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Chinese concert draws visitors

John Seelmeyer

Posters for the concert are all over town San Francisco’s Chinatown, that is and its promoters are running a heavy schedule of newspaper advertising.

The advertising is paying off as tickets to a Chinese New Year performance in downtown Reno next Saturday are a hot item.

Harrah’s, one of the four hotel casinos sponsoring the show, had sold out its allocation of tickets and in recent days was preparing to ask other properties for their leftovers.

The show is an indication of the importance of Asians to the health of Reno’s gaming business, and big-spending gaming customers from around the nation will be flown to Reno for the concert.

Headlining the show in the 2,600-seat City Center Pavilion will be Man Lung Lam, a Hong Kong singer and star of a longrunning television show.

He’ll be joined by Po Yue Tong, a singer, and Ho Ying Kwok, a fellow television actor.

It’s a big show.

Bill Lang, Asian marketing director at the Eldorado estimates the cost at about $90,000 $60,000 for the performers, $30,000 for promotion and production.

Tickets were priced at $38 to $50.

That investment is possible only because of the joint effort by the four properties Harrah’s, the Eldorado, the Silver Legacy and Circus Circus to promote downtown Reno, said Frank DeCarlo, regional director of Asian gaming for Harrah’s.

They used a Los Angeles production company to assemble the package of performers.

To promote the event, the downtown properties are running a daily schedule of advertising in two major Chinese language papers in northern California, Sing Tao and World Journal.

DeCarlo, noting that Harrah’s has been promoting quarterly or monthly Asian shows for years, said the promotional effort also relies on his company’s relationships with the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Harrahs also will be boosting its bus service from the Bay area for this weekend’s concert and other Chinese New Year events.

“Asian events are very important to Reno,” he said.

Lang said other properties will devote much of their allocation of tickets as comps to high-value Asian gaming customers For all the investment and all the specialized promotion, however, organizers still have some old-fashioned worries as the weekend show approaches.

“I hope the weather will cooperate,” said Lang.

The four downtown properties have cooperated in the past year on events ranging from concerts by Willie Nelson and the Moody Blues to live boxing and a $1 million “stay, play and win” promotion.