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CASINO ADDS SPACE, PLACES TO PLAY AND AMENITIES

April 22, 2002 – The Divi Carina Bay Casino has added 91 slot machines, seven gaming tables and 15 new casino jobs in an expansion that has added 5,400 square feet to the facility.
The expansion also includes 140 parking spaces, a stock receiving area, additional guest restrooms, a second beverage station and a non-smoking section, Barbara Shattles, general manager, said.
"The improvements not only provide additional enjoyments for our patrons with more gaming and amenities but give our employees a better work environment," she said
Shattles said Divi "had a good season, but since 9-11 [the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the mainland] we've been affected by the tourism slowdown."
The executives of Treasure Bay VI Corp., which owns and operates the Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino, are seeking to expand its market by promoting its advantage in being a U.S. gaming destination, Shattles said. She added that the local patron market has held strong.
"Folks are having a great time at the casino. Last week we had a large crowd," she said, with about a hundred women attending the third annual Women's Business Center conference. When the resort books conferences, the casino benefits from the added gaming patrons, she said.
Part of the expansion is to benefit the casino's higher rollers. "Our VIP's have been asking for a more private location," Shattles said. This is an area with slot machines and gaming tables that is tucked to the side of the main floor and will be roped off.
Fran Geocaris, advertising coordinator, said the casino is gradually adding more amenities for its more than 200 employees. "If a person only has a 15 minute break and has to wait three minutes for the elevator and five to get food, you've lost your break," she said, adding that things have "really improved."
The employees, which include dealers, security personnel and housekeeping staff, now have a new dining and break room that serves an expanded menu of hot lunches, salads and fresh-baked bread. "It's great. I love the break room," Clare Flavien, slot technician, said.
On the east side of the upper level, a new stock delivery area will make food items readily accessible for meal preparation. Previously, Shattles said, employees had to get food supplies from a storage area in the hotel part of the resort.
The Casino Control Commission's on-site office has been relocated from a ground floor area now used for other offices. Commission member Lloyd McAlpin said the additional slot machines will increase the government's revenues. "It looks like a real casino now," he said of the features and games. "It tells me that Divi is doing well."
McAlpin noted that the relocation of the commission's office places his inspectors right on the casino floor. That's what the law legalizing casino gaming on St. Croix requires, he said –"casino inspectors, who are our eyes and ears, throughout the facility operations."
From the opening of the casino on March 14, 2000, McAlpin said, the commission had shared a small, two-desk satellite office with the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
The casino management welcomes the relocation of the commission office because the inspectors help monitor their quality of service, Geocaris said. "They're always watching us," she said. "That's good, because we don't want to be non-compliant."
It's not only the commission that's watching what's going on. Shattles said the black ceiling light fixtures are part of an elaborate security system. She said the casino maintains 24-hour security outside in the parking lot, too. "I think we are one of the safest places on the island," she said. "Ladies meet here at the casino and feel safe."
Gerard Doward, security supervisor, said that security operations are basically the same now as they were before the expansion. "Just a little more manpower" is required to keep things running smoothly, he said.
Still to come in the renovations are a flag pole out in front of the casino, an employee gazebo and an expanded snack area. There will be ongoing projects until July, Shattles said.
The casino is open seven days a week. Hours are noon to 4 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon to 6 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays.

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