Let’s keep the band playing in 2017

By Bob Sweeney

By Bob Sweeney

This year is about to wind up in the history books. Overall, 2016 was a good year for the gambling industry with the growth in construction and housing industries. It appears that casinos are busy, and there is a lot renovation and remodeling underway at a number of casinos.

Our casinos really do a great job of keeping the properties clean, attractive and safe.

The garage at the Monarch should be history by now with a new hotel to rise in 2017. Across the street at the Isle, they are remodeling the Capri buffet area and offering great BBQ. They are open for lunch at Farraddays Steakhouse.

Ameristar is doing a new high-roller room on the main floor near the cashier counter. It should open soon.

We will have to see what happens to the traffic flow in the new year.  Central City Council is considering changing the flow of traffic off Casino Parkway through Main Street rather than heading it directly down the mountain.

Our long-time friend Steve Boulter, who is the proprietor at Dostal Alley, lost his race for public office. He would have been good at the job, but he can be thankful that he lost. Losing will save him a lot of time and effort, and he can now direct his time and energy toward his own business.

Public service isn’t easy these days, nor appreciated very much—never any thanks, but there is lots of criticism toward government, city workers and elected officials. The police in Central City and Black Hawk really do a great job and customers are very safe when they visit our two cities.

Bottom line is that players are always under observation and you’re probably safer in a casino than any pubic venue.

Safety has always been a high concern in casinos. Cameras watch the parking lots, gaming areas and gaming pits.

What you won’t find in casinos are drinking fountains and clocks.

The cocktail waitresses really do a great job of keeping customers happy, and they must walk a hundred miles a week carrying those trays of beverages. They should wear Fitbit bracelets to record their mileage. Make sure you give them a chip or two when they drop off your drinks. Like most people who serve the gaming industry, they work for a low wage and depend upon tips to survive. Same goes for the parking attendants. Carve out $5 on each trip for a tip fund and leave a few dollars for the working folks who make the trip so much fun. Good karma just pays off. Cards have eyes and ears, and the card gods know more than you think.

Cards are so mysterious—invented by the Egyptians centuries ago, they have a mind of their own. I’ll watch the late-night poker games on TV—one player is winning, and then other players will start catching hands, double up and pull ahead of the leader. Luck is such an important factor.

Good cards make the player, but the player needs to know what to do with the cards and how to play the hands.   Patience seems to be one of the best virtues that a gambler can have in any of the table games. Take advantage of any splits and double-downs in blackjack. Bet the break in a buffalo blackjack game when the dealer shows a 5 or 6, but only if you have a good hand.

It is not a good idea to double-down against a dealer’s 10 card—it is so tempting to double on a 10 or 11, but I would caution against that play because you may be doubling into a 20.

We look forward to a great new year. Some great casino New Year’s Eve parties are approaching. A great thank you to the bus drivers who carry so many people safely up the mountain roads to their favorite locations.

Gambling stocks look good and you can purchase stock in most of the local casinos, along with famous names like Las Vegas Sands.

Japan is heading toward legalizing gambling casinos, and Wynn, MGM and LV Sands are the leaders in developing these Japanese markets, providing huge new revenues.

Macau has been great for the Vegas crowd, but China has just cracked down on ATM credit for VIP players, and that has hurt the Macau high-roller crowd. We can expect President elect Trump to press China on many fronts and they may retaliate on some trade and other issues, including Macau gambling. There is slight risk for Nevada players in the China market, but Japan is a gigantic new market.

Wall Street is the largest casino in the world. My inclination is to go “all in” and get ready for inflation and improved jobs and prosperity. We have been dancing on the deck of the Titanic, but I believe that we have cleared most of the icebergs and we’re heading toward a safer place.

Let’s keep the band playing in 2017. Happy holidays!

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