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When Will Gambling Return To The Isle?


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Everytime I see Tillman's convention center on the seawall, I can't help but think that it just looks like a casino. According to an islander that I met recently, the convention center has already been wired for slot machines.

Now that Tillman has officially taken over the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, how long will it be before Texas allows him to open his casino here? Do you think it's possible?

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Everytime I see Tillman's convention center on the seawall, I can't help but think that it just looks like a casino. According to an islander that I met recently, the convention center has already been wired for slot machines.

Now that Tillman has officially taken over the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, how long will it be before Texas allows him to open his casino here? Do you think it's possible?

I just had a conversation with a person who is very invloved with the island this past weekend during the "Dickens on the Strand" functions. They said there is a certain Mr. Trump and Tillman buying up property through out the insland and Kemah. They also said that this will be the only two places in the state gambling will be allowed. Would not be suprised to see casinos popping up during the next decade.

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I'm not sure it's such a hot idea, but I wouldn't be surprised if limited gambling is eventually legalized. First, the state is going to continue to need money for schools and such, but politicians are terrified of raising taxes to get it. Gambling will be sold as an easy fix. Second, the argument will be made that the casinos in Lake Chuck and elsewhere in Louisiana are drawing business (and tax revenues) that would otherwise go to Texas.

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Yea, those low-rent scuzball need something better than working for the Govt. or Wal-Mart.

You've got to tell me your secrect, how do you continue to get away with making comments like this on this board without any repercussion? Everyone else here tries to be at least halfway cordial in their reponses.

Edited by J.A.S.O.N.
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I say this in partly in jest, but given Galveston's blantly obvious problems, Gambling would be like pouring salt onto a open wound.

Gambling is no panacea.

More like a diease.

I met with some folks in Vegas about a development out there. The topic of Galveston came up and they were luke warm at best. They can make money, without a shadow of a doubt, by building new in Vegas. They paid off the entire debt of the New York New York Casino in less than two years. And, in Louisiana and presumably Texas in their minds, success is hit or miss.

Moral of the story, while some want gaming here in Texas and it would certainly help (short term) the tax base problem, i don't think there will be the rush of casinos to open.

There will be those that build and see it as a way to get rich. But unless and until the big casinos decide it is worth the risk, all we'll have is second rate gambling halls that make their money off of workers cashing their paychecks at the casinos. Have you ever been to Lake Charles? Beyond La Burge du Lac, the others are crap. It is very depressing to go into Isle of Capri and see only 5 tables open and having them filled with people that appear to need to win the next hand to afford dinner. That kind of gambling is awful.

Edited by The New Juniper
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"Slots for Tots" is one of the planks of Kinky's platform in the goobernatorial race. Legalized slot machines to help support schools and increase teacher pay.

I'm generally anti-gambling, although I have been to Las Vegas and many casinos in Louisiana...and Reno...and Arizona too come to think of it. I know that it's no panacea, and for many it's a really devastating addiction...but for most it's just harmless entertainment. I don't think it would be too bad to have gambling legalized in just one or two places. Galveston would be perfect, in my opinion, given its history. Who wouldn't want to play a little blackjack or some craps in the Balinese Room, with the big band wailing away?

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I met with some folks in Vegas about a development out there. The topic of Galveston came up and they were luke warm at best. They can make money, without a shadow of a doubt, by building new in Vegas. They paid off the entire debt of the New York New York Casino in less than two years. And, in Louisiana and presumably Texas in their minds, success is hit or miss.

Moral of the story, while some want gaming here in Texas and it would certainly help (short term) the tax base problem, i don't think there will be the rush of casinos to open.

There will be those that build and see it as a way to get rich. But unless and until the big casinos decide it is worth the risk, all we'll have is second rate gambling halls that make their money off of workers cashing their paychecks at the casinos. Have you ever been to Lake Charles? Beyond La Burge du Lac, the others are crap. It is very depressing to go into Isle of Capri and see only 5 tables open and having them filled with people that appear to need to win the next hand to afford dinner. That kind of gambling is awful.

I don't think Tilman does (or at least attempts to do) anything second rate. This guy has went out on a limb with Galveston when this place was a real hell hole and he delivered. We all know there was a period in time when no one wanted a piece of Galveston. His family used to bring first rate entertainment to the island at their illegal establishments, imagine what he would do if gambling was legal.

Edited by J.A.S.O.N.
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Can someone please give me the scoop on the Tillman miracles in Galveston?

What exactly has he done?

Exactly.

I also agree that he rarely does anything second rate. However, a Fertitta "casino" in Galveston will look like this:

Mostly slots and electronic gaming that doesn't require human staff. A few table games to satisfy those looking to shoot dice, etc.

At every corner of the gaming floor will be a restaurant. Landry's, Joe's, Saltgrass, etc.

Look, nothing wrong with that. Just his style. The Golden Nugget is being gutted to make room for one of each of his restaurants. For him, everything is a vehicle to get more folks to eat his food. He does it better than anyone (save for the Pappas brothers). You've got to hand it to him. He did it in Kemah.

Let's just not go overboard....

Edited by The New Juniper
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Can someone please give me the scoop on the Tillman miracles in Galveston?

What exactly has he done?

San Luis, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Saltgrass, 2 Joe's Crabshacks, Landry's, Rainforest Cafe, Galveston's new convention center..

He bought and demolished the Seahorse Inn and also the old Moody Convention Center on Seawall Blvd. to

make room for his retail and restaurants projects.

The Galveston Daily News reported that he and George Mitchell are planning something big together for Pier 19

He was going to build a water park (Schlitterbahn got the bid)

He was also going to renovate the Flagship, (which he actually bought) into a 19th century hotel and "pleasure pier", until legal issues got in the way.

Being that you are a Houstonian, you may take these restaurants for granted, but believe me, it is a luxury here in Galveston. The CEO of Applebee's, (who is from Galveston and still has a home here) talked recently to the Daily News about being reluctant to open his own restaurant franchise here because of the demographics. To be honest I think he's going to open one here because Chili's is coming to town, but I've digressed...

http://galvestondailynews.com/story.lasso?...64e4fceece2f92b

Edited by J.A.S.O.N.
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^^^^Wow, a Applebee's. Anyway, for gambling in Galveston? One simple answer. Never.

I only mentioned Applebee's to emphesize the magnitude of what Tillman is doing, not because it's a great restaurant. I was essentially trying to point out that a fellow Galvestonian of Tilman's is wary of opening one of his restaurants on the island, when Tillman has opened several, and continues to invest in the island.

Edited by J.A.S.O.N.
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DAMN! You guys are getting a Chili's???? I'm moving to the island because we don't have nearly enough skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop troughs here. Will they have slots too? :lol:

B)

Ok, you missed the gist of my comment. There was no bragging of Chili's coming to town on my part.

Let me break it down for you using your terms...

The Applebee's CEO is only opening his "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop trough" here because the competing "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop trough" (Chili's) is entering the island market. What makes this pitiful is that the Applebee's CEO is a Galvestonian, and had ample opportunity to do this long ago.

My point being, Galveston has a hard time attracting even the "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop troughs", and Tillman continues to bring in restaurants regardless of what others do.

K?

Edited by J.A.S.O.N.
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Ok, you missed the gist of my comment. There was no bragging of Chili's coming to town on my part.

Let me break it down for you using your terms...

The Applebee's CEO is only opening his "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop trough" here because the competing "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop trough" (Chili's) is entering the island market. What makes this pitiful is that the Applebee's CEO is a Galvestonian, and had ample opportunity to do this long ago.

My point being, Galveston has a hard time attracting even the "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop troughs", and Tillman continues to bring in restaurants regardless of what others do.

K?

On the other foot, I've eaten at some great independent restaurants in Galveston. :)

B)

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Ok, you missed the gist of my comment. There was no bragging of Chili's coming to town on my part.

Let me break it down for you using your terms...

The Applebee's CEO is only opening his "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop trough" here because the competing "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop trough" (Chili's) is entering the island market. What makes this pitiful is that the Applebee's CEO is a Galvestonian, and had ample opportunity to do this long ago.

My point being, Galveston has a hard time attracting even the "skanky 3rd rate throw-away fast food slop troughs", and Tillman continues to bring in restaurants regardless of what others do.

K?

I think you are letting them get to you. Your point is well made. Time will tell whether Fertitta has made a good decision. Who even knows if the Galveston restaurants are profitable?

Chili's is going on the site of the Emerald, which is going up rapidly now. That will be good for the East End.

But, i digress as well.

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Being that you are a Houstonian, you may take these restaurants for granted, but believe me, it is a luxury here in Galveston.

We have a weekend house in Jamica Beach. The true local places like Shrimp n Stuff, Clary's, Richards, Shelly's, Mario's, etc. are what keep me coming down there.

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The Maceo-Fertitta Crime Family

The Fertittas descend from the notorious Maceo brothers’ crime family, who

terrorized the island of Galveston during the wide-open era. Sam and Rosario Maceo got their start by smuggling alcohol during Prohibition. After Prohibition was repealed they

graduated to drug smuggling. In 1937, Sam Maceo was indicted in a massive narcotics

investigation. By the 1950s, the Galveston crime family was in decline, and they were

reputedly kicking tributary payments upstairs to Mafioso Carlos Marcello in New

Orleans. Marcello was reputed to control the rackets all up and down the Texas Gulf

Coast, as well as inland metropolises of Dallas and Houston. Marcello was also linked to

industry through Houston oilman Lenoir Josey, among others.

As in Jefferson County, ninety miles up the Coast to the east of Galveston, the

Maceos operated their gambling establishments right out in the open by compromising

the local power structure: judges, politicians, and law enforcement. Pete Salvato—an

associate of the Maceos who ran his own casino—told one reporter about the family’s

relationship to the lawmen: “Paid them off, every month, in cash. They used the law to

chase the competition out of town.” The Maceos also used murder, mayhem, and threats

to muscle out potential competitors in the legitimate businesses they owned.3 As the

Maceo brothers aged, control of their crime family passed to their nephews, Victor and

Anthony Fertitta.

The Maceo family had long-standing connections with organized crime in Jefferson

County. These ties were made public after the Texas State Attorney General obtained an

injunction against Western Union that prevented the telegraph company from

transmitting horse-racing information in to the state. When the Maceos continued to offer

gambling on horse races, the state legislature investigated. It found that a Beaumont man

named Felix J. DeMary owned a small café in Louisiana, just across the river from

Orange, Texas. DeMary’s Louisiana operation obtained racing information from a wire

service controlled by the Carlos Marcello family in New Orleans. DeMary had contracted

with Sam Maceo to transmit the information to Maceo’s Turf Grill in Galveston via a

direct telephone hook-up.

When the state Attorney General shut down the Maceo crime family’s gambling

operations on Galveston in 1957, many of the Galveston mobsters moved east to

Jefferson County. As mobsters tend to do, they branched out into ostensibly legitimate

businesses, which were often linked to mob activities. For example, several of the

immigrants from Galveston opened glass businesses. Legitimate glass replacement is

wonderfully synergistic with illegitimate protection racket. If you have to break

someone’s window to get them to pay protection, you then get to charge them again for

replacing the glass. In Beaumont, testimony to the James Committee revealed that the

Fertitta family ran a market that sold alcohol illegally, even to minors, and operated a real

estate office as a front for gambling.

Other members of the Fertitta family opened up shop in Las Vegas. The family

already had ties to Vegas. Sam Maceo had helped secure a Nevada gaming license for

Moe Dalitz, when the Cleveland mobster moved to Las Vegas in the 1940s.5 Maceo

nephew Frank Fertitta Jr. went to Vegas in the late 1950s, shortly after the Texas Rangers

broke up the Galveston concession…..

….Today, Frank Fertitta Jr. and his sons—Lorenzo and Frank III—run Station’s

Casino, which operates a number of casinos nation-wide. In the 1990s, Fertitta was one

of the largest contributors to the Republican Party. Station’s was driven out of Missouri

in 2000, after Michael Lazaroff, Station’s Missouri lobbyist, was discovered to be …

influencing Missouri Gaming Commission decisions. Conveniently, Carl Thomas was

killed in a mysterious one-car accident, shortly before he was scheduled to testify in that

hearing about XXXX’s role in the skimming racket.6

Frank Fertitta and his cousin Tilman Fertitta have maintained a major business

presence in southeast Texas, representing the third generation of the Maceo family’s

dubious enterprises. Tilman Fertitta began his entrepreneurial career in Houston in the

1970s, engaging in a series of businesses that have traditionally been popular with

racketeers: pornography and adult bookstores, coin-operated video games, and

construction.7 Fertitta lived high on the hog, running up bank loans of over $10 million,

and then weaseling out of them after the mob-driven S&L scandal led to widespread bank

failures. This happy circumstance allowed Fertitta to pay back only pennies on the dollar

to the federal taxpayers who insured the banks’ depositors. “Thank God the banks

failed,” Fertitta once gushed, a remarkable comment indeed from a man who had once sat

on the board of a failed S&L.

More recently Fertitta has involved himself in shady waterfront development deals up

and down the Texas Gulf Coast. Much of his enterprise has been financed by taxpayer

dollars. When Tilman Fertitta is asked about his family’s organized crime ties, he

responds with the classic evasion: “I don’t know. What’s the Mafia? I never…what is

that? I’ve never seen the word Mafia used, though. That’s the first I’ve ever heard the

word Mafia used. They were in the gambling business.”

Fertitta aims to bring gambling back to Galveston, and admits that: “If I were a fish,

I’d be a shark.” Speaking of Galveston, the Maceo crime family’s traditional stomping

ground, Fertitta boasts: “I basically have the Island,” Tilman Fertitta has emerged as one of the dominant economic and political power

brokers on the Gulf Coast, and his influence even extends into Democratic national

politics. His cousin Frank Fertitta is one of the country’s biggest Republican contributors,

thus ensuring that the family has both parties tied up…

… While there are whispers that drug smuggling remains part of the family’s

business repertoire, there have been no indictments. In truth, smuggling may well be

besides the point by now. While the prominent Fertittas do still associate with unsavory

characters right and left, they are also raking in millions every year in clean money,

generated by apparently legitimate business enterprises. And you can buy politicians just

as well with clean money as you can dirty money. Either way, the Fertittas today remain

nearly untouchable on the Gulf Coast. In that sense, not much has changed since the

wide-open days.

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what's the source? just curious.

this was my favorite part:

"Tilman Fertitta began his entrepreneurial career in Houston in the

1970s, engaging in a series of businesses that have traditionally been popular with

racketeers: pornography and adult bookstores, coin-operated video games, and

construction.7 Fertitta lived high on the hog, running up bank loans of over $10 million,

and then weaseling out of them after the mob-driven S&L scandal led to widespread bank

failures. This happy circumstance allowed Fertitta to pay back only pennies on the dollar

to the federal taxpayers who insured the banks’ depositors. “Thank God the banks

failed,” Fertitta once gushed, a remarkable comment indeed from a man who had once sat

on the board of a failed S&L."

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what's the source? just curious.

this was my favorite part:

"Tilman Fertitta began his entrepreneurial career in Houston in the

1970s, engaging in a series of businesses that have traditionally been popular with

racketeers: pornography and adult bookstores, coin-operated video games, and

construction.7 Fertitta lived high on the hog, running up bank loans of over $10 million,

and then weaseling out of them after the mob-driven S&L scandal led to widespread bank

failures. This happy circumstance allowed Fertitta to pay back only pennies on the dollar

to the federal taxpayers who insured the banks’ depositors. “Thank God the banks

failed,” Fertitta once gushed, a remarkable comment indeed from a man who had once sat

on the board of a failed S&L."

http://hal.lamar.edu/~BROWNTF/lecture-notes-OC-pt2.pdf

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I grew up with the knowledge that the "mob" was in town, but I had no idea this family was throwing this much weight around!

"Al Capone sent his main man Frank Nitti to Galveston to intimidate the Maceos into allowing Capone to "invest" in their businesses. The Maceos received word of Nitti's impending arrival and they decided that they would flat-out refuse any offers from Nitti on behalf of Capone to take a piece of their illegal gambling pie.

They decided to call on the skills of the most ruthless member of their family's gang, Maceo In-Law, Anthony Fertitta. Nitti arrived in town and was introduced to the Maceos and to Anthony Fertitta, Fertitta told Nitti that they needed to talk and he took Nitti for a drive in his car. The two men were gone for several hours and it is not clear what events took place during that time. All that is known is that Nitti was dropped at the city limits very late that evening, he appeared to be shaken but alive and well. No one knows what took place during the car ride but when Nitti made it back to Chicago, he told Capone that the Fertittas were no pushovers and it would require an all out war to move in on their territory. Capone never pursued it any further."

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  • 1 month later...
Everytime I see Tillman's convention center on the seawall, I can't help but think that it just looks like a casino. According to an islander that I met recently, the convention center has already been wired for slot machines.

Now that Tillman has officially taken over the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, how long will it be before Texas allows him to open his casino here? Do you think it's possible?

I have heard the same.

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  • 1 year later...

Our legislature was voting on it today, and last I heard the margins were like 62% yea, to 38% nay. So, I hope it will pass, i have been at work all day, and haven't bothered to look it up.

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Our legislature was voting on it today, and last I heard the margins were like 62% yea, to 38% nay. So, I hope it will pass, i have been at work all day, and haven't bothered to look it up.

Where did you hear they are voting today? Everything I have read just says the two legislators discussed the bill in a news conference today.

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Where did you hear they are voting today? Everything I have read just says the two legislators discussed the bill in a news conference today.

Red is correct. No voting. Just B.S. in the legislature of Tx. Who cares, just give us some video poker and slot machines and Texas Hold 'em. Or would the Lord take us into oblivion if we gambled in Texas???? I think not.

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Where did you hear they are voting today? Everything I have read just says the two legislators discussed the bill in a news conference today.

Michael Berry was talking about it day before yesterday on 950am, I swear he gave those numbers. Unless I was hearing things and he was pulling my leg.

If I mistyped I apologize, I know I heard him say it though.

HA HA, the light bulb just came on over my head. He obviously was doing his own polling of listeners, but I know he stated it was the Tx. legislature doing the voting.

Edited by TJones
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just what louisiana needs....more damage to their economy. texans make up almost 60% of west louisiana casino customers. but it helps us out plenty.....for those who feared the Maimification of Galveston in the past....have a lot more to worry about now. i know that texas gambling is iminent.

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just what louisiana needs....more damage to their economy. texans make up almost 60% of west louisiana casino customers. but it helps us out plenty.....for those who feared the Maimification of Galveston in the past....have a lot more to worry about now. i know that texas gambling is iminent.

Actually, I remember when gambling hit Louisiana. The casinos keep the Shreveport-Bossier area quite busy. They provide jobs that wouldn't otherwise be there, and Texans, particularly Metroplexers, stay in the hotels and dine in their restaurants. Video poker is throughout Louisiana providing the same. Yes, there are people who are "gambleholics" but you can't do anything about that. There are people like me who enjoy playing every now and again ... not using my rent money so to speak, but putting a couple of hundred bucks in my wallet and spending it on gambling entertainment. I don't thinking gambling in Texas would be nearly the horrible picture that is being painted. But, of course, everything comes with a price.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Gambling would be a bad for most folks who live in Galveston. Property values and rents would go up. Only the landowners would benifit from this type of activity. Most of the hospitality workers would have to drive in from lower rent neighborhoods on the mainland.

I think Tilman bought the two pieces of Seawall property, The Seahorse and The Moody Civic Center, just so he could gleefully tear down former Moody family structures. Fertitta doesn't partner well with anyone, so George Mitchell should be forwarned.

A friend of mine that has an interest in the old Falstaff Brewery buildings approached Tilman Fertitta about a partnership. He was told that Tilman was interested in the property but that under no circumstances would he consider a partnership. Tilman only works alone.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Red is correct. No voting. Just B.S. in the legislature of Tx. Who cares, just give us some video poker and slot machines and Texas Hold 'em. Or would the Lord take us into oblivion if we gambled in Texas???? I think not.

This would be the best thing that ever happened as far as Galveston is concerned. A "Tourist Destination" needs to have something as a draw card, and gambling is the ticket. Also, can you even imagine the amount of money this would generate for the city of Houston?? Hey, what have you all got against making money???

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Also, can you even imagine the amount of money this would generate for the city of Houston?? Hey, what have you all got against making money???

Money generated for whom? The people who live in Galveston wouldn't "get" anything accept a higher tax bill as property valuations rose.

If I already lived in Galveston, I'd be against it. As a potential (small) investor in Galveston, I'm not against it, and am sorta-kinda looking forward to it as something else to "do" in Galveston. Even though I don't gamble much.

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Money generated for whom? The people who live in Galveston wouldn't "get" anything accept a higher tax bill as property valuations rose.

If I already lived in Galveston, I'd be against it. As a potential (small) investor in Galveston, I'm not against it, and am sorta-kinda looking forward to it as something else to "do" in Galveston. Even though I don't gamble much.

Money generated for people in Galveston who get jobs. Being from the Lake Charles area I can attest to the positive impact that gambling had on that area. Lake Charles is the one that will suffer when gambling comes to Texas.

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