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Inside Gaming: Barstow May Get Its Own Tribal Casino

2 Aug 2005

Scuttlebutt suggests an announcement out of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office is imminent giving a green light to a $160 million tribal casino-complex in Barstow. The investors, we hear, who bought the Mandalay Resort Group casino in Detroit have teamed up with two California tribes based outside Barstow -- Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon. Planners say 2.5 million of the 60 million road warriors zipping past will be inclined to stop, especially with the amenities planned, and that the business is likely create 3,700 jobs for the depressed little city. Barstow folks say that leaves out the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, but no one really believes they'll give up the fight.

Despite the frenzy for and against more tribal casinos in California and over added slots at existing casinos, no one seems to doubt the propriety of a governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, having a contract with the largest slot maker of them all, International Game Technology. No one knows what the contract says, but we know it was signed to settle claims over the Terminator slot machine, unveiled two years ago. And we know the governor's name, likeness and voice are not being featured -- for now. We don't know if he makes money on Terminator slots now or may in the future. Smells like a conflict of interest hidden behind a veil of secrecy.

It looks as if the rebranding of the Aladdin as a Planet Hollywood has been postponed until at least 2006. More news expected soon. Meantime, Planet Hollywood International is set to develop five Planet Hollywood restaurants, and possibly Planet Hollywood hotel and resort properties, in India. Arch Millennium, Planet Hollywood's franchisee in India working up plans for resorts in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Goa. Who knows, they may beat the Strip to the punch. The property here will include 2,500 rooms, a 110,000-square-foot casino and a 7,000-seat theater.

The endless competition between Las Vegas billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn has hit the stratosphere, almost, with Adelson the winner. Adelson has been on a binge chasing ever-bigger aircraft since winning a gambling concession in Macau in 2002. He's now flying a super-outfitted Boeing 767. Wynn, by comparison, flies a much smaller B737, still a pretty luxurious Boeing business jet. They both outdo Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho, who flies in smaller Bombardier Global aircraft. No trans-Pacific flights for him. But in their quest for biggest and best, Adelson and Wynn have actually turned Ho's Macau Business Aviation Center into a profit-making venture for the first time.

Gaming Wire Editor Rod Smith can be reached by e-mail at rsmith@reviewjournal. com, by phone at 477-3893 or by fax at 387-5243.

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