International edition
June 24, 2021

Statements by Pala Casino Spa & Resort Chief Executive Officer, Bill Bemenek

“Governor and the Legislature in California negotiated and ratified tribal-state gaming compacts with 66 tribal governments”

(US).- interviewed Bill Bemenek, CEO of Pala Casino Spa & Resort, who talked about the gambling offer of the Californian tribal casino, as well as the growing importance of poker. He also commented on their main projects for the coming months and about his expectations on the Internet gambling regulation in the US and the future scenario.


hat does your gambling offer consist of? 
Pala's gaming floor offers one of the largest selections of slot games in Southern California,and in all denominations. The slot mix includes over 500 progressive slot machines as well as video poker and video keno.  All of Pala's 2,000 slot machines are played with Ticket-In, Ticket-Out (TITO) technology which is coinless and allows players to move more quickly from game to game.  Pala also offers a High Limit Room that features slot machines and table games including traditional Baccarat, the new fast-growing EZ Baccarat, Blackjack and Pai Gow poker.  The High Limit Room allows bets up to $5,000.  Pala's 87 table games include Blackjack, EZ Baccarat, Blackjack Switch, Pai Gow Poker and Three-Card Poker.  The Pala Poker Room, located just off the center of the casino, has 15 tables and all of today's hottest poker action.

What does poker represent for Pala Casino Spa & Resort?
Poker, especially Texas Hold'em, is extremely popular throughout the United States and especially in Southern California. The 15-table Pala Poker Room opened in May 2009 and was part our us$ 100 million renovation. It has grown to become a center of Southern California poker action in a very short time. The Poker Room holds regular tournaments at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, and Deep Stack tournaments on weekends with higher guaranteed payouts.  Poker is now a major center of gaming action in our casino.

Which are your main gaming machines, tables and accessories suppliers?
Slots – IGT (International Gaming Technology), Aristocrat, Bally, Williams and Paltronics.

Table Games – GPI (Gaming Partners International), Shuffle Master, DEQ, U.S. Playing Card Co. and Gemaco. Also use IGT’s Table ID for player tracking, which links to our Aristocrat Oasis slot management system.

What players do you target?
Pala's location - we are almost equidistant between San Diego and Los Angeles - makes us an ideal entertainment destination for all of Southern California. We provide gaming and entertainment to loyal customers from Los Angeles and Orange County, the Inland Empire, which includes San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, as well as San Diego County - Escondido, Carlsbad, Poway, Fallbrook, Vista, Oceanside, Del Mar - and San Diego. On April 4, 2011, Pala will celebrate its 10th anniversary in business.

During the past decade, we have provided AAA Four-Diamond service to millions of Southern Californians, many of whom have become loyal members of our Privileges Players Club. As club members, they earn points for their play that are redeemable for a wide range of goods and services, including hotel rooms, dinners at one of our 10 restaurants, Spa services at our award-winning Spa, tickets to our entertainment events and concerts and many other amenities.  We also sponsor numerous table games and slot tournaments for our Privileges Club members where they can win cash awards, and we sponsor major individual promotions throughout the year that offer major cash prizes for all Club members.

Which are your main plans for the coming months?
We will continue to implement our 2010 business plan and prepare for our 10th anniversary throughout 2011. Each of our various departments - dining, entertainment, table games, slots, the Spa, our hotel, sales, catering and our business center, have been working together to develop our 10th anniversary business plan.  Everyone is going to have something special to offer our guests in 2011.  We are looking forward to an exciting, entertaining year.

Are you expecting Internet gambling's regulation in US? What will be the scenario of the gambling industry, specially of poker, if Barney Frank's bill becomes law?
In California, the governor and the Legislature negotiated and ratified tribal-state gaming compacts with 66 California tribal governments. Each compact is specifically written to include a provision that allows only federally recognized Indian tribes to offer "gaming services" to the public.  Just as important is the fact that Californians voted overwhelmingly in 2004 to ensure that such devices stayed on reservations and out of card clubs in urban locations. Some lawmakers talked about authorizing  poker play on Internet-connected devices in direct violation of those agreements with the tribes and the wishes of the state's voters.  However, at the end of June a bill supporting Internet poker in California was withdrawn from the Legislative agenda.

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