Mayhem in Middle Earth

A scuffle Down Under, cannabis training and look to the skies.

Mayhem in Middle Earth

In pursuing material for this monthly moment of mayhem—usually at least a milligram of mayhem, matey—memes about the mob are most meritorious.

Alliteration also is useful in this monthly amalgam of magnificent mirth.

OK, I’ll stop.

Recently, I came across a rather bizarre story involving some veteran casino executives—Full House Resorts CEO and former Pinnacle chief Daniel Lee, MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren, and Glenn Schaeffer, who was president of Circus Circus Enterprises and Mandalay Resort Group, now part of MGM.

Murren was to testify last month in New Zealand in a lawsuit he and Lee filed against his former friend Schaeffer, over a seven-figure investment Murren and Lee reportedly made in Schaeffer’s winery in New Zealand. They claim their investment of millions disappeared with no compensation. So, at press time, Murren was headed down to Middle Earth to testify in the lawsuit.

But here’s where it gets weird.

According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, Schaeffer claimed that in a mediation meeting Lee said “he knew where I lived, knew where my family lived and knew where my dogs lived. He said if I did not give him back his money that he would bury me in the desert like in the old days, he would destroy my children’s lives, and bankrupt my ex-wife, and travel to Omaha to kill my three show dogs. He ended his threats with the words ‘give me my f**** money!’”

Lee denied he threatened Schaeffer’s family or dogs, saying he was simply referring to what might have happened to Schaeffer in the “old days” had he tried to swindle casino bosses.

The court didn’t rule on whether or not Lee had, in fact, gone all DeNiro on Schaeffer. But this case is puzzling to me in one other very important aspect:

If Schaeffer’s in New Zealand, who’s taking care of his dogs in Omaha? And, why did he leave his dogs in Nebraska to begin with? It’s a wonder they haven’t committed suicide. (I’m kidding. Love Nebraska. Johnny Carson was from there.)

Also, is there even a desert near Schaeffer in New Zealand? I’d hate to think that Lee would need to ship him back to Nevada, just to bury him near Tony the Ant.

In the end, Justice Peter Churchman denied Schaeffer’s motion to have the case dismissed because of the alleged threat. “It would clearly cause significant inconvenience for the plaintiffs if the trial were to be adjourned, particularly as another hearing date is unlikely to be available until mid-2019 at the earliest,” the judge wrote. “Furthermore, if Mr. Schaeffer and some of his witnesses are feeling intimidated by Mr. Lee, it is likely they will continue to feel intimidated at the time of any hearing of the trial, even one that is adjourned to next year.”

In other words, hey, Glenn, this guy’s as likely to kill you and your dogs next summer as he is now, so why wait?

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a new university program means many of the next generation of casino professionals to graduate from Stockton University outside of Atlantic City can now do so with a minor in Cannabis Studies.

Wow, what a coincidence. That was my minor as well. Of course, Duquesne University didn’t know it at the time. Anyway, according to the Stockton website, the interdisciplinary minor in Cannabis Studies “offers students a foundation for understanding the burgeoning cannabis industry” in anticipation of New Jersey possibly becoming the 10th state to legalize recreational use of marijuana. It is now one of 29 states with legal medical marijuana.

Among the prerequisites listed for the minor is successful completion of “Introduction to Medical Marijuana” (Course No. GEN 2347), “Cannabis Law” (GSS 2198), and “Rolling On A Gatefold LP Sleeve” (GEN 420).

OK, I made the last one up, but there also is an Internship Preparation (GEN 3XXX). The course manual doesn’t say what kind of internship is involved. It instructs the student to contact the coordinator of the program for more details, and to “bring a bong.”

(Yes, made that up too.)

Finally, to those of you who were concerned, that was not a UFO beaming lights that formed a perfect circle hovering in the Minnesota sky above the Shakopee Walmart. It was the light from the illuminated tepee of the Mystic Lake Resort and Casino nearby.

Casino officials confirmed this, although they were unable to explain the giant steel exoskeleton that emerged from the ring to encircle the Shakopee Walmart.

I love Shakopee on a Saturday night.

Almost as much as Omaha.

Frank Legato
Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the recently published book on gaming, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying.