The month after the big trade show is usually not a big one for casino news. After the G2E show, everybody in our industry generally lets out a sigh of relief and goes home to sleep for about, oh, three days. (This year… probably four.)
It’s why I normally have trouble finding casino stuff to fuel my wisecracks for the November issue. Normally, when this happens, I turn to the November issue of one year before. Look at last year’s November issue. I did that. I updated a story on South Dakota’s Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, which, a year earlier, had fueled my column with its plan for a gaming and marijuana lounge.
As you may recall, the tribe had planned to convert a bowling alley into sort of a haven for the connoisseur stoner who gambles. There were going to be slot machines, spas and other attractions assembled around a menu of fine marijuana strains, cultivated by a professional from Colorado. The professional—I pictured a bald 60-year-old with a ponytail, for some reason—was a veritable Henry Ford of the ganj, able to cultivate strains the same way fine wines are created by a vintner. (Just learned that word. “Vintner.”)
Well, since it’s the November issue, I decided to update last November’s column, which updated the November column before that. There have been a few developments since we last explored the saga of the planned Souixby Doobie Lounge, Casino & Spa. (My suggested name, as I’ve noted. If they end up using it, I want money.)
For one thing, there are more details on the demise of all the pot cultivated by the professional, Eric Hagen—who, in fact, is only 34 and actually looks like a perfectly normal fellow. (OK, a ponytail would definitely help. A pot grower without a ponytail is like a cowboy without a Stetson.)
Since we last visited South Dakota, the state arrested Hagen and put him on trial for conspiracy to possess, possession and attempted possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana. His trial concluded in May, when he was acquitted of all charges. More on that in a minute.
More information on the end of the tribe’s marijuana program came out during the trial. Although the prosecution attempted to portray Hagen as in charge of the day-to-day growing operation, Hagen’s attorneys were able to show he only offered guidance, and visited the growing operation only three times.
The trial also clarified the situation around the burning of the tribe’s crop. I wrote last year that the tribe burned the crop after a threat to arrest patrons of the casino dope lounge from Attorney General Marty “Buzzkill” Jackley, who is running for governor of South Dakota next year. Trial testimony reveals that news of a pending federal raid was the real trigger for the tribe burning the weed crop. (They tried flushing it down the toilet, but there was just too much.)
In the end, Jackley was unable to make charges stick against Hagen, whose lawyers convinced the jury that the marijuana charges were ridiculous, particularly in light of the fact their client had no visible ponytail.
Changing the subject from buds to suds, McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant and the company it pays to clean out the lines in its beer taps are on the hook for $750,000 to compensate a guy who was injured when he drank beer at the restaurant’s franchise at Harrah’s Atlantic City. It appears they forgot to clean out the caustic chemicals used to clean the lines, leading the bartender to unknowingly serve up something akin to a foamy, frosty mug of Drano.
Yikes! I may never order a draft beer again.
Harrah’s was not named in the lawsuit, because it simply leases the space for the restaurant. So, the poor guy didn’t even get a free room out of the deal. But at least he now has $750,000 to blow at the slots and tables.
He might even be able to afford the craps tables at Harrah’s now.
Finally, a recent study by 24/7 Wall Street cites casino managers and casino service workers as two of top five U.S. jobs leading to divorce. It’s because of the crazy hours, of course, but there’s something off about the list. Two of the other top five are “rolling machine setters” and “switchboard operators.” So, what, the list was made in 1950? Did telegraph operators just miss the Top 10?
For further developments on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s marijuana-and-gaming-lounge plans, please refer to Frankly Speaking in our November 2018 issue.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go brush my ponytail.