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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Inside gaming column: Forty days, 40 nights and a cry of protest

6 October 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Maybe we've become jaded in Las Vegas. Or maybe Midwest residents are little uptight.

Regardless, a slot machine titled "Noah's Ark" will soon be in Nevada casinos.

The five-reel penny machine has cartoon animals and a cartoon Noah. Jackpots are based on lining up animals by the pair. That's where any comparison with the Book of Genesis ends.

International Game Technology is distributing the machine, which has been popular with customers during its testing period. IGT spokesman Ed Rogich said the game wasn't meant to be biblical, just a comical twist using cartoon animals.

Try telling that to folks in the Midwest. The game has been approved for use in Missouri and other states. One religious leader, whose organization represents 5,000 U.S. churches, told the Kansas City Star he didn't think the concept was at all funny.

"Nothing is sacred anymore," said Ralph Colas of the American Council of Christian Churches. "We resent and repudiate that."

One Las Vegas religious leader had a different take.

The Rev. Harry Watson, director of missions for the Southern Nevada Baptist Association, is a 30-year Las Vegas resident and isn't surprised by much within the casino community.

"I don't find it offensive, but it seems to be in poor taste," Watson said.

A few years ago, the Gaming Control Board had problems with slot machines that could be construed as marketing to children. A machine based on "South Park," the Comedy Central cartoon, and titles themed after the board games "Battleship" and "Monopoly," gave regulators heartburn. "Noah's Ark," which was approved in March, didn't cause concern.

"It's cartoonish, but it didn't rise to that level," said control board member Randy Sayre.

***

Red Rock Resort is all about the chandeliers. Some 3.1 million crystal pieces are used in the casino's signature lighting fixtures, including 1.6 million in the chandelier over the Lucky Bar.

Station Casinos is bringing its chandelier concept to the soon-to-open Aliante Station, albeit with a different twist.

A three-tiered empty-tequila-bottle chandelier will be suspended over the bar area at Camacho's Cantina. The chandelier features more than 2,700 tequila bottles.

No word on how the bottles were emptied.

***

Foxwoods, the nation's largest American Indian casino, is laying off 6 percent of its work force. The Connecticut resort, which is operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, is cutting 700 jobs from its staff of 11,000.

The cuts will also come from the 2,000 employees hired in May for the $700 million MGM Grand at Foxwoods, an 825-room hotel and casino expansion.

Inside gaming column: Forty days, 40 nights and a cry of protest is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.