Tribal casino tries to dip into Laughlins customer base - Monday 27th of November 2006

When Nevadas first American Indian-run casino opened here in 1995, it didnt draw much attention. The Fort Mohave Tribal Council built the Avi for just $47 million and its 25,000-square-foot casino wasnt considered competition to the corporate-owned properties near the Colorado River gaming community.

But 11 years later, Laughlin casino operators are noticing.

"It doesnt really get reported much, but theyve probably been the most active in the market in terms of upgrading their product," Harrahs Laughlin General Manager Wade Fall said of the Avi, which is about 10 miles south of the Laughlin casino cluster near the Nevada-California border. When it opened, the tribe spent $2.3 million to build a bridge across the river to connect the casino with customers in Bullhead City, Ariz.

"Theyre doing a good job at taking a run at us," Fall said.

The Avi recently doubled the size of the casino and increased the number of hotel rooms to 455.

The Avi also enlarged its banquet and entertainment venues and added an eight-screen movie theater.

The Avi has six restaurants, a private white sand beach on the banks of the Colorado River, a recreational vehicle park and an 18-hole championship golf course.

Avi media manager K. Dee Ignatin said shes glad the competition knows the property is drawing customers.

"Were glad everyone is taking notice," Ignatin said. "We really view ourselves as the only true resort on the river. Were very competitive, but we do work together as a community. The Avi is considered a major competitor."

Because the Avi is a tribal casino, its gaming revenues are private and not included in the statistics reported monthly by the state. However, the casino is regulated by the Gaming Control Board and must comply with all state gaming statutes.

"We dont look at ourselves as a typical corporate entity," Ignatin said. "We can be much more responsive to the customer."

She said visitation has picked up since the expansion finished. Hotel occupancy was better than 90 percent between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Ignatin said.

"Our great strength is our appeal to families," Ignatin said. "We offer free boat parking."

During a recent fireworks show and celebration at the resort, Ignatin said town founder Don Laughlin flew his helicopter overhead.

"Even hes noticed us," she said.

Other news from around the same time

Free Drinks at Casinos - Monday 27th of November 2006

It stands to reason: If youre feeling no pain while standing in front of a slot machine, youll be le....

Casino puts puzzled petrels in a spin - Monday 27th of November 2006

They are not the first young things drawn to SkyCity Casinos bright lights - and left dazed by the e....

Casinos — legal or illegal? - Monday 27th of November 2006

There is no provision in the laws of Trinidad and Tobago which provides for the operation of casinos....

Right royale race to win casino bid - Monday 27th of November 2006

At least six developers and operators have joined the race to bring Las Vegas-style gaming to Yarmou....

UK govt clears latest 29 casino applications - Thursday 23rd of November 2006

About half of the casino owners who rushed in applications for additional venues ahead of new regul....

New Sun International casino to boost tourism in Cape - Thursday 23rd of November 2006

Cape Town - Sun Internationals newest casino complex, which opened yesterday in the country town of ....

Tien loses revamped Lantau casino bid - Thursday 23rd of November 2006

The government has refused to even consider building a casino anywhere in Hong Kong, siding with maj....

Gamblers jailed for $750,000 casino scam - Thursday 23rd of November 2006

Four Chinese nationals and an Australian citizen have all received jail sentences for their involvem....

Slot machine group Talarius sold to Australians for £137m - Thursday 23rd of November 2006

The operator of the Quicksilver chain of slot machine gaming centres agreed yesterday to be taken ov....

Casino Royale - Wednesday 9th of August 2006

WHO would have bet on it? Prince Harry has been spotted playing blackjack and roulette at a Bournemo....