“Whoever determined that 12 noon was the perfect check-in, check-out time was thinking of the housekeeping shift, not the guest.” – Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration professor of marketing Chekitan Dev, on the Palms‘ new, round-the-clock checkout policy. It’ll be easier on guests — if harder on those maid who get moved to evening shifts.
“The problem is Iowa is not a free-market system It’s set up to encourage big-dollar investments, so the cannibalization issue is one we have to take into consideration.” — Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission Chairman Jeff Lamberti
There you have it. When the size of an industry is decreed by the state, cannibalization is an issue that must be weighed, not shrugged off as economic Darwinism. Not one but two consulting firms — Marquette Advisors and Union Gaming — told the IRGC that there’s no more room in Iowa for new casinos. “We do not believe there are any underserved counties in Iowa,” counseled Union Gaming while Marquette Advisors warned that a $150 Linn County casino project would siphon customers from as many as five surrounding markets. (A $40 million Jefferson casino by Wild Rose Entertainment is also being pitched to the IRGC.)
The next day, as though to reinforce the point, the IRGC released February revenues and they were Continued >>
Native American casinos in Maine took a step toward realization when the lower house of the Legislature rescued pro-casino bills from seeming death in the Veterans & Legal Affairs Committee. The legislation “would allow the Passamaquoddy Tribe to build a casino in Washington County and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to operate one in Aroostook County.” There were valid points to be made on both sides of the debate. As state Rep. Madonna Soctomah, whose constituency includes the Passamaquoddy Tribe and has been advocating tribal gaming for two decades, argued, tribes have been held to a different standard than private-sector casino developers. But there was also truth in Rep. Louis Luchini‘s characterization of the legislation as “are a continuation of our state’s fragmented and disorganized approach to gaming policy.”
For perhaps the first time ever, Penn National Gaming and Churchill Downs (each of which owns a Maine casino) found themselvesin common cause, opposing the expansion of gambling to tribal lands. Replied Soctomah, “We only ask that we be given the same opportunity.”
In related business, the House kept alive a bill to transform Scarborough Downs into a racino, pending local approval. “”If we continue to say ‘yes’ to jobs — but ‘not those jobs’ — we continue to show businesses around the country that we might like jobs, but not like theirs,” said Rep. Wayne Parry (right) of the pro-slots measure. Scarborough Downs President Sharon Terry characterized the bill as a life-or-death measure for the harness-racing track. It would sidestep the requirement of a statewide referendum — but would also conflict with existing law that requires 100 miles of separation between existing casinos. Scarborough voters have a decade-long history of voting down slots.