Friday, December 13, 2013

Rudi Schiffer and his Goodtimes Radio Show moving to AM990 KWAM

First broadcast is Saturday, Jan. 4, at noon

'Voice of Tunica' a longtime casino news reporter

MEMPHIS – The Goodtimes Radio Show, now in its 20th year of broadcasting casino gaming news to the Mid-South, will move to KWAM990  beginning with its first show on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at noon.
The move was necessitated by the sale of KXIQ AM 1180 by Pollack Broadcasting and the fact that the new owners will implement a country music format. KWAM, a CBS affiliate, has a format that includes talk radio, sports, and news. It entertains more than 50,000 daily listeners with a wide array of talent. 
The gaming content provided by Goodtimes is a first for the growing station. The Goodtimes Radio Show will also provide sports commentary.
“We welcome the show and its host/producer, Rudi Schiffer, who is well known in the market  as the “Voice of Tunica,” said George L. Bryant, president and general manager of  AM990 KWAM. “Obviously, with our nearby casino jurisdictions, gambling is very popular in this market and this is the only show that provides gaming tips, entertainment news, restaurant reviews, executive interviews and many comp giveaways.”
The show will reach a demographic of 35-plus in the primary listening area of Memphis, West Memphis and the Mid-South but with a reach all the way to Little Rock, Ark., to the west; Greenwood, Miss., to the south; Florence, Ala., eastward and  Jackson, Tenn., to the north. 
Features of the show will now include live streaming at and there is a free app found on app store for cell phones. There will be live streaming on Follow Rudi Schiffer on Twitter @rudischiffer. Follow him on Facebook at GoodtimesRadio or check out his blog at

Friday, February 22, 2013

Collecting tax on small winnings in Mississippi a bad idea

Heard it on the River
by Rudi Schiffer
It was a tiny item on that caught my attention. The news source was the Clarion Ledger and the headline read, “Mississippi Bill Proposes To Collect Tax On Small Winnings.” My first reaction was this can’t be real. It’s too insane to even joke about. If passed it would mean that some 30 casinos in Mississippi would be become tax collectors for the state on small winnings. Casinos are already collectors on winnings over $1,200.
The bill is SB2144. It was authored by Republican SENATOR JOEY FILLINGANE of the 41st Senatorial District and it’s no joke. Senator Fillingane is chairman of the Finance Committee and he estimates that the state is missing out on $500 million in taxes, according to the Clarion Ledger.
It is easy to question Fillingane’s reasoning on SB2144 when one considers that he expects every gambler in the state to report every win under $1,200. Why stop there. Why not trace all winnings in that category and make non-reporters of winnings pay a fine (or worse) if it’s proven that there is a long history of non-declaration of such winnings. And can those winners declare losses as well to offset the winnings? If gambler were able to offset wins with losses there would be very little tax collected by the state since most players lose—especially over the long term.
Just think about the logistics involved to write up a tax form on everything won below $1,200. “It would be a total disaster,” one smart thinking general manager told me when is asked for his opinion. Another top executive said, “With all respect to the senator, he barking up the wrong tree on this. Our tax rate now is very high and already supports many state programs.”
In this writer’s opinion, Senator Fillingane was wrong when he told Clarion Ledger reporter Geoff Pender, “This isn’t a new tax or tax increase. We’ve got a law already on the books. It’s already supposed to be collected.” Some casino execs say the measure IS a new tax. They say gamblers are not supposed to report and pay the 3 percent on ALL WINNINGS, just on winnings over $1,200. The market in Mississippi is very competitive, not just from casinos within the state, but also with others in nearby states. New taxes would hurt gaming industry revenue and growth in Mississippi. Lower revenue and growth means less in taxes collected. It is simple economics.
The senator should also be reminded that the new tax will be paid by a lot of voters in Mississippi. You can express your opinion on this to Senator Fillingane at With the gaming industry in general struggling because of a terrible economy, it’s not the time for SB2144.
TOURNAMENT TRASH TALKING... I was trying to win my table into the semifinals of FITZ CASINO’S $20,000 SWEETHEART BLACKJACK tournament his past weekend when out of the blue two old timers on opposite ends of the table started busting each other’s chops over bad draws, questionable hits and so on. While they were mixing it up and making max limit bets of $2,500, I played tight and was unusually patient. I made my move at the end with big bets and wound up in the semi-finals, where I got squashed. The next tourney is planned for May, according to ADOLPH LEPRE, the man who makes it all happen.
You always see a lot of vehicle giveaways promotions at our casinos, such as the current NISSAN ROGUE at BALLY’S, a FORD-150 at ISLE of CAPRI and the FORD KING RANCH truck at SILVER STAR. But do the winners drive them home or take the cash. I suspect it’s the cash they take. SAM’S TOWN is staging a $50,000 open slot tournament on Feb. 22-23 with a buy-in of $200. The entry fee also includes two free room nights and cash prizes go through 100 places. Call (800) 456-071 soon as space is limited. I want to take part in the MISTER POPULARITY promo now running at SOUTHLAND PARK but can’t find five friends to support me and that is the number you need to participate. But if you have five friends you have to enter this event as at the grand prize drawing night, you will be crowned and handed $25,000 cash and your five pals divvy up another $25,000. Not shabby. BIG EASY WINNINGS continues Feb. 23 at GOLD STRIKE and you can win your share of $25,000 FreePlay if you qualify free by earning 300 slot base points on the day of the tournament. TREASURES of THE CARIBBEAN with plunder of $1,500,000 is heating up the slot action at GOLD STRIKE. 
Scoop… FITZ will stage the BONE SHAKER craps tournament March 22-23 with $5,000 cash first place winnings. Play will be 30-minute rounds. While at Fitz, I met the new Executive Director of Marketing RICK CASAGRANDE. The meeting was going just fine; he was quiet and well-spoken, had great industry experience and seemed to be a good fit for the casino and the market. But then he said he was from New York and If you know this old writer you know that I am a totally dedicated Boston Red Sox nut and have an aversion to anything in pinstripes. Those vertical uniform patterns and Chinese-like logo have caused me much pain since TED WILLIAMS patrolled left field for Boston. Maybe he will overlook my flaws? GEAUX SAWX. LAISSEZ LE BON TEMPS ROULER
Listen to the latest casino news on the GOODTIMES radio show on Friday afternoons from 2 to 5 p.m. on 1180AM KXIQ Memphis.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sweetheart Blackjack Tournament at Fitz Casino Tunica has $20,000 first place prize

Meet the Fitz Girls and play blackjack for chance to win $20,000 cash for first place

by Rudi Schiffer
TUNICA RESORTS — Is it the $20,000 cash prize dangled over the heads of players or hot looking ladies that attracts players to Fitz blackjack tournaments? Make your own decision, but the combo is a winning one for Fitz Casino & Hotel Tunica and the Sweetheart Blackjack Tournament.
Rudi Schiffer
“We wanted to give our players something extra to provide some excitement for the tournament,” said Adolph Lepre, VP of table games. “And it has worked with solid turnouts the past two tournaments.”
Apparently, the previous appearances of the Fitz Girls has had a positive impact on the last two bimonthly blackjack events. The ladies have been hostesses for the last two events and they do bring a certain spice to the tournament, whose main attraction is the $20,000 first place cash prize. Yes, I have my two photos from previous events, but cute as they are in their skimpy outfits they don’t phase me at my advanced age…show me the money. And the Fitz Girls on the side.
The buy-in for the Feb. 8-9 event is $150 with all entry fees added to the prize pool and returned to the winning players. Registration is Friday, Feb. 8, from 5-8 p.m., at the Great Hall, where a reception with food, beverages, and the Fitz Girls is held.  If you miss that, you can register the next morning from 8 to 10 a.m. Re-buy rounds are available for $150 for all non-table winners. After the $20,000 is won, six final table players will be paid on a scale going from 40 percent of the balance down to 2.5 percent for 7th place. Entrants are also given two free room nights.
To make your tournament and comp room nights reservations for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9, call (866) 351-2518 and mention code SWEETT213.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mid-South area casinos have 'end of world' parties, looser slots and more

Heard it on the River

by Rudi Schiffer

(published in the current issue of Jackpot! Magazine at

I would think that a many of us hope 2013 is a lot better than the year about to end. Heck, even a little better would be fine. So many challenges remain out there that affect the casino industry and with them a lot of economic uncertainty. While the biz takes its share of arrows it is still a great source of entertainment and an effective contributor to the tax revenue bases of the communities in which it operates.
Online gaming is fast emerging, but it has legislative obstacles to overcome. As it makes headway, how much impact will it have on existing and traditional markets? It is an interesting development that will be closely watched.
If there is one thing the gaming industry has, it is resilience and a strongly developed sense of competition. Nobody is closing its doors in Mississippi and none are expected. Look at the success of Southland PARK Gaming & Racing in West Memphis, which turned an aged dog track into a casino that has enjoyed great success in tough times.
I feel a modest turnaround is coming. Let's face it, people love to gamble and with an uptick in the economy, the number of gamblers will increase. Gambling money is highly discretionary and has undergone lots of pressure the last several years. My gut feeling is that 2013 will be a better year, not back to the salad days of yesteryear, but forward moving at least. Ask me about my thoughts next December.
Poker players are not worried about the state of the business, just thinking about tournaments like the WINTER POKER CLASSIC kicked off at GOLD STRIKE CASINO RESORT on Dec. 14 and is running through the 22nd. Poker Room Manager Karen Kaegin says the main event will be a $750 +$50 buy-in with nightly no-limit tournaments and daily super satellites. While the tournament is running, non-poker gamers can get in on the $1,000,000 FREEPLAY promo running through Dec. 22. And in the spirit of the season, you are invited to bring the kiddies for free photos with Santa on Dec. 15 and Sunday Dec.16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Gold Strike's lobby. The kids get to eat free in the Courtyard Buffets with the purchase of an adult buffet. That means the desert bar will be raided. And HERMAN'S HERMITS starring PETER NOONE are still with us and will be performing Dec.14-15 with an OLDE ENGLISH CHRISTMAS. And if you want to escape the kitchen during the holidays, leave the cooking to Gold Strike on Christmas day and New Year's Eve. Chicago Steakhouse offers a specialty menu as does the Atrium Café.
What would you like to see in our Mississippi casinos next year. A new game, looser slots, more freeplay, easier comps, what? Email me your thoughts at and I might put your name and suggestion in my next column. Send to me by Dec. 19 and keep your comment to about 20 words. And being the Holiday season, don't forget to tip those who serve you all year...the dealers, valets, cage folks, servers, maids, bartenders, et al. They work hard for you and tips are most welcome this time of year. Spread some cheer.
The Mayans of Mexico predicted the world would end on the 21st of this month. They must have had a heck of a calendar. So why not go out in a blaze and attend the END OF THE WORLD PARTY at SOUTHLAND PARK. There will even be Mayan dancers on the casino floor and every hour $1,212 in Freeplay will be given away. If it goes as predicted at least we won't have to file taxes next year. Reminder that Southland Park will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 25 but will re-open the next day - like one stroke past midnight on the 25th. Nice to see somebody respects this holy day. It’s time to plan for New Year’s Eve. The New Year's Eve Big Top Bash 5 is coming to Southland, too. Dance into 2013 with DJ Crumbz spinning all of your favorite rump-shakin' music in the Juke Joint from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.  Indulge in your favorite carnival goodies for free from 9 to 11 p.m. while supplies last.  Enjoy carnival games and prizes from 8 to 10 p.m. while supplies last and ring in the New Year with champagne stations on the gaming floor. Experience the madness of stilt walkers and magicians or the creativity of balloon artists and the acrobatic skills of jugglers, to name a few of the variety entertainers who will perform from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. You can also ride your favorite carnival rides like the Nemesis 360 and the Ferris Wheel. Player Rewards members ride for free from 5 p.m. to midnight.  You must be 21 years of age or older. You can also Countdown to Cash. As the clock counts down, beginning at 3 p.m., the prizes go up every half hour until 11 p.m.  Player Rewards members using their Player Rewards cards will be drawn every 30 minutes to win free play from $50 to $600. At 11:30pm, one lucky player will win $2,013 in cash. See Player Rewards for details.  
Resorts and Bally's will both be giving away cars for the holidays. Resorts is giving away a Fiat each day from Dec. 29 to the 31st plus $20,000 in free slot play each of the days. Sister Bally's is doing much the same but with three VW Beetles. At Gold Strike you can win a Lexus IS350 playing on the Revved Up Jackpot Penny Machines.
FITZ' “Loosened Our Slots” promotion has taken hold and one-third of the slots there are tagged as such. If you are playing there on Friday nights you can get in on the $60,000å Santa's Stash of Cash from 6-10 p.m. There will be 45 winners.
HOLLYWOOD CASINO has some new slots on the floor. They include OUTBACK JACK LINKED PROGRESSIVE and IGT’s ELVIS THE KING. Elvis fans will want to check out the new Elvis slots for sure. Hollywood also offers $1 Blackjack. This is a Hollywood exclusive. Hollywood offers you the excitement of playing blackjack for only $1 per hand on select tables. Play $1 blackjack all day, every day. There is a 25-cent commission each hand to the dealer, however, so keep that in  mind.

“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet.”
— Sportswriter Grantland Rice


 Listen for the latest casino news on the GOODTIMES radio show on Friday afternoon from 2 to 5:30 p.m. on 1180AM KXIQ, Memphis.

Monday, July 2, 2012


by Rudi Schiffer

  Just came back from a week in Costa Rica. Columbus called it the “Rich Coast” when he landed on the beach there on his fourth sailing. As advertised, it’s a friendly country with lots of pluses and some significant problems. Met some interesting people who have retired there or work there and they seemed content after a trial period. Stayed four days in the capital city of San Jose in the Central Valley where most of the people live and it’s not easy to blend in to avoid being accosted by street folks looking to make a buck on fake Cohiba Cigars, Viagra, and other such counterfeit crap.
Rudi Schiffer
  There are about 30 so-called casinos there which are really mom and pop joints, small and run well except they severely lack games on the floor. The biggest casino, Fiesta, is near the airport and it had only about ten table games consisting of rummy, an offshoot of blackjack that is strictly as house game with a big advantage. There was no regular blackjack in action as I was told the dealer would not be on duty for some time. I asked for blackjack at the Cocal Casino in Jaco Beach on the Western Pacific coast, but they had no games. At the Horseshoe in San Jose they did have a game and I was the only one to play on the $5 min to $300 max bet.
  There are some distractions, like young female dealers in high mini skirts and high heels. As soon as I broke a Benjamin I was joined by two scantily clad “hostesses” and a second watchdog dealer and some onlookers. Made me feel like John Daley with all the gawkers. I could only figure they were all trying to distract me. When I hit a 21 and was paid 3-2, the pit boss had to approve the payout. Weird.   
  The most interesting place was the casino at El Rey in San Jose. I took a stroll through the joint and went to bar for a Bacardi and Rum but couldn’t get in. It was wall-to-wall hookers all smiling and beckoning over their low-cut tops and more. I was told that prostitution was legal in the country and for sure that is a major attraction for lots of guys coming here. It’s a booming trade.  Beggars are plentiful there — no welfare here or food banks, and lots of addicts to boot. One plus is that smoking was declared illegal two months ago inside any establishment and if you want to puff a cigar, head for the street. You know that ticked me off. The water in the city was potable and food good at the restaurants, but none of the eateries on the beach had air-conditioning.
  Costa Rica is famous for its eco-friendly parks and reserves and hundreds of American school kids were pouring into the country when I was there. Lots of rain forest, volcanoes, alligator river tours, waterfalls and wildlife tours.  Met a Brit from London, who said she had just come back from a 17-day backpack trip through the jungle and never felt afraid.
  The only trouble I encountered was at Customs at the airport as I had picked up three small beach stones for my grandson. They were confiscated. I guess they are a national treasure. Everybody accepted dollars and communicated easily but it’s nice to learn some basic Spanish phrases before you go. Between the airfare from Memphis to Juan Santa Maria airport, my travel, food and lodging only set me back about $1,300. A reasonable expense. Would I go there again given the opportunity, yes. All in all it was a very interesting trip and enjoyable.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rudi's report from Costa Rica and recent casino exploits

Rudi Schiffer
  Enjoying my trip to Costa Rica and several things stand out after two days in San Jose: The dirty and noisy capital city, traffic congestion and the sound of car horns and loud mufflers. Walking on a sidewalk is an adventure in itself as deep holes, large cracks and garbage test your agility. It has been sunny and warm - in the low 80s. It is not bad at all. Occasional thundershowers cool it down and wash the city, which needs it.
  People are really friendly here. Casinos are little corner stores and the games suck. They have outdated slots and when you place a $5 bet you have people looking at you like you are a high roller. Young and very pretty ladies hover in expectation. I asked why they were there and was told they are "hostesses." They didn't appear to work. They just lounged around in scant and revealing clothing. I suspect they have other duties.
  I visited the infamous Blue Marlin Bar (and casino), which had about 10 customers and 100 hookers who were not timid. I finally had to fend them off... "No mas, por favor." They were gorgeous though. Travels in Costa Rica will continue... Adios.

The Blue Marlin Bar is at the Hotel & Casino Del Rey

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rudi travels to Costa Rica

I’m off to Costa Rica and eagerly anticipating  my departure for San Jose on June 20. Of course it’s a gambling  junket  but  interspersed will be eco-tours (no zip lines for this  old boy) deep sea sport fishing, swimming at Jaco Beach on the West Coast, golf, dinning and lots of fun. I’ve heard only good things about this small country just north of  Panama and others have as well as some 135,000 Americans live there in retirement or work there. But I will still wear a money belt close to my tummy. Will also be doing a little business there and it may open new ventures that will be exciting. Just have to keep re-inventing myself. I’ll be sending reports from Tico land so stayed tuned.