Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Casino executives look for promising 2011

Coast casino executives are looking for a more prosperous year in 2011.

The year now coming to a close included the negative impacts of a struggling national economy and the BP oil spill. But the business predictions about the new year are upbeat.

The week between Christmas and New Year's Day is traditionally a busy one for the casino industry, and this week is no exception.

"Everybody is off work, visiting family. They have a little extra Christmas cash in their pockets. Typically a pretty good week for the casino world," said Chris Kern, Hard Rock Casino Biloxi's Marketing Director.

Kern said predictions for the new year are generally positive. 2010 will be remembered as a year of challenges.

"We were kind of hoping the economic recession would lift a little bit, and we were hopeful coming into the summer. Then, of course, we had the oil spill in the Gulf, which obviously kept a lot of tourists away, particularly during those critical summer months," Kern explained.

"We're here catering to the locals that live here and work here," said Boomtown Casino Marketing Director Sunita Sailor.

That local reputation Boomtown Casino caters to may help explain why that property didn't experience a serious drop in business during the oil spill.

"Well, we don't have a hotel. And so I think most of our customers come locally and were staying informed about what was going on. And we were just hoping for the best," said Sailor.

As the New Year begins, the coast casino with the biggest expansions plans is the Palace. A construction project, already well underway, will expand the gaming area, improve the hotel facilities and add restaurant and retail space.

"The casino industry has historically been a little resilient when it comes to recessions. It took a little while, but it certainly got to us. And we certainly felt the pinch this year," said Kern.

But the promise of a new year brings predictions of an ongoing turnaround.

"I would definitely say that we're optimistic and upbeat going into 2011. We hope the residual effects of getting those tourists back to the coast after the oil spill are going to continue in 2011," said the Hard Rock executive.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For marriage to work, it takes two to tango

I have a simple metric for making a determination. Marriages need love, trust, honor, respect and desire. The people in them also need to embody the adjective forms of those words: lovable, trustworthy, honorable, respectable and desirable. If one of the persons stops being those things, or stops working to be those things, the marriage will suffer. — D.R.

On warming to flawed parents — We were brought up by a loving mother, and a father who was cranky and cold. All three of us longed for a doting dad. I finally decided he suffered, for whatever reason, from Tiny Little Heart Syndrome — there was only room in it for my mother.

Over the years I observed that the doting-dad/daddy's-little-girl relationship was not always a healthy one. Too much of a good thing can be as bad as too little. I also learned over the years that while our father was unable to relate to children, he was talented and ethical and funny and a rock we could depend on, and I know he did the best he could.

We had a wonderful friendship as adults, and my life was the better for his being part of it. Why was he the way he was? I don't know, but I do know that when he died at 89 I loved him with all my heart, and still miss him terribly. — Md.

On grieving for a grandchild not placed for adoption — My daughter became pregnant at 24 and, at the urging of her friends, made the decision to keep her baby. We are a close, middle-class family who were prepared to be supportive of her choice and to be there for her and her child. She talked herself into it because that's what others told her she "ought" to do.

Through the years, I have frequently been the primary caregiver, been there financially when things were difficult, and have been the one who has done homework, volunteered at school, and known all my grandchild's friends. I've basically been the parent, and while I adore my grandchild, had adoption been the choice, I know it would have been the best one for this child. Two parents who love this child and wanted this child so much, contact with the bio family if the bio family wants it, no regrets everyday because you know you kept the baby to make others happy, and knowing you've done what is really best for your child.

You have to understand, it isn't because I resent what I have needed to do; it is all about this child's life.

What no one thinks about in these situations is that women who "aren't ready to be mothers" aren't lying about that; they really aren't, and now, many grandparents are doing the job they had thought that daughter (or son) would step up and do. We're ready to be grandparents, not the parents.

If I had it to do over again, I would take my daughter out for a long drive and beg her to reconsider the decision to keep her child, not for my sake, but for her child's sake. — Anonymous