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Jay Daniel Company to manage Harlow's Casino

4 August 2009

The changing landscape in the gaming industry has had a significant effect on casino operations as various properties seek to reverse revenue deterioration caused by a weakened economy, heavy debt loads and massive industry restructurings. It is under this cloud that changes came at Harlow's Casino, located on the banks of the Mississippi River. However, the changes afoot in Greenville, Mississippi are not based so much on the loss of market share or revenue, but rather on capitalizing on the fact that it was able to survive a restructured ownership and separate itself from the pack.

Thus the owners of the casino, SW Gaming, have retained a management company to accomplish the task of building on the success, and selected Jay Daniel Company, a relatively young firm, but one that comes loaded with in-depth and hands-on experience in casino management.

"The landscape has changed for companies like ours and now offers opportunities that did not exist several years ago," said Jeffrey J. Dahl, one of Jay Daniel's three principals who were retained for on-site management of Harlow's. Joining with Dahl are Joseph Billhimer and Daniel Davila, all heavily experienced in gaming operations and business.

"We were brought in, not as a rescue operation, but to build on the success in this challenging economy that Harlow's has enjoyed under Domenic Mezzetta, who is moving to the Board of The Company, " said Mr. Dahl.

Mr. Billhimer added…"Our mission here is to sustain current returns, improve overall operations by repeating successes and taking efficiencies to position Harlow's advantageously to maximize profitability when the upturn takes place in the economy."

The Jay Daniel Company LLC and its three operatives form a unique team and are ideally set up to accomplish the tasks set forth. Jeff Dahl has been a leader in the gaming industry in Mississippi since 1993, beginning his career as a Chief Financial Officer with Grand Casino in Gulfport, before moving on to run several other properties such as Palace Casino, Treasure Bay Casino and Casino Magic, all in South Mississippi. He also served as President and Chief Operating Officer at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, which included the same responsibility for Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, MS. Both are wholly-owned subsidiaries of MGM Mirage. Most recently he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Torguson Gaming Group in Biloxi. Dahl holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting.

Joe Billhimer was named Casino Journal Magazine's Executive of The Year in 2007 for his work as President and Chief Operating Officer of Premier Entertainment LLC, the parent company of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi. Mr. Billhimer built the Hard Rock Biloxi, only to watch it destroyed by Hurricane Katrina two days before it was to open. He then oversaw the re-build and official "opening." He also spent three years as President and General Manager of Caesars Entertainment's Grand Casino Resort in Gulfport, at the time, one of the state's premier gaming resorts. Before the Grand, he served as Executive Vice President/General Manager at Casino Magic Corporation's Bay St. Louis operation. He brings over 25 years of industry experience to the company, over half of which were leadership positions.

Mr. Davila is a gaming industry veteran of 15 years and as an industry analyst on Wall Street, he was recognized several times in the Wall Street Journal's "Best on the Street" survey, an acknowledgement of his market insights and stock selection ability. Most recently Mr. Davila was Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for Torguson Marketing Group. Prior to that he was a Senior Vice President at Sterne, Agee & Leach in New Orleans. He has also served as Senior Vice President and Senior Research Analyst at Hibernia Southcoast Capital and Senior Director and Research Analyst for Rodman & Renshaw in New York City. He holds an M.B.A. in Finance and Management from Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.

"With our collective experience in interlocking fields we are able to provide a direct, hands-on service for institutions looking for ways to improve their bottom line and credits, 'said Davila. "We bring over 50 years of experience managing and analyzing the gaming industry and full weight of that will be applied to operating Harlow's at a higher level."

JDC is currently conducting a search for a general manager, which it expects to name soon, to replace the retiring Mr. Mezzetta. It is also analyzing potential capital improvements for the casino-hotel across all phases of the property.

"Harlow's Casino, with the quality of its hotel and extraordinary 2,500 seat Celebrity Theater, is a jewel in the Delta," said Billhimer. "We are currently undertaking intense research and evaluation of the property and will implement changes in the near future."

He also said the opening of the new Highway 82 bridge connecting Arkansas to Greenville on the Mississippi side, will be a boon to the casino when it opens in 2010. The beautiful cable-stayed structure is four lanes wide and covers some 13,560 feet in length. The bridge is on a direct route on I-65 from key feeder markets in Pine Bluff and Little Rock, which is less than a 2 hour drive to Harlow's front door.

The Jay Daniel Company provides casino management, advisory and consulting services, property development and design consulting and management, strategic organizational planning, debt and equity facilitation and due diligence for mergers and acquisition.

For more information go to the company's website at www.jaydanielco.com.

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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