Uboldi sets new course for casino
(January 2002) Switzerland Co., Ind. Faced with a slow
economy, sluggish tourism and winter setting in, officials at Switzerland
Countys premier tourist attraction, Belterra Casino Resort, are
rethinking their operational strategies.
Newly hired Vice-President and General Manager Alain Uboldi
has been overseeing those changes since coming aboard in December.
Uboldi, who has years of casino management experience, says he has some
specific goals in mind for Belterras future.
This company has decent revenues but doesnt make any profit,
said Uboldi, 55. But that shouldnt be too hard to turn around.
The 15-story hotel and 38,000-square-foot casino, owned by Pinnacle
Entertainment in Glendale, Calif., opened 14 months ago. It has attracted
visitors from all over the region, while sponsoring festivals and sporting
events and playing host to celebrity concerts in its 1,500-seat showroom.
Having only been at Belterra a few weeks, Uboldi is still becoming acquainted
with the area. In a Dec. 20 interview, he discussed his vision for Belterras
future. It included several initiatives:
n The marketing department will be revamped to be more financially efficient.
This will include cutting back promotional spending and being more selective
on marketing strategies. Uboldi said Belterra spends twice as much in
marketing dollars as other casinos. Past promotion has been centered
in Louisville and Lexington, Ky.; Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, and Indianapolis.
Our plan is to concentrate on Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati,
n There will be fewer employees. Over the past two years, Belterra has
employed many foreign workers. Those jobs will be cut and filled by
current staff. Uboldi said his emphasis is on keeping the workforce
n Uboldi said Belterra is committed as title sponsor of Kentucky Speedways
Belterra-Indy 300 Indy Racing League event in August 2002.
Belterra has not yet committed to continuing for a third year as the
Madison Regatta title sponsor. Nor has the casino landed a professional
golf event at Belterras new 18-hole golf course. Uboldi said he
had spoken with area tourism officials about participating in collaborative
Our goal is to be not only a very good operation but a good citizen
with surrounding counties, said Uboldi.
n The 15-year-old Ogle Haus will re-open as a hotel and restaurant.
Two years ago, Hollywood Park, Pinnacle Entertainments predecessor,
bought the Ogle Haus for use as short-term lodging for Belterra staff
during construction. Belterra officials originally planned to re-open
it as a hotel and restaurant at a later date, but that goal was short
lived when the building became permanent housing for Belterras
international employees. Uboldi has announced plans to re-open all 54
rooms of the hotel by March and is currently negotiating with three
potential prospects about leasing restaurant space.
We feel fairly confident we can fill it up, he said. The
property seems to be very attractive to businesses. We have a lot of
bus tours and so much demand over the weekend that we can put our overflow
Opening the Ogle Haus came as welcome news to officials in Switzerland
County and Vevay.
Weve really missed it the last couple of years, said
Ann Mulligan, director of the Switzerland County Welcome Center. Weve
had people come in all the time asking about the Ogle Haus. We need
Uboldi, himself, brings a wealth of experience to Belterra. Originally
from Monte Carlo, he worked for the auditing firm of Peat Marwick-Mitchell
in Paris for five years before going on to work as the No. 2 man for
the SBM Casino in Monte Carlo.
In 1980, he came to America to serve as Executive Vice-President and
Assistant General Manager for the Playboy Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
He was also with the Regine Discothek and Restaurant chain and then
the Lady Luck Casino in Las Vegas. He was with that latter casino for
18 years and served as President and CEO until it was sold to the Isle
of Capri Co.
Uboldi is temporarily staying at the Ogle Haus but plans to find a residence
in the area next summer. His wife, Tania, and 7-year-old son, Alexandre
(the French spelling of Alexander), are still living in Las Vegas but
will soon join him. He has two other sons from a previous marriage,
Cyril, 30, who lives in Las Vegas, and Fabrice, 23, in Monte Carlo.
My meetings and conversation with him have been very positive,
said Mike Jones, president of the Switzerland County Council who originally
helped to bring the casino to the county. I think he very much
wants to become involved with the community, particularly county government,
and were looking forward to that.
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