Sunday, August 24, 2014

In the eyes of the Tunica Treasure Bay casino, good fences didn't make good neighbors.

    I was going through an old box and found this button from the long-defunct Treasure Bay Casino in Tunica.
    The casino started handing out these buttons after the Horseshoe Casino opened next door, accessed by a new road that made it 10 to 15 minutes closer to Memphis. Many Horseshoe guests were simply walking across the parking lot to pay a visit to the Treasure Bay. So the Horseshoe took care of that problem by erecting a fence.
    During the squabbles over the fence I heard that Jack Binion had offered to include the Treasure Bay in the group of casinos being served by the new roads that he had financed for a million dollars. The Treasure Bay -- at the time plenty busy -- turned down the deal.
    If you look at the map above, you can see that the Horseshoe and the old Treasure Bay site are perhaps 1,000 feet apart. Yet by car it was quite a slog. I don't think the road that now appears on the southern part of the map was there at the time.
    The Treasure Bay had some problems other than just fences. They didn't build a hotel, so were entirely dependent on the drive-up trade. I heard they were much too generous with their site owner, with a lease that paid a percentage of gaming revenue as rent whether the casino was making money or not.
    But one of the biggest blows the casino had was in not being a part of the Horseshoe-Gold Strike group that was right next door. The casino closed May 31, 1995, less than four months after the Horseshoe opened its doors. At the time it closed it had been in business just over one year.
    If they could have been included for only a million dollars then their failure to do so was truly a bad bet. Treasure Bay had the opportunity to build a bridge, but they didn't. So the Horseshoe built a fence.

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