This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, August 8, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: My next guest is rolling the dice and hoping for some big bucks from his latest venture in, of all places, San Diego. Gaming giant Harrah's is opening its newest casino in southern California today. It's a joint venture with the Rincon Indian tribe. Earlier, I spoke with the company's CEO, Phil Satre, and asked him if he is worried about diluting Harrah's brand.
PHIL SATRE, CEO, HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT (HET): We are going to expand the brand with this, and we have every time we moved into new markets. This is now the second largest market in the United States.
CAVUTO: So, this doesn't necessarily rob you of business in Vegas?
SATRE: No, it won't. It will enhance it. We did the same thing when we went into Arizona, which also shares a market with Las Vegas and Laughlin. It enhances our brand. It enhances the performance of our Nevada properties and gives us access to a major new market.
CAVUTO: In this economic environment, you have a lot of people talk about a double-dip, we might go back into a recession, there's a slowdown, et cetera, et cetera. Did you worry that this was bad timing?
SATRE: No, not at all. We had a significantly improved second quarter. It's the best financial year we have had in our company for the first two quarters of the year. We expect to see that continue, our results continue to be strong. And we think this is going to add to those results.
CAVUTO: All right. I believe, as you reminded me in the past, sometimes when times are a little dicey for the economy, no pun intended, your business actually picks up, doesn't it?
SATRE: It does. I mean, one of the things that we offer people, particularly in drive to and high frequency locations, which of course this will be, is an opportunity to get a little bit of entertainment at a very modest price and get away from some of the pressures that they endure in everyday life.
CAVUTO: You know, the tribe that tried to get gambling going in San Diego in the past had failed a couple of times. There were mob bosses who were apparently involved. They obviously are very happy now with you. But they set very lofty expectations. Can they be met?
SATRE: Oh, I think so. We've met the expectations of the three other tribes we've worked with. We have high expectations here for ourselves.
CAVUTO: How do you cut the arraignment of who shares what?
SATRE: Well, it is governed by the National Indian Gaming Commission standards. I mean, you have tribe ownership. We get a fee. That fee is fairly standard in the industry, that is paid upon the profits of the operation. We help finance the project. That is one of the things that we bring to the table as well as our brand, total rewards and our operating expertise.
CAVUTO: So, in looking at this, as you step back, I mean, do you see that San Diego, which is a fairly wealthy area in its own right, does it need you as much as, let's say, some of these outer Arizona areas had in the past?
SATRE: Oh, I definitely think it needs us. It is a highly competitive market. And what we bring to the table is experience in dealing with highly competitive markets whether it's Indian gaming or not Indian gaming. You know, it does not matter to the customer. They care about the brand. They care about the quality, the service. They care about the quality of the operations. And we bring those kinds of things in a very competitive market here.
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