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Inside Gaming: Gaming Contractor: Market at its Limit

20 February 2006

Dick Rizzo, chairman of Perini Building Co., the largest of the gaming industry contractors, says to forget the hype about overbuilding. Major projects that have been announced will be built. That's especially true of hotel-condominiums and casino projects on the Strip, plus locals casinos. Otherwise, forget it -- for now. MGM Mirage's Project CityCenter (which he calls intimidating) and Wynn Resorts Ltd.'s Encore are the surest bets, he said. But Rizzo says the announced projects will stretch development to its limits. Anything less than high-end hotel-condos just won't get built, not before 2010, he says. And who would know better?

Calls to legalize sports betting are nothing new, but Jim Donaldson's over-the-top rhetoric in a recent Providence Journal column hit a few sensitive nails on their heads, advocates said. He opined that the time has come for legal sports betting here in "the good old, uptight and hypocritical U.S. of A." Millions of people, he points out, bet anyhow. And there is "no one more addicted to gambling than (the) state legislators" who point out its social perils. Donaldson's column may not advance the debate, but it's turning heads.

Leaders of the Philippines will try to get in on a good thing, the spread of gambling in Asia, when they break ground Tuesday for the Bagong Nayong Pilipino-Entertainment's City of the Future in Manila. Ceremonies will also mark the opening of Asia's gaming expo and conference, GEM. The Philippine government is providing the land and private investors are expected to build the hotel-casino complexes. Set on Manila Bay, Philippine leaders say the complexes will include five-star hotels, a sports stadium, amusement parks, retail malls, convention centers and condominium complexes, rivaling anything Singapore has so far suggested. Time will tell.

Industry insiders fret that gaming foes could win a lawsuit in federal court that would block the Seneca Nation's plans to build a casino in Buffalo, N.Y. Opponents claim a 1990 lawsuit that settled leases on Seneca land was not meant to permit off-reservation casinos. Casino operators of late have profited from running tribal casinos and some sources, not wanting to be named, say they don't want to see monkey wrenches thrown in to what is now the ripest route for proliferation.

Recent reports show tribal casinos are growing twice as fast as commercial casinos. Tribal insiders say their 400-plus casinos generated around $23 billion in revenues in 2005, up some 15 percent from 2004 and one-third from 2003, outpacing commercial casinos, which are growing only about 7 percent a year. Commercial casinos, though still account for more revenues, about $30 billion.

Gaming Wire Editor Rod Smith can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 477-3893.

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