Subject: New UL: Arizona resorts pre-wired for casino gambling Here's another entry for th

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Subject: New UL: Arizona resorts pre-wired for casino gambling From: (Greg Franklin) Here's another entry for the FAQ ftp site. I found it fortuitously on the front page of the Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Ariz.). This ought to tell you what we consider newsworthy down here. In the FAQ file, the closest relative I found was the story of tobacco companies in the 1960s allegedly anticipating the federal legalization of marijuana. Again, the best part of this article comes at the end, when the befuddled officials try to explain how/why these stories get passed around. [Begin article] The Arizona Republic Saturday, April 3, 1993 VALLEY WIRED FOR CASINOS ONLY A TALE (Close look finds old rumor untrue) by Richard Robertson, The Arizona Republic "Is it true?" the barber asked the man in his chair last week. "Are the resorts around here already wired for slot machines?" Gerald Murphy, whose firm, McCarthy Constructors, built the swank Phoenician and Princess resorts, laughed. "I've been hearing that question for 10 years!" So have lots of other people. Not only barbers, but building inspectors, politicians, cops and resort managers. The recent debate over reservation casinos has reinvigorated the rumor mill. Are wires secretly lurking under the floors and in the walls of Arizona's other major resorts, just waiting for a day when casinos are legalized statewide? The Arizona Republic and News Channel 3's Cameron Harper teamed up to determine whether the persistent story is true. The conclusion: it's an urban myth. "I call it the Great Phoenix Myth because it just isn't true and it (the story) never goes away," Murphy says. Someone even called a KTAR Radio talk show last month to ask developer-turned-governor Fife Symington whether he had pre-wired the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. He assured the caller he had not. The Republic and News Channel 3 inspected a number of resorts, including the Ritz-Carlton, and had experts check blueprints in the various cities' building departments. The Princess Resort spent $600 to roll back the carpet in its main ballroom, so reporters could look underneath. Scottsdale building officials, William King and Anthony Floyd, looked over the electrical diagrams for the Princess and other Scottsdale resorts and concluded no wires or conduit are hiding under the concrete. "It's important for people to know that we built this place as a resort hotel ... not a casino," said Steve Ast, the Princess' general manager. This is not the first time the rumor has been probed. Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater remembers the question being raised nearly seven years ago. "The city hired a consultant to go out and look, then we sent our own inspectors out," he said. "We looked at every resort in the city, and we found that not a one of them was wired for gambling. Not a single one." The town of Paradise Valley responded to the rumors in July 1986 by passing an ordinance banning casino-style gambling. "We decided that rather than try to figure out whether something was wired for gambling, we would just say there's not going to be any gambling in our town whether it's wired or not," former Paradise Valley Mayor Robert Plenge said. However, it really doesn't make any difference whether the resorts were pre-wired or not. It is a simple matter to convert an existing building. Exhibit A is the Prescott Sheraton Resort and Conference Center, the only hotel-casino in the state. The 162-room hotel sits atop a hill on the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe's reservation, on the eastern edge of Prescott. Last summer, on the eve of a gaming compact between Arizona and tribe, the hotel's Bucky O'Neill Lounge became the Bucky O'Neill Casino & Lounge. (The spelling of Buckey's first name wasn't fixed, though.) Now, there are 116 slot and video-poker machines filling the roughly 2,000 square feet that used to be cozy tables, DJ booth and a dance floor. The bar remains. "We made the modifications in about 10 days," said William Grace, whose company, W.M. Grace Construction Co., owns the hotel and Sheraton franchise. The tribe leases the casino space from him. Grace said he was certain in 1987 when he was building the hotel that casino-style gaming on reservations was inevitable. But he didn't pre-wire the hotel. "It would be wasted costs to have done it in advance," Grace said. "Any hotel in Arizona is ready with the power that it already has." Grace explained that the electronic gaming machines need minimal power to operate, so heavy-duty circuits are not needed. It is a simple matter, he said, to run a few wires through the ceiling and bring them down through hollow poles to run a whole row of slot machines. So, why does the rumor about the resorts being wired persist? "Maybe it seems like fun (to repeat the rumor)," pondered McCarthy's president. "More than anything else, I don't think anyone wants to talk about the facts ... and most people really don't understand buildings." So, what other gaming secrets are lurking out there? Well, some folks in Prescott say, there's a huge underground casino beneath the Prescott Sheraton, with a tunnel that connects it to the nearby Veterans Affairs Hospital .... [End article] -- Greg "Mockingbird" Franklin "Interracial mixing encompasses a lot lot more than mingling between G7 races." -- robohen


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