victory next time around. HOLLYWOOD, which has introduced a lot of new games in recent months, continues that push with "Hollywood's Progressive 21." It's regular blackjack with a progressive jackpot that starts at $1,000 with no side best required. Just hit three 7's suited in diamonds. The new FOUR CARD POKER game is now in at three casinos and I would look for more to put this game in. You can find it at SAM'S TOWN, SHERATON and GRAND. HARRAH'S popular promotion, which gives away a new house or $75,000, will hold its final drawing on Oct. 25. Harrah's has also hooked up with NASCAR driver LARRY FOYT for its Meals On Wheels program and will hold a press conference with #14 on Sept. 25 to donate a $37,000 Dodge Dakota delivery truck to the North Delta Planning & Development district to use in the program. It's the 17th vehicle that Harrah's Entertainment has donated nationwide. The state's casino population will increase by one in 2005 as the Biloxi City Council has approved plans for the new HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO. It will be the Gulf Coast's 13th casino and will sit on 6.5 acres next to BEAU RIVAGE. If you are a serious blackjack player, this is the last call to enter BALLY'S ULTIMATE BLACKJACK TOURNAMENT this weekend (Sept. 19-21). The first place prize money of $50,000 makes it well worth it. You can still sign up by calling 1-800-38BALLY, EXT. 1511. And don't forget GOLDSTRIKE's $100,000 BJ tournament Nov. 7-9. Call 1-888-24K-PLAY. This is a first for this market, a gathering of gamblers, learners and teachers…THE GAMBLERS JAMBOREE, Nov. 15-16 at GOLD STRIKE CASINO. Gaming expert and author, FRANK SCOBLETE, who is staging this event tells us that over a 100 players have already signed up, most of them from out of town, which is good for business here. The cost is $199 and you can call 1-866-SET-DICE or 800-944-0406 for more info or to enter. FROM THE QUOTABLE GAMBLER…The Lyons Press "A losing gambler is an albatross to everyone around him. He doesn't get those warm glowing smiles from his family. In a crap game he leaves the dice so damp with defeat that the stick man pushes them clinically to one side as though they were infected." JACK RICHARDSON (Xmas in Las Vegas (1962) Laissez le bon temps rouler.
Heard it on the River is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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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