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Jack Binion Legacy Home at Horseshoe

23 August 2005

When Harrah's acquired the Horseshoe brand it also took on the legacy of its famed owner, Jack Binion. There was much speculation among players and employees on how the largest casino company in the world would handle this transition. Not to worry, Harrah's is committed to preserving not only the Binion tradition, but to enhancing it in a way Jack likes… making it better for the gambler.

That serious responsibility falls in a large part on the broad shoulders of young George P. Corchis, Jr., Binion trained, Binion admirer and now the Senior Vice President and General Manager of not only the Horseshoe, but also its neighbor, Sheraton Casino.

Although Corchis is only 36, his experience proves that he has been preparing for this role for some time. He is a veteran Horseshoe executive who joined the organization when Binion extended his very successful operation from Fremont Street in downtown Vegas to other states. He is the only Horseshoe executive who has held key positions at all three Horseshoe properties.

Corchis began his career as an accounts payable clerk in Jean, NV where he worked at the Prima Donna and Whiskey Pete's in the early 90s. He worked for Mirage Resort & Casino as the Hotel Accounting Manager. His career with Horseshoe began in 1994 when he took on the job of Financial Controller at Horseshoe Bossier City. By 1998 he was the Director of Finance at that same property. He also worked as controller for the Tunica casino from 1998-1999 and was promoted from there to corporate controller for Horseshoe Gaming in mid-1999. Moving up the ladder quickly, he was appointed as Vice President of Finance and Administration for Horseshoe Bossier City later that same year and by 2001 had been promoted to Vice President and Assistant GM for Horseshoe in Hammond, IN. His last position before returning to Tunica was Interim VP and GM of Horseshoe Bossier City. His eleven years of experience with the Horseshoe under Binion prepared him well for the challenges he now faces in the competitive Tunica market.

A tireless man on the move who says he is always "on," Corchis exudes enthusiasm which spreads contagiously. Reluctant to talk about himself, he would rather promote his 'Shoe employees and is not bashful about his love for his family. "My values came from my parents and core to that was the commitment to family comes first. I consider myself the most fortunate guy in the business, blessed not only with this wonderful career and its challenges, but with a family who are my very essence," he said. George and his wife, Amy, have four children…Jordin, 11, Nathan 9, Alyssa, 7 and Lily, 4.

One of the most interesting challenges that Corchis faced was guiding the transition from a private, family-owned operation to the huge corporate world of Harrah's Entertainment, while keeping the heart and soul of the Binion name and reputation intact. "It was a major learning experience for me and our great leadership team. There were bumps in the road, but we are happy with where we are now and where we are going," he said. "If Jack had an exit strategy it would be to grow the organization in the future and preserve its image and I can say with absolute faith that Harrah's is totally committed to that position."

While Corchis may be the guardian at the gates for the Horseshoe, he has to also make a commitment to the Sheraton next door and he is not shorting that operation one iota - recognizing the value and impact of two pro-active and aggressive operations in one location.

"We couldn't partner with a better operation. The Sheraton complements us and we fit in nicely with them," he said. 'Down the road you'll see something special happen there and with the solid synergy between the two properties and the staffs, the combination will be an awesome factor in this market and a continuance of what Binion started."

Corchis, who graduated from the University of Windsor in Ontario with honors in Business and Commerce, said the ultimate winner would be the customer and the 3,200 employees who now face a future of great opportunity.

The leadership team has embarked on re-energizing both properties and Harrah's is backing it up with capital expenditures such as the $13.5 million recently used to improve facilities and another $18 million in the pipeline to enhance VIP experience. "We are committed to the gambler and making it right for them and Harrah's backs this position totally," said Corchis. In addition to a new poker room, the remodeled Binion's Steakhouse and Bluesville, another improvement will be the addition of a high limit gaming room and Diamond Lounge to enhance the Horseshoe experience for guests that enjoy higher denomination games.

While reluctant to talk about himself, one colleague portrayed Corchis as a "great listener and people person who directs a "guided democracy" and can condone mistakes as something to be fixed and to move forward from."

Corchis feels confident that the leadership team now in place, one that is sensitive to the needs of employees and who listens to them, will take the two casinos to a higher level. "We can't make this journey without the support of all our employees and they are very important and integral to the mission," Corchis said.

To that end, Corchis and his leadership team give a lot of their time to meeting and listening to employees. "We have a chain of command, but also an open door approach where employees can bring their requests, and concerns, to us," he said. To that end, management utilizes "Chat with Geo" chat lines, round tables and so-called "marathon meetings" where he spends a day and evening in the employee dining area meeting with individuals from all shifts.

While Corchis communicates constantly with his team and employees, marketing communications to the gaming public go through a new Director of Marketing, Melissa Conner. "We have two brands and two positions even though we run this entity under one leadership team," she said. "For the Horseshoe, the profound Binion legacy is important and is the foundation that provides the core values that we will preserve and project to the market. It is an evolutionary process that will be clear and uncomplicated.

"There will be no radical departure from Jack's message because that is what got us here and the public expects us to not only deliver the best but to make it better."

As Corchis concluded…patrons who have not been here for awhile will see an upgraded facility; however, the commitment to first-class service for the gambler is remains unchanged.

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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