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Best of Rudi Schiffer

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Heard it on the River: Flooding hurts Mississippi casinos

27 June 2011

The water and mud that flooded casino jurisdictions up and down the Mississippi River in April failed to wash away the buildings but did swallow up revenue leaving behind a 60 per cent drop for May compared with the number last year for Riverfront operations, according to the state department of revenue.

Some 17 casinos from Tunica down to Natchez started to shut their doors last April and during the closure period they collected only $41 million in May compared with $107.8 million a year ago and $101.8 in April this year.

It was a bad hit worsened by the bad economy and credit to the casinos that mustered their forces as soon as they had access to their buildings and re-opened a lot quicker than anticipated. But if our state’s casinos are anything, they are resilient and get things done in a hurry when revenue is on the line. Things are returning to normal as far as visitors are concerned but it may be some time before solid revenue increases can be expected.

One announcement recently affects two of the biggest players in the stat; BOYD GAMING has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire IP CASINO RESORT SPA in Biloxi from IMPERIAL PALACE, LLC of Mississippi and KEY LARGO, LLC for the tidy sum of $278 million in cash. Boyd Gaming, owner of SAM’S TOWN CASINO in Tunica, has indicated it will additionally invest about $44 million in certain capital improvement projects at IP which overlooks the scenic Back Bay.

And Boyd said it will continue to be aggressive in acquisitions according to KEITH SMITH, president and chief executive officer…”this is another important step toward achieving our strategic goal of significantly strengthening our balance sheet. We will continue to look for additional acquisitions that are complementary to our current operations, deliver a solid return to our shareholder and are precede appropriately.”

IP has made considerable progress since it brought aboard two Tunica casino executives, JOHN LUCAS and BRADLEY RHINES. They rejuvenated the operation in 2005 and built up its value making it an attractive buyout. Boyd is owner and operator of 16 gaming entertainment properties in six states.

Last summer the GEYSER FALLS water theme park at PEARL RIVER RESORT closed for repairs and updates disappointing a lot of young folks who were set for a summer of fun as this pearl of an attraction on the Choctaw reservation just northeast of Jackson, MS. But the park is back in watery business and retains it claim as the best water park in the southeast. Dad can play golf on the Augusta-like courses at DANCING RABBIT GOLF CLUB and mom and the kids can lounge in a cabana or on the white sandy beaches under the palms or tryout a lazy river and 12 different water slides. Makes for a great family destination trip this summer. www.pearlriverresort.com.

“Trust everyone but in the end cut the cards.”

GAMING LEGEND BENNY BINION
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