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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Inside gaming: Slot parlor here today but gone tomorrow

16 June 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- United Coin Machine is getting pretty well versed at operating one-day casinos.

The slot route operator's fourth venture this year is planned for June 25 at the site of the Moulin Rouge, pending approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Las Vegas City Council. Temporary casinos, open for eight hours and consisting of just 16 slot machines, allow a location to retain gaming rights for at least two years.

They even make money.

United Coin Vice President Rob Woodson told the Gaming Control Board on June 4 the company's one-day casino at the site of the demolished Beach nightclub across from the Las Vegas Convention Center made all of $75.

"Actually exceeded projections, I trust?" commented control board member Mark Clayton.

Woodson said a check covering the 6.75 percent taxes on the revenues (about $5.06) was being prepared.

"Everything helps, right?" Clayton added.

***

You can party like it's 2009 at Aliante Station on New Year's Eve, but don't plan on checking into your room until Jan. 1.

Station Casinos began accepting reservations last week for the 202 guest rooms inside the company's $675 million Aliante Station, which will open at the end of the year. Reservations for rooms starting at 400 square feet won't be accepted, however, until New Year's Day.

Convention space is also being booked for the North Las Vegas casino. Mustangs Across America, part of the 45th anniversary of the Ford Mustang, will use Aliante Station as its Nevada pit stop.

"We're starting to get dozens of inquiries from local, regional and national businesses as well as local community groups," said Joe Hasson, Aliante Station's general manager.

***

No surprise, but gasoline prices of more than $4 a gallon don't bode well for regional casino markets. Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Andrew Zarnett said Atlantic City would suffer as gamblers stay close to home.

"Consumers will choose the convenience of Pennsylvania casinos over Atlantic City amenities," he said.

Potential casino patrons are spending more for necessities, such as gasoline and food, leaving fewer dollars for discretionary activities, including gambling.

Zarnett said casinos in Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana and Missouri are experiencing declines in visitation.

***

One last vestige of former Tropicana owner Aztar Corp. has disappeared. Isle of Capri Casinos has rebranded the Casino Aztar in Caruthersville, Mo., as the Lady Luck Casino.

Aztar was purchased by Columbia Sussex Corp. in 2007, but Casino Aztar was sold separately to Isle of Capri.