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Topic: Indian casinos
Message: Posted by: MentaThought (Oct 2, 2004 08:28PM)
Seeing the "How tough is the Las Vegas market?" thread here reminded me of my curiousity about how the magic performing situation is regarding all the Native American Indian casinos here in California (and increasingly all over the USA -- I recently read that the biggest casino in the US is operated by Indians in the state of Connecticut.)
Non-US citizens might be interested to know that Native American Indians often live on parcels of land called "reservations" and, on these reservations, have a significant amount of tribal sovereignty from the non-Indian local/state/federal governments. Thus they're able to open gambling casinos, which for the most part are strictly restricted/regulated outside of the reservations.
I happen to live ten minutes away from one such casino which is, like so many others, now expanding to Vegas-like proportions with huge hotels and a "resort" atmosphere. Top international stars such as Julio Iglesias and others regularly appear as such venues.
Ironically, I'm not a gambler at all and have never entered any of these facilities.
My main concern is with the prospects for these casinos providing venues for working mentalists.
I think that the "Indian gaming" market could provide pro mentalists and magicians a great new market.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 2, 2004 10:31PM)
Here's a relevant thread for you: [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=54099&forum=44]Cafe thread... Casinos[/url]

- Donald
Message: Posted by: sammhoudini (Oct 3, 2004 12:04AM)
Interestingly enough, Copperfield will be here in my town and guess what the venue is?

The Pechanga Indian Casino.

MentaThought makes a good point!
Message: Posted by: R2 (Oct 3, 2004 08:37PM)
I have spent many a night in sweats with Tiquas, Navajos, Apache, Hopi, Zuni, and Papagos.

It was very rare that our brand of magic was accepted as respectful to their beliefs and society.

Having said this only two of the above mentioned owns or operates a casino.

Most of the casino directors or board of executives either are or aspire to be "Traditional Native Americans"....The traditionals don't like our magic.

I am not speculating, but speaking from personal experience.

My Brother Joaquin Ayala's team booked an event at Harrah's Ahk-Chin Casino in 1999, but the powers that be cancelled the event before even one ticket was sold.

I only mention all of this, so that you can have an understanding of the underlying perceptions in this market based upon my regional experience here in the southwest.

It is my belief that a mentalism show as you mentioned might be a harder sell....

Someone has to crack this market and why couldn't it be you? Go get 'em!

I suspect that we have more folks in here with similiar experiences as mine, but it is not often talked about due to political correctness.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 3, 2004 09:40PM)
Best bet would be an American Indian magician to break the ice properly BUT these guys are business men not Shaman...

'Traditionals' also don't use the term Native Americans...that's a guilty white guys PC term.

Most all the Pow Wows and Reservations I've been to...Indians are Indians...Native Americans are for the PC crowd, political rallys and those want to be polite, so they think.

I would say that the Indian boards and directors etc. are well aware of the value of a magic Show...dazzel them! Stay away from the mystical unless you know what you are talking about.

When Knott's Berry Farm wanted to present a Mystical Illusion Show they went to the tribes and got full input...thus the beautiful Mystery Lodge attraction was created and still performs daily. This wonderful show features Story telling and terrific illusional visions. It's real magic.

Also the Indian people are not stuffed shirts.
In the Hopi religion believe it or not as the Kachina's came from the mountains to the Mesa's and danced for the people...(thus Kachina Dolls) there were CLOWNS who would entertain the kids...spit watermellon seeds and do rude things for laughs...

Also the Indian Gaming Industry is entertaining ALL types of folks...they know what it takes in Vegas so they should be well aware what it will take on the Res.

Do a GREAT presentation...break that ice!

Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Oct 4, 2004 11:06PM)
MentaThought mentioned a casino in CT as being the largest in the country. I visited the place -- Foxwoods Casino -- a couple of years ago on a themed re-design project and was totally blown away by it. Sure the architecture was a bit dated and the place had that "casino-ish, Vegas wannabbee" feeling, but it was huge, very nice, and mobbed with people having a good time spending their money. Not a tepee or tomahawk in sight (just kidding). Good restaurants, good shops, and good service... it was a thriving business and looking to get updated and better for their customers.

I'd say the key with places like this, like in Vegas, is to convince them that you (and your act) can get people in the door to spend money at their gaming tables, their bars, and their restaurants -- in that order -- and you'll be golden. Doesn't matter if you drive a Zamboni while standing on your head eating a banana split; if you can get people to come spend money at their casino, my guess is they'll be interested.

Incidentally, the place is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. I worked on a couple of other projects for them and found them to be just like any other client. It's a business. No more and no less.
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Oct 5, 2004 01:45AM)
My own experience aligns with George. I too have done a ton of Indian Gaming Properties and have had ZERO resistance to magic, hypnosis, mentalism and speaking... no more or less than ANY other type casino.

Sure some of the structure is a bit different with Tribal Leadership, but it has in no-way cased any unusual challenges.

Sometimes it's even easier.

Just one more experience to add to the mix.

I am at your service and In His Service,
Message: Posted by: C Christian (Oct 5, 2004 10:34PM)
My exerience is they go with booking agents. But that doesn't mean that you can't go banging on the entertainment dir. door untill he listens to you. Try it out and see what happens.
Cheers Chris
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Oct 5, 2004 11:49PM)
See, that is what makes a place like this cool. The diversity of 'shares' and the value of 'experience'.

Personally, I have had little or no luck with agents in regards to any real casino work while going direct has produced an incredible returns and results delivering a phenomenal lifestyle from the gaming industry.

Go figure...

Good discussion all.

What Casinos did you work Chris? I looked at your site and didnít see any reference to Casino work. Would I have seen you around? Do you know Billy Scutter and his Chaplin tribute?

Just curious.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 15, 2004 08:18PM)
I worked the Foxwoods as part of a corporate gig. It was an incredible theater and staff. But it was a small house. They have booked people like david Copperfield and Lance Burton. Real world people like Frank Sinatra, Barbara Striesand, etc., etc. This is a big, big venue.

Bottom line they book only the very best and they do not want you to compete with the gambling. As a rule they do not pay all that well.

As some one who does not really enjoy gambling, I found it to be very boring, the food was way overpriced, and the rooms ok but not as nice as Vegas.

From what I read in the Time (I think it was time), they pull in 1.5 millon dollars a year in that casino (non taxable!). The approximately 880 tribe people have to manage to get along with a yearly stipen of $100,000. When you approach the place at night it looks like the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz.

I think there are better markets to expend energy into breaking into based the low pay scales I have heard about.

I must say that the Foxwood staff was firstrate and the best crew I ever worked with. True professionals.

PS. Don't wear Cleveland Indian's apparel there. They take a very dim view of that.