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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

INSIDE GAMING: Flashier, fresher look for Four Queens

26 March 2007

, Benjamin Spillman and Arnold M. Knightly

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – The owner of one of Fremont Street's glitziest facades said a $20 million plan to spiff up the inside of the casino is 'substantially complete.'

The owner of one of Fremont Street's glitziest facades said a $20 million plan to spiff up the inside of the casino is "substantially complete."

Four Queens owner Terry Caudill said the last major piece of a multiyear renovation will be in place next month when a 10,000-square-foot nightclub opens in the 41-year-old casino.

The Canyon Club, built by Lance Sterling, who launched the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay, is the Four Queens' attempt to retain late-night club crowds that would otherwise party on the Strip.

Gaming revenue downtown has been stagnant or in decline every year for more than a decade. Fremont Street casino owners have so far been unable to stem the loss of customers to the Strip and to more elaborate locals casinos.

"When I bought it, I knew the property needed added excitement and a little freshening to regain its luster and stay competitive in the marketplace," Caudill said.

In addition to the Canyon Club, Caudill also installed the Chicago Brewing Company restaurant and cigar bar. Caudill also renovated all 690 hotel rooms.

Since purchasing the property in 2003, Caudill has upgraded all 1,040 slot machines to ticket in-ticket out games.

Move over, Macau. Step aside, Singapore. The rest of Asia wants a piece of the action.

The Philippines may license a casino operation to boost tourism and drive economic development.

The government-operated Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp., dubbed Pagor, is planning a $15 billion to $20 billion entertainment and gaming complex on a 1,900-acre site.

Taiwan's government said it may allow casinos. The country's Council for Economic Planning and Development will report in six months on the potential to open casinos.

Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Bill Lerner said success by Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp. in Macau, as well as plans by Las Vegas Sands to open Singapore's first casino in 2009, have tantalized the market. Japan, Vietnam and other Asian countries could soon have legalized gaming.

"Clearly, gaming resorts increase visitation to a destination, while supplying revenue to the local government," Lerner said. "U.S. gaming operators could be interested in Taiwan, especially those that did not attain entrance into Macau."

Nevada Gaming Commission member Art Marshall isn't impressed with stock brokers.

"Stock brokers make millionaires out of multi-millionaires," he told a licensing applicant last week.

The Inside Gaming column is compiled by Review-Journal gaming and tourism writers Howard Stutz, Benjamin Spillman and Arnold M. Knightly. Send your tips about the gaming and tourism industry to insidegaming@reviewjournal.com.