DNC takes gamble, rolls hospitality group

DNC takes gamble, rolls hospitality group

BUFFALO N.Y. Delaware North Cos. [3], based here, has created a new group designed to help casinos and other gambling venues develop or revamp their foodservice and lodging operations. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

The Gaming Hospitality Group is envisioned as a consultancy that could in time be hired to manage the foodservice and lodging operations it advises or creates. The group made its formal debut at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas on Nov. 13-15 and is “close” to signing its first client, said Dennis Szefel, president of DNC’s hospitality business. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

“Actually, we’d been talking about doing something like this for a while,” he said, “and as we got with and met people in the gaming business who were developing new facilities, it dawned on us that there are a lot of companies out there who, while having experience in gaming, may not have as much experience in expanding their hotel and retail venues. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

“In our company we have the perfect marriage of all those disciplines. We manage gaming businesses, but also, obviously, we’re in hospitality and foodservice. It’s a pretty compelling package to offer to folks in various stages of building gaming [facilities].” —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

DNC already has a Gaming and Entertainment division that operates venues in Wheeling, W. Va., and at horse and dog tracks in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Saratoga, N.Y., and Buffalo. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

The group, which will incorporate the resources and expertise of DNC’s Gaming and Entertainment, Sportservice [4], Travel Hospitality Services, and Parks & Resorts divisions, will be marketed to smaller and midsize casino operations, Szefel said. He noted that DNC expects to have 10 to 15 clients in the next year or two. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

“Really, we’re probably not looking for Harrah’s or MGM to call us for help, but rather the smaller, midlevel facility that doesn’t have a lot of history or experience behind them,” he said. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

The steady growth of the casino industry prompted DNC’s decision to create the group, said Glen White, a DNC spokesman. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

“The gaming segment is increasing nationally and internationally, and this is a core competency we can bring to the table for organizations either developing new facilities or reinvesting in existing ones,” he said. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

In the United States alone, gross gaming revenues increased 6.8 percent in 2006 to $32.4 billion, according to the American Gaming Association. Those revenues came from 56.2 million people who made a total of 371 million trips to casinos in 2006, 49 million more trips than in 2005, the AGA found in its report, “2007 State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment.” —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

Respondents of the AGA survey also noted that they enjoy the increasing array of food and entertainment options available at casinos, with 82 percent of casino visitors saying that they had eaten at a fine-dining restaurant as part of their casino experience during the past year. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

“We can really help an organization focus on its core gaming product by ensuring that world-class hospitality becomes a credible brand attribute of the facility,” Szefel said. “Most casino patrons are now looking for fine dining to be a part of their experience, and we can work with a facility to provide that.” —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

Added White: “Depending on what the client is looking for, it can be a consulting agreement, a development agreement, where we would go in and create a restaurant or nightclub for them, or a management agreement where we would come in and operate those aspects of hospitality. It’s more than giving advice, it’s going in and doing, being a subcontractor almost.” —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

The Gaming Hospitality Group is the first new business branch DNC has created since it developed its Parks & Resorts division back in the mid-1990s. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,

In 2006, Delaware North reported annual revenues of approximately $2 billion. U.S. food and beverage sales accounted for $733 million of that figure. —Looking to have a larger hand in the lucrative gaming industry,