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STATESIDE
Stateside
Sharon Harris looks at the how the new administration
is affecting gaming in the US…
A
wise woman once told me that a boy who contributions by gaming interests.
liked me would find a way to make a date. This key provision of the 2004 gaming legislation
If he didn’t like me, nothing I did would aimed to eliminate corruption. The original wording
matter – but she also advised that I make barred donations from anyone connected to the
myself as available and appealing as gaming industry.
possible. In other words, I should market myself. Peter DePaul, part-owner of the planned Foxwoods
Good advice. She knew that marketing creates a casino in Philadelphia, challenged the language after
desire. Once the demand exists, make it convenient. paying a $100,000 fine for 2006 contributions
Atlantic City casinos realize innovative marketing will totaling $32,000. The justices claimed that more
help them survive additional competition and less restrictive limits in the original language may have
consumer spending. The “build it and they will come” altered their decision.
philosophy of gaming expansion is oh-so-yesterday. Some legislators will still reject contributions,
The smart and savvy will endure. The incompetent which is their option. However, it is absurd to believe
and unimaginative will fail, as they should. that gaming has cornered the market for potential
Atlantic City can surpass its competitors, especially corruption and bribery.
from April to October. As a destination, it is hard to Singling out gaming people is insulting and stupid.
outdo the great restaurants, entertainment, ocean, Lobby for one’s causes after contributing, fine – but
Boardwalk and beaches. demanding favorable action crosses the line.
However, access to Atlantic City has too often been While an amusement operator from 1982 to 1997, I
Maybe the new
regional. The commuter trains, buses and highways traveled to Washington many times with the national
easily transport more than 35 million annual visitors Amusement and Music Operators Association
phrase should be
living within a few hours’ drive, but airline travel – (AMOA). We lobbied our respective members of
“if they can get
except to/from Florida – has been sketchy despite a Congress to generate favorable legislation relevant to
modern airport. However, expanded airline service is the coin-op industry, but never demanded anything.
there, they will
adding new flights to Boston and Atlanta, linking In 2008, America’s unions spent hundreds of
come”.
Atlantic City to the South and New England. millions facilitating Barack Obama’s election. They
Also, a $4.5 million investment from the Casino now seek big time payback on several fronts, starting
Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), the with the passage of the “Card Check” legislation I
Atlantic City Express Service (ACES) recently wrote of three months ago.
launched weekend one-stop rail service connecting Sure, there are no guarantees, but aren’t we
Atlantic City and New York City. The Caesars, entitled to comment on those laws and regulations
Harrah’s and Borgata joint venture provides New York that affect us the most? Duh…I think we are.
and New Jersey residents a direct transportation
option on four-car multi-level trains offering Let’s end with some humor. Vice President Joe
comfortable coach and first-class seating. Biden, famous for his undisciplined comments,
Maybe the new phrase should be “if they can get appeared on national television during the “swine
there, they will come”. flu” hysteria. He admitted advising his family to avoid
Owned by Harrah’s, Caesars’ marketing extends to airplanes, subways, trains or other “confined spaces”.
New York Mets baseball fans’ new 42,000-seat, $800 The air and rail industries cried foul. Once again,
million CitiField ballpark. A deal prominently the White House did damage control. Condemning
advertises the Caesars brand. The exclusive 12,000 the comments, New York City Mayor Michael
square foot Caesars Club dining and entertainment Bloomberg publicly rode the subway to his office.
area is inside the stadium. Caesars will offer fan The following week, the Las Vegas Convention and
specials and stage theme nights at the stadium. The Visitors Authority (LVCVA) placed a $77,740 one-page
deal also includes the Mets’ minor league clubs. ad in the USA Today newspaper. Using a somber
Justice and common sense have been served next photo of Biden. The ad said: “Mr. Vice President, if
door in Pennsylvania. By a 5-1 majority, the you had said it here, no one would have known.”
Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently declared You know… What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
unconstitutional a blanket ban on political Good for the LVCVA.
10 JUNE 2009
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