The Tigua Tribe has drained its 60,000 square foot pool and is now pouring $3 million into the space to turn it into a state-of-the art concert and entertainment hall.
The El Paso Times reports that the Socorro Entertainment Center is set to be finished by the end of April. It’s a new venture for the Tiguas, which had its casino gambling license revoked by the state of Texas in 2002.
Gaming machines and other equiptment sit on concrete on what was the Olympic-sized pool at the Tigua Recreation Center in Socorro. The tribe is converting the pool into a $3 million entertainment center with a concert venue, gaming room and five-star restaurant. (Photo by Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)
The controversial move was a huge financial blow to the 1,700-member tribe, officially known as the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. The former Speaking Rock Casino generated $60 million a year before the legal action.
One way the tribe responded was by turning the casino at 122 S. Old Pueblo, near the Ysleta Mission, into the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center, and converting its cash-dispensing slot machines into “sweepstakes” vending machines that pay winners in credits redeemable for prizes.
. . .
Now they’re upping the ante. The Socorro Entertainment Center will replace Speaking Rock as a concert venue, though the former casino will continue to host smaller shows. “We want it to be a revenue-generating venue to help pay for itself,” Maahs said of the new arena.
The swimming pool was not. Maahs said it was largely unused 300 days of the year and costs about $40,000 a month to operate.
“We’re taking a building that was designed for swim meets with maybe 500 people at most, and usually it wasn’t close to that, and turning it into a venue designed for 10,000,” Maahs said.
Upcoming concerts at the new venue include performances by Godsmack, Puddle of Mud and Travis Tritt.
Tags: el paso times, gambling, socorro entertainment center, Texas, tigua tribe
The Golden Moon Hotel and Casino in Neshoba County was raided by FBI agents on Tuesday. A search warrant was also issued for the Silver Star Hotel and Casino on resort grounds. (Courtesy of The Clarion-Ledger)
No one is quite sure why but federal authorities raided the Mississippi Choctaws’ Pearl River Resort and one other tribal casino on Tuesday.
The FBI apparently took hard drives when it raided the resort, the Clarion Ledger reports.
The incident comes on the heels of a Tribal Council vote that threw out the election results for the tribe’s new chief.
Casino officials confirmed a search warrant had been executed at the Neshoba County casinos by the U.S. Department of Justice but gave no further details.
“The resort is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities in their investigation,” CEO Maj. Gen. Paul Harvey said in a statement. “There will be no interruption in the operation of business at the resort.”
The raid reportedly involved the seizing of computer hard drives at the Silver Star and Golden Moon hotel-casinos in Neshoba County.
The close race come down to two candidates: incumbent Beasley Denson and Phyllis Anderson.
During the hotly contested election, Anderson publicly called for an audit on the casinos and transparency in the tribe’s spending. Choctaw tribe members each receive $500 every six months.
Tags: clarion ledger, FBI, gambling, gaming, golden moon, mississippi, Native American, neshoba county, pearl river resort, U.S. Department of Justice
Reuters reported today that although numbers dipped during the recession, Native gaming revenues are strong and almost overtook non-Indian competitors in 2009.
The Reuters story cites a California-based Nathan Associates Inc. report.
Native American casinos produced 96 percent of the revenue commercial casinos did in 2009, up from 89 percent the year before after further expansion, the report said.
The mid-term outlook for Native American gaming “is good” and an improving economy will bolster demand and make it easier to finance new projects, the report said.
“Indian gaming continued to gain ground and may overtake the commercial casino segment in the near future,” the report said.
During the recession, many gambling resorts around the nation saw revenues fall as high unemployment rates and the newly frugal consumer clipped demand. One recent bright spot, however was a report last week that tourism was starting to recover in Las Vegas.
Tags: gambling, nathan associates, native gaming, reuters
The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians filed suit in a western Michigan court to help stop a casino opened on off reservation land by the Bay Mills Indian Community there, Indian Country Today reports.
When the Bay Mills casino was opened in November, five tribes condemned the project because it was off reservation and had not received state or federal approvals.
Little Traverse wants the casino shut down immediately, stating in the suit that Bay Mills violated various provisions of the tribal-state compact and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, ICT reports.
“The lawsuit seeks to uphold the integrity and viability of Indian gaming on a national level,” Little Traverse Bay Chairman Ken Harrington said. “If the Vanderbilt casino is allowed to remain open, it will set a dangerous precedent that would allow Indian tribes to unilaterally establish off-reservation casinos without the input or approval of surrounding tribal, local, state or federal governments. There are huge implications riding on the outcome of this lawsuit.”
Little Traverse’s lawsuit is bolstered by support from members of Congress and the federal government who have both weighed in with opposition to the Vanderbilt Casino. Additionally, the State of Michigan filed a similar lawsuit against Bay Mills.
Tags: bay mills casino, bay mills indian community, casino, gambling, little traverse, little traverse bay band of odawa, michigan, vanderbilt casino
Courtesy of Seattlepi.com
While state gambling revenue in Washington
(as reported by the Seattle PI’s Strange Bedfellows blog) and Montana
are down, tribal gaming in Washington is booming.
Even with a plan negotiated by Gov. Christine Gregoire to reduce the number of certain gaming machines allowed to be installed, revenue was up 70 percent overall.
In the 2005 fiscal year, total net receipts (amount wagered minus amount paid out in prizes) from the state’s tribal casinos, bingo parlors, card rooms, lottery sales, horse racing and pull tabs and punchboards was $1.695 billion. In 2010, it was $2.292 billion. In 2005 tribal casinos made up 61 percent of all gambling net receipts; last year the figure was 77 percent.
Revenue actually decreased from ’05 to ’10 for Bingo ($25.1 million to $10.7 million ), Punchboards and Pulltabs ($126.2 million to $72.8 million) and Card Rooms ($302.6 million to $228.6 million). Money from horse racing went down, too, from $35.5 million million to $30.6 million. Lottery revenue went up from $177.2 million in 2005 to $199.2 million last year.
But the state’s 28 tribal casinos saw their net receipts jump from $1.02 billion to $1.74 billion – a 70 percent jump. The tribes are autonomous governments who negotiate agreements with the state. Those agreements do not include revenue sharing.
Tags: christine greoire, gambling, tribal gaming
Citing a state law that prohibits slot machines, the Associated Press is reporting the Alabamba governor wants Indian casino bingo shut down.
Gov. Bob Riley believes bingo falls under the slots distinction. He wants the federal government to close the Poarch Band of Creek Indians casinos.
Riley’s term is up after the November election, and he has not taken the issue to the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington, D.C., which regulates Indian gaming.
Officials at PCI Gaming, the casino operation for the Poarch Creeks, did not return repeated phone calls Friday seeking comment. But PCI Gaming President Jay Dorris told the Mobile Press-Register that he’s not paying particular attention to Riley’s comments.
“We answer to the federal government and what their definition is,” he said. “Bingo, as we play it, is acceptable.”
Tags: alabama, bingo, bob riley, casinos, gambling, gov. bob riley, jay dorris, pci gaming, poarch band of creek indians, Tribal casinos
From the Associated Press out of New York:
By MICHAEL VIRTANEN
ALBANY, N.Y. — The St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council has stopped sharing revenue from the casino along New York’s northern border with the state, claiming the exclusivity provision of its gambling compact has been violated.
Tribal Chief Mark Garrow said the second-quarter check for about $4.9 million has not been sent. He declined to specify what state officials did against the Mohawks’ seven-county exclusive rights to install and operate slot machines.
Garrow said the move isn’t related to Gov. David Paterson’s administration attempts to tax lucrative tribal cigarette sales to non-Indians and isn’t coordinated with the Seneca tribe’s withholding more than $200 million from its three casinos in western New York. The Mohawks’ letter to the administration was sent last week, he said.
“While the state has yet to comprehensively review the reasoning behind the suggestion that we have violated the gaming compact, one thing is very clear: The St. Regis Mohawks failure to pay the state is an egregious material breach of the gaming compact,” said Morgan Hook, spokesman for Paterson. “The state will now seek all remedies available under the compact including expedited arbitration in order to protect the state and local municipalities from losing this critical funding.”
The administration two weeks ago threatened to end the compact that allows the Seneca Indian Nation to operate three casinos in western New York because of withheld revenue sharing payments. Counsel Peter Kiernan said in a letter that the Senecas owed the state and local governments about $105.5 million from 2009 and $109 million for 2010.
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Tags: casinos, gambling, Mohawk, Mohawk Nation, New York, new york go, New York Gov. David A. Paterson, seneca indian nation, St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council, St. Regis Mohawks, Tribal Chief Mark Garrow