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California Tribal Casino Competition Heats Up

13 December 2004

CALIFORNIA – As reported by the Palm Springs: "The bright lights and big-name entertainment that splashed across the stages of the new $250 million Morongo casino last week did more than dazzle the gamblers, politicians and tourists that checked out the Cabazon complex.

"It also caught the full attention of Morongo's casino competitors in the Coachella Valley.

"Although the Interstate 10 gambling and entertainment center sits about 30 minutes from its nearest desert competitor, experts say it is raising the stakes in the hotly contested battle to attract gamblers to the five other tribal casinos in the desert.

"…The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians plans to spend $1.2 million over four months to promote its new $200 million, 12-story Fantasy Springs Resort Casino & Special Events Center near Indio that opens in later this month.

"… The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which opened its luxury resort casino in downtown Palm Springs a year ago, has hired Virgen Advertising Corp. of Las Vegas to blitz the Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles travel markets.

"…James H. McKennon, chief executive officer of the East Valley Tourist Development Authority, which operates Fantasy Springs, acknowledges local casinos are jockeying for the competitive edge.

"..Morongo tribal chairman Maurice Lyons calls the competition healthy.

"…Michael E. Fife, president of the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority, said he believes the energy created by the casinos will have a significant impact on tourism across the valley.

"Tourism is the biggest industry in the Coachella Valley, as its estimated 3.5 million visitors contribute about $1 billion annually to the regional economy and employ thousands in hotels, restaurants, theaters and bars…"

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