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Fil-Estate in Philippine Casino Talks

PHILIPPINES -- As reported by the Xinhua News: "Fil-Estate Corp confirmed that it has been in initial talks with foreign investors to put up a casino business in the country. "In a stock exchange disclosure, the company noted that chairman Robert Sobrepena had told shareholders during the annual general meeting that the firm was proposing 'a business direction to capitalize on the booming casino gaming sector.' "It said no definitive agreement has been reached with prospective foreign partners which it did not name, and added that feasibility studies are now being undertaken to determine the prospects of a gaming business…"

New Mexican Pueblo, Hilton Strike Deal

NEW MEXICO – As reported by the New Mexican: "The Pueblo of Pojoaque, in partnership with Hilton Hotel Corp., has struck a deal it hopes will result in the largest pueblo-owned hotel in the state, a new casino and convention center, an expanded golf course and a performing-arts complex, all set for an opening in 2008. "Pueblo Gov. George Rivera said if all goes as planned, the new Buffalo Thunder Resort hotel will have 400 rooms, the Cities of Gold casino will double its number of games to 1,600 and a new, smaller casino with 800 games will be built in conjunction with the hotel. The golf course will also add nine more holes, and a performing-arts center and spa will offer high-end amenities for hotel visitors. Hilton is not affiliated with the casino projects. "The cost of the Hilton hotel and casino, along with its estimated 35,000 square feet of convention space, is set at $200 million, and financing is nearly completed, Rivera said. The nine additional golf holes have already been added to the current course, but they have not yet been seeded…"

Wives Win Case Against Casinos

GERMANY – As reported by Ananova: "Two German women who took a casino to court after their husbands gambled all of their savings away have won damages. "Germany's Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe heard how the two gambling addicts, not named, had written to the casino in Dortmund to tell them to throw them out if they ever went in there. "But the casino failed to act when the pair turned up to play on the slot machines and lost £6,700 between them…"

Natchez Casino Developer Eyes Hotel

NATCHEZ, Mississippi – As reported by the Natchez Democrat: " The developer of a second casino proposed for Natchez hopes to close on his purchase of the Ramada Hilltop by mid-February. "'We hope to finish due diligence in a couple of weeks, then close on the deal within 45 days after that,' said Charles Cato, who plans to develop the Emerald Star Casino just south of the Mississippi River bridge. "…Meanwhile, since Cato received licensing approval from the Gaming Commission last month, he hopes to get started on site work at the casino location next month, weather permitting…"

California Tribe Overcomes Final Hurdle

BARSTOW, California – As reported by the San Bernardino Sun: "After 12 years of effort, the Chemehuevi Indian tribe has overcome its final local hurdle to build and operate a proposed $186 million casino resort. "But the tribe, which is based in Havasu Lake in eastern San Bernardino County, still faces hurdles at the state and federal levels before the casino becomes a reality. "The City Council has determined that the Chemehuevi tribe's business partner, Barstow Enterprises LLC, is financially capable of constructing and running an off-reservation casino complex on a 40-acre site near the city's two westside outlet malls, project spokesman Larry Tenney said Thursday. "…The Chemehuevi tribe is among three tribes pursuing rights to open multi-million-dollar gaming resorts in Barstow…" Lists USC as Rose Bowl Favorites

UNITED STATES – (PRESS RELEASE) -- With two Heisman Trophy winners sharing the backfield, a mercurial quarterback leading an undefeated powerhouse, and a defending national champion considered to be one of the best college teams ever assembled, this year's Rose Bowl is certain to live up to all the hype and expectations. bookmakers list No. 1 USC as a 7.5-point favorite to repeat as national champion and defeat No. 2 Texas on January 4, 2006, in Pasadena, Calif. The Rose is the culmination of an NCAA postseason that features 28 bowl games and has odds on each one. "Although I am looking forward to all of the exciting college bowl games , the Rose Bowl stands out – and it should," says Calvin Ayre, Founder and CEO of "This year's Rose Bowl features the two teams who were favored to be here when bookmakers posted the odds at the beginning of the season. Both USC and Texas have garnered a large amount of action from bettors throughout the year, and we expect to see a lot more interest leading to this game that will decide the national champion." Betting trends are a good indicator of the mindset of the public, so perhaps it is no coincidence bookmakers report that most of the betting action has been on the Trojans to cover the 7.5-point spread. During the season, bettors w ere more inclined to wager on games involving the Trojans than on those featuring Texas. However, those who bet on Texas were far more profitable. Though USC went undefeated, it only beat the spread in half of its 12 games. In fact, during one stretch in October, the mighty Trojans failed to cover in four straight games. On the other hand, Texas (12-0) went 10-2 against the spread, the best record of all Division 1-A teams. In the two days prior to the Rose, the three other BCS games will be played. On Jan. 2, the Fiesta Bowl features two 9-2 squads as 4-point favorite Ohio State battles Notre Dame. That night, Georgia (10-2) takes on West Virginia (10-1), a 7.5-point underdog, in the Sugar Bowl. On Jan. 3, Florida State (8-4) meets Penn State in the Orange Bowl; the Nittany Lions (10-1) are favored by 7.5 points. In notable non-BCS games, UCLA (9-2) is a 3-point favorite over Northwestern (7-4) in a Vitalis Sun Bowl tilt that could be the highest scoring of all the games. The two explosive offenses meet on Dec. 30 in El Paso, Texas. Also on Dec. 30, South Carolina and coach Steve Spurrier face Missouri (6-5) in The Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. The Gamecocks (7-4) are 4-point favorites. Two powerhouse programs face off in the Alamo Bowl as Michigan (7-4) takes on Nebraska (7-4) on Dec. 28. The Wolverines, currently favored by 11.5 points, are expected to leave San Antonio with the win. In the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22, a talented Cal team meets the surprising BYU Cougars (6-5). The Golden Bears (7-4) are 7-point favorites.

Casinos Defend Against 'Supernotes'

by Howard Stutz Las Vegas Gaming Wire LAS VEGAS -- North Korean-produced 'supernotes' -- authentic looking but counterfeit $100 bills -- have infiltrated cashier cages of Strip casinos but are not causing widespread problems, federal and state authorities said. "They have been passed around, but it's infrequent and there are only a small percentage of the notes that have been passed here," said Paul Masto, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service office in Las Vegas. "We're a city with a considerable amount of cash transactions. We probably take in $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 in counterfeit money in town per week." Currency validation equipment on slot machines and the education of dealers, casino cage personnel and gaming employees who handle money is the first line of defense against counterfeiting. "Counterfeiting is a considerable problem, but we do a lot of training with the casinos so they can recognize counterfeit money, credit fraud and identity theft," Masto said. The spread of supernotes was the centerpiece of an FBI investigation this year that led to arrests in several U.S. cities. One of the individuals charged, according to the indictment, was a Taiwanese national who had agreed to move the counterfeit currency through Las Vegas. Jerry Markling, chief of the State Gaming Control Board's enforcement division, said the agency isn't aware of recent concerns about supernotes. Markling said gaming agents will routinely work with federal and international authorities on counterfeiting issues. "We've had some counterfeiting cases involving chips and tokens," Markling said. "When there's an indication of some new type of counterfeit currency, the Secret Service has been really good about flooding the area with training information." Masto said most counterfeit currency is of poor quality and can be readily spotted. Most fake bills are picked up by currency validation systems. JCM American Corp., a Japan-based manufacturer of currency acceptors -- also known as bill validators -- has its devices embedded into 85 percent of all North American slot machines and about 75 percent of the world market, company Vice President Tom Neiman said. While not commenting on specifics concerning the supernotes, Neiman said the company interacts with representative of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and other federal authorities to ensure counterfeit currency doesn't make it through its validation devices. "The counterfeiters today are not some semi-idiots. They do a good job," Neiman said. "That's why we work closely with Treasury to make sure we're updated and our products can detect counterfeit notes at all levels." JCM, which has its American headquarters in Las Vegas, unveiled a currency validation product for table games during the September Global Gaming Expo. The company is also working on a device for soda, snack and other vending machines that will return change in currency rather than coin. Neiman said when new counterfeit markings are discovered, the company quickly updates its devices. "Every now and then, we get a really good $10 or a really good $100," Masto said. "We'll allow JCM to come in and capture the signatures so they can do what they need to with their equipment." Casino employees, however, can be the primary arbitrators of what is and isn't counterfeit. MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said the Secret Service routinely conducts training for all cash handling workers at the company's 12 Strip resorts. "Ultimately, everyone gets training to try and spot this stuff," Feldman said. "They'll send in experts in what amounts to large training seminars for our staff."

Biloxi Says No to Golden Nugget

by Howard Stutz Las Vegas Gaming Wire BILOXI, Mississippi -- Plans by Houston-based Landry's Restaurants to bring a Golden Nugget-brand casino to hurricane-ravaged Biloxi, Miss., were rejected this week by the city's elected leaders. Landry's Restaurant offered to lease the land for a Golden Nugget Casino, but the Biloxi City Council rejected its offer this week after the two sides could not agree on a price. The City Council is now looking at Biloxi-based Isle of Capri to develop the site on 18 acres north of Highway 90 in the Point Cadet area on Biloxi's eastern edge. The land is near the destroyed Highway 90 bridge that connects Biloxi with Ocean Springs. The company, which has first rights to develop the site, has discussed putting a new 2,500-room hotel casino on the north side of U.S. 90 that would be more than three times the size of the company's existing Biloxi resort. Landry's, which bought the Golden Nugget casinos in downtown and Laughlin for $345 million, had proposed spending $400 million to build the Biloxi Boardwalk, which would have included a 60,000- square-foot Golden Nugget casino, a 600-room hotel and a marina for 100 boats. Landry's said it would build a 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel, thrill rides, an aquarium and restaurants, telling city leaders the proposed project would be similar to the company's amusement attractions in Houston and Galveston, Texas. The City Council unanimously rejected Landry's, however, because they didn't think the lease offered enough. Landry's had offered to pay the city minimum base rent of $2.5 million and 4 percent of annual gross revenue above $62.5 million. Council members said the offer amounted to an overall cap of approximately $3.3 million. "It was a great project and I would have loved to have seen it happen," Councilman George Lawrence told the Biloxi Sun-Herald. "Anybody who looked at the project loved it. You still have to do the best things for the citizens. I don't think the offer was enough." Jeff Cantwell, senior vice president of development for Landry's, said the company remains interested in the Biloxi site. The Golden Nugget would have been the first new casino to be announced since Hurricane Katrina destroyed 13 Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos, eliminating 17,000 jobs and wiping annual gaming revenues of $1.2 billion off the books. Three casinos will reopen in Biloxi this month; the Imperial Palace on Thursday, the Isle of Capri on Dec. 26 and the Palace Casino on Dec. 30. Separately, an agreement between operators of the destroyed Copa Casino and the State Port at Gulfport that would allow the casino to rebuild closer to U.S. 90 has been put on hold by the state. The Mississippi Development Authority, which has veto authority over any project on the state-owned land, has not signed off on the agreement. The privately owned Copa, one of two casinos located in Gulfport, was destroyed by the hurricane and subsequently demolished.

Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino Reports Q2 Results

MESCALERO, New Mexico -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino ("IMGRC"), a business enterprise of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, reported today net revenue for the quarter ended October 31, 2005 was $31.2 million, an increase of $8.0 million, or 35%, from $23.2 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2004. EBITDA for the quarter ended October 31, 2005, was $7.3 million, a decrease of $1.0 million or 12%, from $8.3 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2004. Net loss for the quarter ended October 31, 2005 was $4.1 million compared to net income of $4.3 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2004. Net revenue for the six months ended October 31, 2005 was $61.9 million, an increase of $16.5 million, or 36%, from $45.4 million for the six months ended October 31, 2004. EBITDA for the six months ended October 31, 2005 was $12.5 million, a decrease of $3.5 million, or 22%, from $16.0 million for the six months ended October 31, 2004. Net loss for the six months ended October 31, 2005 was $9.8 million compared to net income of $7.9 million for the six months ended October 31, 2004. Increases in revenue for the three and six month periods ended October 31, 2005 were primarily attributable to increased gaming, hotel and food and beverage revenues associated with opening IMGRC's new resort in March 2005. Increased operating expenses during these periods were largely associated with increased expenses associated with operating the new resort, as well as increased consulting and audit fees associated with compliance with regulatory compliance. Gaming revenues increased $2.4 million, up 14% from $17.3 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2004, to $19.7 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2005. Hotel revenues increased to $3.3 million, from $0.0 for the prior period quarter when IMGRC did not have an operating hotel. Food and beverage revenues increased $2.0 million for the quarter, to $3.4 million, from $1.4 million for the prior quarter, an increase of 143%. Total operating expenses in the quarter ended October 31, 2005 were $28.4 million compared to $16.6 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2004. For the six months ended October 31, 2005, gaming revenues increased $6.8 million, to $41.7 million, from $34.9 million from the six months ended October 31, 2004. Hotel revenues were $6.2 million for the six month period, compared to $0 for the prior period quarter when IMGRC did not have a hotel. Food and beverage revenues increased $4.1 million, or 146%, to $6.9 million for the six months ended October 31, 2005, from $2.8 million for the six months ended October 31, 2004. Total operating expenses for the six months ended October 31, 2005 were $58.0 million compared to $32.5 million for the six months ended October 31, 2004, an increase of $25.4 million. Brian Parrish, Chief Operating Officer of IMGRC, stated: "We are continuing to focus on improving revenue by continued implementation and refining of our marketing plan and plans to increase operating efficiencies. These plans continue to include marketing efforts focused on highlighting our new, luxury AAA Four Diamond resort and operating plans focused on improving staffing levels, inventory control and controlling expenses. A number of our efforts were begun during the first and second quarters of fiscal 2006 and we are confident we will see improved results as these plans mature. In addition, we expect to see increased traffic at all of our facilities due to the opening of our ski resort, Ski Apache, on December 17. While the opening of Ski Apache was later than our hoped for opening over the Thanksgiving holiday, we have put in place several marketing efforts focused on taking maximum advantage of the remaining ski season to cross-market and increase traffic at our new luxury resort." is Offering Gift Certificates

Site Hopes They’ll Find Their Way into Many Christmas Stockings is giving friends and family of poker lovers something to stuff into their stockings. The online poker site is offering gift certificates that can be immediately redeemed for use on You can buy certificates up to any price, starting at $25. Delivered in PDF format, each gift certificate is available with one of three custom backgrounds, and can be personalized with a message of your choosing.

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