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The American Dreams Casino

December 14, 2010

Las Vegas has bitten the hand that fed it. In the past, people could walk into a casino in nothing nicer than a Donald Duck sweatshirt, a yard of your favorite cocktail, and shoes (had it been raining). However, that folksy charm disappeared after Las Vegas was glamorized in that film, Honeymoon in Vegas. How is a person supposed to feel relaxed and at-home when Celine Dion is absolutely killing her New Day show not a mile away? Ridiculous.

There are still great places, but they are few and far between. For every one bastion of the old-school, like Margaritaville or Fashion Cafe, there are ten ridiculous places. So how do we find our way home from this over-priced mess? I developed a business plan for a casino that reeked of simplicity. After many, myself included, were displaced during Katrina, people needed a few things. One of those things was entertainment. A few more were homes and the timely recovery of their children’s corpses, but seeing as how we weren’t handy and didn’t own scuba gear, we chose to focus on the former. My cousin Kinder and I chose to open a casino in the southeastern United States. Caledonia, Mississippi to be specific. Easily the nicest city in the United States to rank above the 78th percentile of both middle-school football jersey sales and non-racial lynchings.

With the collective $720 we had been given by FEMA, we created our dream casino. The American Dream casino. Consequently, we the sign we hung outside of the barn said simply “American Dreams Casino.” It was a great sign. We found out that it would also light up if it caught fire. Now, opening a casino is no small feat, but with our bankroll, we could afford to throw money at any problems we encountered.

Now, as I had mentioned, Vegas alienated the people that made it what it was. We knew that if,people began to slightly sour on our casino 70 years after it opened, it would be an unmitigated failure. We were “in it to win it.” So much so that we made that phrase the tagline for the casino. So we couldn’t just build rich, we had to build smart.

So without further ado, let’s discuss the operational aspects of the American Dreams Casino.

Children:

I understand that Vegas is a great place to take your children and teach them about craps and horse handicapping. However, they should NOT be on the gaming floor. They are too young and too easy to kick if your trifecta gets killed by a lazy Asian jockey. So, at American Dreams, we have a special day care center. It’s a the crawlspace under the building, only removed the wood latticework that surrounded it and replaced it with razor wire so the children would be securely contained. People don’t want to gamble if they think there’s a chance their kids haven wandered into the swamp. This facility was often underutilized, as few children ever came, so the odd child could usually be taken care of by handcuffing (or ziptying, if you’re a coddler) them to the back of the coat closet. That way, the child can sleep under the coats, and if they wake up, there are tons of hangers to play with.

Gaming:

Pai Gow Poker? I hear those words, and I fear that my pappy, Big Dale, is going to bust through that door knee-deep in one of his ‘Nam flashbacks. And many of my friends feel the same way. Big Dale had a reputation. We wanted simple, American games. Like rock, paper, scissors. All but the simplest men can pick it up in a matter of hours, and it’s a great wagering game, for both players and spectators. Initially, all patrons bet on the man, until Little Dale (unrelated), told us that we can bet on the man OR the symbol. After five weeks of follow-up via email, we got it. What Little Dale had meant was: You can bet on the man OR the symbol. With a house take guaranteed not to exceed 40%, everyone leaves a winner. Except for people who don’t have a financial stake in the casino. But they’re paying for the experience more than they are anything else.

Sports betting has never been hotter. However, if you can’t watch TV anymore because an owl took your DirecTV dish, you’re left without a lot of options. At least, you were. What’s growing faster than football, NASCAR, and rock, paper, scissors combined? America’s “appetite” for live competitive eating. Down in these parts though, we just call it “eating.” The competitive aspect is incidental since we LOVE our food. But due to some contractual issues with boards overseeing competitive eating, we couldn’t use the more traditional foods. But when the Dear Lord shuts a door, he kicks out a window. That’s how we found ourselves in bed with our first sponsor, Chipotle. It was something of a mixed blessing though, as the name recognition of Chipotle was wonderful, but the size of the burritos was prohibitive. When people are gambling on outcomes, they want to bet on big numbers, like 60 hot dogs, or 47 chicken wings. Hence our country’s hatred of soccer. People are less inclined to become excited when the outcomes are simply 1 or 2. Or in the case of Little Dale, 4. He should have known better.

Food:

Historically, gamblers were more than satisfied with the end pieces that the eating contestants couldn’t consume or keep in their mouths, but once our eating contests disappeared, we decided to go in another direction and offer people clean, prepared food in exchange for money. Like Sbarro does. Almost immediately, the American Dreams Casino became home to the North American flagship Sbarro. Eat it, Times Square Store #4412!!!

Celebration was short lived, as many patrons felt the change was a step backwards from the original food service outlet, so now we just sell dried apple rings and Andy Capp’s Hot Fries out of the day care center.

Entertainment:

It has always been the thinking of ownership that the rock, paper, scissors competitions would bring a drama and sense of exclusivity to the American Dreams Casino that would rival current Las Vegas entertainment staples such as the Pussycat Dolls and Siegfried. Beyond that, simply watching the children in the day care center has proven to be a captivating source of entertainment for 35% of our male patrons.

A dartboard was introduced briefly, but when the darts weren’t stolen, they were often used against the staff to rob the casino of apple rings and, on occasion, children residing in the day care center.

The incorporation of a Back to the Future pinball machine was short-lived. Little Dale, weighing 390 lbs., collapsed into the machine while attempting to lift his 5th Chipotle burrito, relegating the machine to the scrap pile.

Nightlife:

After a woeful misunderstanding of what “bottle service” was, an ATF raid resulted in the revocation of our liquor license, so any alcohol provision and consumption are at the discretion and risk of the casino patrons. Further, after the “bottle service” incident, there is a zero-tolerance policy on glass, which gives the casino a charming beach atmosphere.

Taking the beach motif a step further, a casino host will drape a sheet over an casino patron for a nominal fee ($.10) for something we have branded the “cabana experience.”

Summation:

Through ingenuity, recognition of a gap in the market, and an understanding of our customer base, the American Dreams Casino and Gambleteria has become successful beyond our wildest dreams. Despite operating out of a condemned 2,100 sf schoolhouse, annual revenues have grown to almost $14 million per year, with over 98% flow-thru to the bottom line, creating an asset worth more than $102 million when valued at a conservative 7.25% capitalization rate.

Fuck yeah.

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