Gaming Boom Continues
Optimism surrounding the gaming vessel market seemingly reaches new heights monthly, with news of legislation passed, contracts for vessels signed and new branch offices of ancillary suppliers opened. Missouri Legislation Paves Way For Newbuilding In a much anticipated move, the Missouri legislature passed a bill which authorized the formation of a state gaming commission, which in effect may pave the way for riverboat gaming to begin as early as the end of 1993.
The Missouri Senate and House approved a committee bill which would establish a five-member gaming commission, which would be charged with the duty to license gambling boat applicants.
As worded by the legislature, the law would allow for five boat slips, potentially allowing for continuous June, 1993 docking, but a decision, both in number and terms, left up to the commission. In Louisiana, the Louisiana Riverboat Gaming Commission has started to dole out the 15 available licenses to more than 35 hopeful applicants.
One of the higher-profile projects, a $55 million project between the Hilton Hotels Corp. and New Orleans Paddlewheels Inc., was given the green light as it received its Certificate of Preliminary Approval, as reported in the May 1993 issue of Maritime Reporter.
The partnership will build the 2,400-passenger Queen of New Orleans riverboat casino, a 404-foot by 90-foot vessel, at Trinity Marine Group's Equitable Yard. Modeled after elaborate paddlewheel boats of the 1890's, the Queen of New Orleans is slated to open in the summer of 1994.
Finally, the Mississippi Gaming Commission recently granted final site plan approval for dockside casino development to Harrah's, the casino entertainment division of The Promus Companies.
The $49 million project is to be located in Tunica County, Miss., approximately 20 miles south of Memphis.
Harrah's will be a 75 percent general partner in the project with Belz Enterprise of Memphis holding the other 25 percent. The proposed facility will feature 32,100-sq.-ft. of casino entertainment space with 1,460 slot machines and 54 gaming tables.
A Builder's Delight Among the recent launching and newbuilding announcements was the launch of Harrah's Northern Star by Morgan City, La.-based Service Marine.
The 210- by 67-foot Northern Star has a certificate for 1,200 passengers plus crew and 800 gaming positions. This is the first riverboat casino in the U.S. to be owned and operated by one of the nation's major casino entertainment companies.
The interior of the Northern Star, which will operate in Joliet, 111., was designed by Morris and Brown of Las Vegas, and the vessel features an atrium, with a glass cab elevator, through the second and third decks. The boat has 460 tons of air conditioning provided by Carrier chillers and air handlers, and Service Marine has installed a smoke extraction system which changes the air in the boat every eight minutes to minimize the effects of smoking.
The Northern Star, which is the first of two gaming boats built by Service Marine for Harrah's, is powered by two 960-hp Caterpillar diesel engines through a flexible mounting system furnished by Lo-Rez.
In another deal Harrah's and partner Et River Corp. were awarded a Certificate of Preliminary Approval for a $41.3 million gaming development in Shreveport, La., and construction of a 210-foot turn-of-the-lry style paddlewheel riverboat heduled to start at the end of rgosy Gaming Company of n, 111. recently began operations new riverboat gaming casino to ace the existing Alton Belle Cahe new three-level cruise liner, ' called Alton Belle, accommojs 1,200 passengers compared he 490 on the current Belle, "he vessel measures 220 feet by *eet and features an interior dei similar to a Las Vegas casino. Anally, the Joliet-based Empress ino riverboat divulged plans to >and its current facility via a $40 lion project with includes the [uisition of a second vessel. The ond boat, the Empress II, is a 3-foot vessel expected to be com- ;ted this fall.
This expansion news is on the els of figures which indicate Illiis' earnings on riverboat casinos sxpected to be $ 116 million higher an expected, with much of the rnings coming from the Joliet Emess, which at press time was makg more t h an four times the amount iticipated.
jnko Orders Bulk •rriers From Nomura Sanko Steamship, Japan, has aced an order with Namura Shiplilding for 10 handymax bulk carers in a deal reportedly worth aproximately $250 million. Namura i to deliver the series in t h e second alf of 1994 and early 1995.
The new tonnage will enable anko to replace handysize tonnage hat figured in its near-ruinous inestment program of the early 1980s, t will also allow the firm to aug- Spreading The Wealth While owner/operators and vessel builders are more often t h a n not the names splashed across t h e headlines and immediately associated with the multi-million dollar contracts, service and product suppliers to the gaming vessel market have been grabbing their fair share of business and attention as well.
If expansion is a signal of success, both Universal Distributing and Bally Gaming have given the burgeoning gaming vessel market a ment handysize capacity depleted through sales and return of chartered and leased vessels.
"Juan J. Sister" Delivered From Kvaerner Masa-Yards The Ro/Ro-passenger ferry J u an J . Sister was delivered from Kvaerner Masa-Yards' Turku New Shipyard to the Spanish government- owned Compania Transmediterranea S.A. The vessel is the first Spanish ship built in Finland. The "thumbs up" with recent openings. In mid-February, Universal opened its sales and service office in St. Louis, and Bally opened a Biloxi, Miss, service office February 1. Directions In Design, Inc. (DID), a St. Louis interior design firm specializing in marine hospitality and founded in 1975, has several current projects which involve substantial square footage devoted to gaming. The firm recently completed work on Players Riverboat Casino. DID's staff of 32 includes design professionals and support staff to Juan J. Sister Ro/Ro-passenger ferry. 22.4-gt J u a n J. Sister is specifically designed for traffic between the Canary Islands and the mainland of Spain. The vessel can carry a total of 150 cars and 92 trailers. There is accomodation for 400 passengers in 139 cabins. The vessel has four cargo decks, twin stern ramps and one bow ramp. The vessel is powproduce any size project in a timely, cost-effective manner. Currently the firm is working on 12 marine projects which are in various stages of design. The Bud Jones Company is a fullservice casino supply company, which has been family-owned and operated since 1965. Based in Las Vegas, the company occupies a large modern building which houses manufacturing, warehousing and administrative offices.
The Bud Jones Company features an in-house graphic arts department which enables quick approval of top designs, and the company is licensed to service casinos in Nevada, New Jersey, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Connecticut and Washington State, with applications currently being processed for other gaming jurisdictions. In 1973 the company introduced to the casino market a new concept in casino chips to satisfy a demand for a chip more counterfeit resistant than other conventional chips. In addition to being a major producer of dice and chips, the Bud Jones Co. is also a leader in customized casino tables and related accessories.
ered by four Wartsila Vasa 32 diesel engines. Juan J. Sister is 495 feet long, with a breadth of 85 feet and a draught of 19 feet. It's top speed is 18 knots. The vessel complies with the latest SOLAS safety standards with double hull in required areas. Excellent m a n e u v e r a b i l i t y is achieved with two flap rudders and two bow thrusters. In addition, the vessel is equipped with fin stabilizers for passenger and cargo comfort in rough sea conditions.