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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 : June 26, 2009 12:49 PM | Posted By : D McKee
Related Categories: Donald Trump,Herbst Gaming,North Las Vegas,Boyd Gaming,Neil Bluhm,Pennsylvania,Transportation,Politics,Atlantic City,Sheldon Adelson,The Strip,Taxes,Kansas,Entertainment,Harrah's,Golden Gaming,Singapore
"An improvident indictment." That's what New Jersey officials are calling a case that was quietly quashed in May. Sacked Borgata veep John Conklin and two other men had been charged with plundering the Tropicana Atlantic City's database when they were in the Trop's employ (and when the Trop was still owned by Aztar Corp.).
Closer examination revealed that nothing had been purloined and the data in question was not particularly sensitive, either. All three indictees have been exonerated ... but where does John Conklin go to get his career back?
Phantom redux: Defying the odds, the Venetian's production of Phantom of the Opera celebrated its third anniversary Wednesday night. I jotted down a few observations for CityLife. (Tina Walsh fans, take note.) Having seen the Broadway production -- albeit many years ago -- I'll be the first to allow that it actually improves on the original in a respect or two. Oh, and my CityBlog entry misspells choreographer Gillian Lynne's last name. My apologies.
Two titans of American popular music "played Vegas" last weekend. Actually, Loretta Lynn was in North Las Vegas and Aretha Franklin all the way out in Primm ... not remotely near the Strip. What's wrong with this picture? Or this one ...
Midnight Jim: taking down Big Oil
It's summer and gas prices are -- like, duh! -- on the increase. Gov. Jim Gibbons doth suspect that dark, foul, untoward schemes are afoot. But Midnight Jim assures us he is on the case. I feel safer already.
Gay cowboys. They're queer, they're here and they're at The Rio specifically. A straight-gay coalition turned out in force last night to celebrate its victory over Midnight Jim's benighted opposition to domestic partnerships. (Because that's not how he rolls, y'see.) Speakers included Harrah's Entertainment Vice President Jan Jones, who led the charge on Carson City.
For all the failings of CEO Gary Loveman's stewardship of Harrah's, on his watch the company has expanded its already-enlightened attitude on social issues. It's not just a question of being gay-friendly; it's good business.
Worth -$23 million?
Isle of Blight. Is the woebegone Greek Isles casino-hotel worth less than nothing? In a sense, yes, since it owes $67 million on a book value of $44 million. Even a resale price at book value seems wishful thinking, considering the Isles' chequered history.
Asserts the Las Vegas Sun, "With its strategic location near the Las Vegas Strip and the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Greek Isles and its associated real estate are seen as having long-term value after the recession ends."
Yeah, but it's had that "strategic location" for as long as it's been in existence and the Isles' progress has been a steady one from Bad to Worse. I wouldn't give a plug nickel for the place -- not with Strip land prices in freefall and vast acreage there lying fallow.
Miracles are possible. Work on Marina Bay Sands is, believe or night, a fortnight ahead of schedule. Next step: Hold the line on that (already swollen) $5.4 billion budget.
The waiting continues in the great state of Kansas. Its lottery commission wants another two months to review applications for the Wichita and Kansas City markets. Considering the recent flurry of dropouts (including Vegas' own Golden Gaming), you'd think this would expedite the process. Instead, the coronation is six months away.
Squeeze play. No time is being wasted as Pennsylvania rushes toward expanding into Class III casinos. Two rival proposals to add table games are presently on the table. Casino lobbyist Steve Rittvo is forwarding a plan that would tax new games at 12%. This is projected to generate $165 million for the Keystone State (assuming that slot play concurrently increases sufficiently to generate a $61 million impost).
House Whip William DeWeese (D) counters with a 21% tax, combined with a one-time $10 million/casino fee, for a potential Year One windfall in excess of $300 million. I wish Rittvo luck but fear that solons will -- as they so often do -- gravitate toward the bigger dollar sign. It's an institutional failing.
Neil Bluhm, Philadelphia's Sugar[House] daddy
On a happier note, Neil Bluhm's revised design for his Sugarhouse Casino, on the Philadelphia waterfront, has received the green light from the City of Brotherly Love. Barring further legal mischief by sore loser Donald Trump, this means the project can finally move ahead, with a temporary, 1,700-slot casino slated for a Spring 2010 opening. Hallelujah!