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Gaming Guru

 

Ted & Jim May Soon Be Gone, But Their Legacy Will Survive

31 May 2000

The pictures were striking in the Detroit New's Sunday feature articles on the Greektown Casino, L.L.C. Clearly, the casino is very near completion and will be ready to open as soon as the current licensing issues and the state of the 40 percent stake owned by Ted and Maria Gatzaros and Dionitrios ("Jim") and Viola Papas are completed. Slot machines are in place, the table games are set up, and the only thing missing is staff, customers, and most importantly, a license. If all goes smoothly with the latest proposed transfers, Greektown Casino, L.L.C. could easily be open by the end of the summer.

When Greektown Casino, L.L.C. opens, two of the people most closely identified with it, Ted Gatzaros and Jim Papas, will no longer be investors. Well over ten years ago, these gentlemen, together with their spouses and their partners, the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Indians, began the grass roots effort to bring casino gaming to the City of Detroit as an economic revitalization tool. As they took these initial steps, they probably had no idea of the obstacles they would face and the triumphs that would occur.

Having watched their persistence over the years, it is not surprising to hear that they are asking the new investors to give them the option to buy back into the casino a year or two from now. The Michigan licensing provisions really give them no choice but to sell out now without fighting the Board staff's decision on their suitability. However, the rules also permit them to wait a year and then attempt to come in as "transferees" subject to the same licensing scrutiny. If the Gaming Control Board staff finds them to be unsuitable at this later point in time, they can then contest the finding without risking the casino license and further delays for the entire group. Count on them having a lot to say to counter the impressions that have been left in the media to date.

No matter what ultimately happens with regard to these licensing hearings, Ted Gatzaros and Jim Papas' mark will still remain. The Greektown Casino will be customer oriented with numerous lounges and bars such as "Opa," the "Apollo Lounge," and "Trapper's." Knowing how sports-crazy Detroiters are, they have planned a sports-themed casino room with another bar and big screen TVs. Overall, the casino will have a Greek theme, very similar to the nightlife atmosphere that Ted and Jim have developed in the Greektown district throughout all of Detroit

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com