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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Catching up with News from the Gaming World

30 January 2001

Let's get caught up on the news from gaming jurisdictions around the country:

People living in the Illinois cities of Joliet, Elgin, and Aurora, and the folks with homes in Gary and Hammond, Indiana, should be as lucky as the citizens of Tunica, Mississippi, when it comes to significant benefits derived from casino legislation. Thanks to gaming taxes and hefty increases in sales taxes, Tunica has become the first and only community in the state to drop property taxes. Since 1992 Tunica's property taxes have fallen from $105 million, to $40 million, to zip-zero-zilch....

Do you fit into this profile of a typical visitor to Las Vegas?: According to statistics, the average visitor to Vegas spends only 3.9 hours a day in the casinos and has a gambling budget of just over $500. The same average visitor spends $66 a day on a hotel room, $170 per trip on food and drink, $57 per trip in transportation, $87 on shopping, $33 on shows, and $66 on sightseeing.....

Talk about nerve. Caesar's Indiana had the gall to ask Harrison County officials to reduce its annual property taxes of $551,000, citing low water conditions on the Ohio River. That same Indiana casino had a gross win of $157 MILLION last year. The request, you'll be happy to learn, was denied.....

Gambling has long been a topic of debate among the religious community, including in the town of Niles, Ohio, where some church leaders have voiced opposition to a new off-track wagering facility. Monsignor Robert Reidy of Our Lady of Mount Carmel gave a differing viewpoint when he wrote in the church bulletin: "I have always thought that as long as a person did not overspend or hurt his family, gambling is permitted by moral law."

The next time you visit Las Vegas, it might be worth your while to check out the new Suncoast Hotel & Casino. The $200 million development is located about 10 miles from the Strip in Summerlin, one of the most upscale communities in the Las Vegas Valley.

Suncoast is the fourth property to be developed by Coast Resorts, Inc., which also owns the Gold Coast, Barbary Coast, and Orleans in Las Vegas. It also is the most expensive. Even though Suncoast is the most "hoity toity" property in the company's gambling arsenal, it still has the distinct local flair so characteristic of its sister casinos.

They just may have found a niche among the Summerlin residents with their friendly "locals oriented" marketing approach. There are about 300,000 people living within five miles of the new property. When the Suncoast mailed out fliers for its slot club to 93,000 nearby homes, one third of the recipients responded.

An interesting note about the Suncoast's 2,100 slot machines is that nearly all of them feature the voucher system of coinless payouts. A harbinger of things to come?

Finally, in response to a request made in this column a few weeks ago for "casino stories" from readers, I received this heart warming little tale from Mary Karas of Calumet Park via e-mail:

"...about 20 years ago or more I was in Las Vegas playing the slots when I noticed a young Mexican girl and her mother watching me. They lived in Las Vegas and had never been in a casino. I gave the girl a hand full of coins. She didn't know what to do with them, so I told her to put three at a time in the machine. Well, she won $1,000! She kept trying to give me the money, but I told her no way. It was hers. Her mother, who only spoke Spanish, wanted me to come home with them for dinner. They couldn't believe the money was theirs. They kept hugging and kissing me and said that they would pray for me. I am now 92 years old and still playing the slots. Those prayers were well worth the money."

Thanks for the nice story, Mary. I'll be sending you a complimentary autographed copy of my new book, Thrifty Gambling.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp