35 Million Loan Paid Off, Four Years in Advance

Wed, 25 Aug 2010 19:20
Recently, there were news of ongoing disputes regarding illegal casino operation in some states, leading to court battles between casino operators and state officials who are saying that some operators have clearly violated the law.  This year, some casino and gaming companies have also claimed losses because of increased expenses, among many other reasons declared in their end of quarter financial reports.  But at a time when the industry seems to be struggling with many issues at hand, a casino in Battle Creek, Michigan startled many after it was able to pull in a lot of revenue from its slot machines in less than a year, enough to to pay what they borrowed in full. With this success story, some are saying that the casino industry is still strong despite the weakening economic data in different corners of the world.  The news also seems to suggest that slots remain to be one of the more popular casino games around.  In fact, slots are considered to be one of the top earners for casinos, providing about 70 percent of the total revenues.  With this, many are hopeful that casino gaming and other entertainment ventures will be strong for the coming years. The FireKeepers Casino and its profitable venture The FireKeepers Casino started operations on August 2009, after borrowing a total of $35 million from the local revenue. Now, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, the owners of the casino, found the venture to profitable that they managed to pay off the full loan – four years ahead of schedule. How is this possible? Although the casino did not actually release exact figures, FireKeepers did pay off $1.93 million to the Local Revenue Sharing Board for its first five months of operation. The amount is the required two percent slot machine profits, which suggests that they had about $96.5 million earnings for the first five months, less possible expenses or other cash disbursements. FireKeepers has under its roof over 2,600 slot machines that could earn as much as $7,000 each month  per slot machine. The amount was calculated via the same amount paid by the casino owners to the local revenue sharing board. The Tribal Chairperson Homer A. Mandoka commented that the loan payment made four years before its due date "attest to the success of FireKeepers Casino." They have also decided to contribute four percent of the slot revenues to the State of Michigan. The casino's marketing director Michael Facenda commented about the quality of their service, adding that this is one of the reasons why FireKeepers have achieved excellent heights. He said that, "At FireKeepers, we strive to offer great quality service. We're pleased with the facility and our progress to date." The tribe currently has 1,100 or more members located at the Pine Creek Reservation. Casino venture greatly profitable FireKeepers is not the only entity that attests to the success of the casino venture. Another establishment owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Four Winds Casino, reported a two percent sharing revenue of 6.22 million for its 12 months of operation. Its slots amounting to 3,000 pieces have been able to produce roughly 311 million dollars during its year-long operation.

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