Jumbotron plan at Rivers Casino delayed by city
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A plan to install two jumbotrons at the Rivers Casino needs sharper focus, according to city planners.
The Planning Department has delayed action on a request by the casino to attach the screens to the east and west sides of the venue's parking garage until officials find out exactly what operators want to broadcast from them.
"We need more time to review what they wanted to use them for," city Planning Director Noor Ismail said yesterday.
During a briefing before the planning commission two weeks ago, architect Michael Stern said the casino hoped to use the 31.25-foot by 17.5-foot screens to advertise events and restaurants inside the slots parlor, to show new slot machines, and maybe broadcast live footage of concerts, fireworks and other performances.
At the time, some commission members voiced concern about how the large screens fit into the overall debate over electronic billboards in the city.
Ms. Ismail said the casino is expected to provide more detailed information about the types of messages and advertisements to be shown on the jumbotron but has yet to do so.
Once it is provided, planners want to take time to review the information and discuss it with city lawyers "to make sure our code allows" the material, she said.
Casino officials are not proposing to use the screens for advertising unrelated to the venue itself. It has described the screens as building identification signs, not billboards.
The delay comes as the commission expects to be updated today on the status of the electronic billboard legislation. City planners are expected to recommend that the legislation be extended to include high wall signs, those at least 40 feet above ground.
On another front, the casino has petitioned the state Gambling Control Board for a waiver of a regulation that requires seats at slot machines to be anchored into the ground.
The casino wants to put moveable seats at all 3,000 machines on the 130,974-square-foot gambling floor, saying they will "provide a more pleasant gaming experience" for the venue's customers.
In doing so, the casino is following the lead of the The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, which successfully petitioned the gaming board for a waiver. Meadows officials said fixed seating at its temporary casino caused delays for patrons in wheelchairs. Those who were not able to transfer themselves to the fixed seat had to summon a casino employee to temporarily remove it so they could play.
The state requires the fixed seats as safety measure to prevent people from knocking them down and tripping over them, particularly during emergencies such as fires.
In a separate filing, the Rivers Casino said it intends to permit smoking on 25 percent of the gambling floor when it opens in August, the maximum allowed. After 90 days, it can petition the gaming board to increase that up to 50 percent if it can show that slot machines in smoking sections are producing more revenue than those in nonsmoking areas.
First Published April 28, 2009 12:00 am