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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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Posted At : April 15, 2009 02:01 PM | Posted By : D McKee
Related Categories: Harrah's,Station Casinos,Horseracing,Tribal,Reno,Maryland,Don Barden,Colony Capital,Internet gambling,Pennsylvania,Wall Street,Politics,MGM Mirage,Sports,Regulation,Boyd Gaming,Florida,Detroit
Down in Florida, the tide may be turning in favor of the Seminole Tribe. Both the Florida Retail Federation and Restaurant Lodging Association have thrown their support behind the status quo, as represented by Gov. Charlie Crist's Class III casino compact. Crist's unilateral gambling expansion has the not-so-small problem of being unconstitutional but this latest turn of events ratchets up the pressure on solons to pass a version of the compact that meets judicial muster.
That'll be no problem with the state Senate but the uptight House would like to roll back the Seminoles to slots-only status (and would get rid of the casinos altogether, if only they could in their benighted heart of hearts). The table-game genie isn't going back into the bottle -- at least not until the federal courts have their say -- so the Solomonic question at hand is how to level the playing field for private-sector racinos without sacrificing the Seminole tax revenue that Crist secured. Easier said than done, obviously.
"Is too!" "Is not!" Both MGM Grand Detroit and Greektown are refuting a report in the Detroit News (with which MGM has taken issue before) that they'd 86'd former Philadelphia 76er Allen Iverson from their casinos. Let's face it, the man is a boor but he's a wealthy boor, so neither casino is likely to turn him away as long as he only bounces basketballs, not checks.
Headless casino. Not only did Harrah's Entertainment sack the GM and five other execs at Harrah's Reno, it won't be replacing them. At almost any other company, running a casino by remote control would come as a surprise but Harrah's has the reputation of employing a ruthlessly standardized business model. Besides, the company has to free up some dough to pay its new Internet/World Series of Poker guru Mitch Garber, whose former employer, PartyGaming.com, just cut a deal with the feds.
The luck of the Fertittas. Dodging yet another bullet, Station Casinos extended negotiations with its debtors by another month. While some form of bankruptcy at Station is inevitable, the company continues to fend off a takeover attempt by Boyd Gaming. However, Station says that when it comes to the terms offered to unsecured creditors, it's hanging tough. If that's the case, what's to discuss? (Or is Station being more flexible than it's letting on publicly?) My money, so to speak, is still on Station brass and co-owners Colony Capital retaining possession of Station and at a substantial discount to its market value, too.
An obscure racino company is cleaning house and relocating from Las Vegas (where it had no logical business being headquartered) and back East, where all its business is. The board of Empire Resorts really wasn't minding the store, was it?
The company might at least saved a bundle on long-distance charges if it had condescended to have its corporate offices in New York State, where its physical operations were, and not in tax haven Green Valley. But don't cry for outsted CEO David Hanlon, who parachutes out with 100 grand and plus another hundred large for nine months of "consulting services." These days, nothing succeeds like failure -- provided it's done on a grand scale.
Update: These are the same clowns whose Maryland slot application got tossed because they didn't bother to include the mandatory application fee when they filed.
Pennsylvania's biggest gaming screwup is history ... sort of. Former Mount Airy casino owner Louis DeNaples is guilty as hell of hanging out with the wrong crowd but innocent of perjury and will maintain one degree of separation from the casino, which remains in the DeNaples family. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board can claim a semblance of victory but the four-and-a-half-year imbroglio is a lingering embarrassment to a body whose vetting process has been inarguably the sloppiest in the U.S.
The PGCB needs to pay more attention to background checks and less to "juice" (see Barden, Don) -- and also to develop questionnaires that aren't so "imprecise and potentially confusing" they could open applicants to charges of perjury. It would also behoove Pennsylvania to quit "stovepiping" PGCB and state police investigations. Were it not for a lack of information-sharing (prohibiting by Keystone Kop, er, State law), this whole mess would probably have been avoided.