Posted At : February 3, 2009 12:12 PM | Posted By : D McKee
Related Categories: Australia,Tropicana Entertainment,The Strip,Politics,Atlantic City,Tribal,Stanley Ho,Aristocrat,Shuffle Master,Regulation,Florida,Columbia Sussex
Seminoles offer to lay $288 million and 12,000 new jobs on the table, for starters. Sunshine State Republicans blow them a raspberry. Constitutional or not, Gov. Charlie Crist's compact put a good deal in place for both sides. (It wasn't so good if you were a non-tribal casinos, but they'd been underperforming even before Crist gave the Seminoles table games.) Unfortunately, Florida solons seem bent on pissing it away for a variety of reasons, spite -- mainly toward Crist -- not least among them.
Good news at Trop(s). It's a rare and welcome day for Tropicana Entertainment when it can announce not one but two pieces of good news in the same day. At the Tropicana Las Vegas, a marketing firm has been retained to try and reposition the LV Trop as a service-and-value-oriented property. TropEnt promises "to elevate its service and value standards,” in a slap at Columbia Sussex, its nominal parent company.
Out East, you can stick a fork in the Cordish Co. purchase of the Tropicana Atlantic City, now that the former has missed the deadline for reaching an agreement. What's the response from hapless Trop trustee Gary Stein? Why, to extend the sale another three months, of course. His Plan B would involve dropping any minimum-bid requirement from the bankruptcy auction.
Sending the Trop to Chapter 11 auction without a stalking-horse bidder hardly looks like a strategy that will drive the price up. ColSux was a lousy owner but neither it nor its creditors deserve to be ripped off like this.
As for Cordish, Stein is playing the role of battered spouse in a co-dependent/abusive relationship. Cordish, he coos, is still "actively engaged ... They have certainly not withdrawn." Why anybody would still listen to Stein, whose credibility is somewhere south of zero by now, is a mystery for the ages. Enough! It's well past time that the New Jersey Casino Control Commission sacked this sorry excuse for a trustee. These monkeyshines aren't remotely funny anymore and the vaudeville hook is way overdue.
Unless the NJCCC knows something the rest of us don't, there's no longer any viable excuse for not giving TropEnt at least a probationary interval as owner/operator. Its creditors have every incentive to make revenue grow there if they're to see their money again -- unlike ColSux which was acted as though it was perfectly happy to drive financial performance straight into the ground so long as the Trop was run on the cheap.
At least one Wall Street analyst likes Shuffle Master's choice of CEO better than I do. Timothy Parrott is a great guy for all I know, but there's little in his recent background to suggest that he's the turnaround specialist Shuffle Master needs.
Stanley Ho, sugar daddy. The godfather of Macanese gambling has shown a sudden upsurge of interest in the fortunes of Australia's Labor Party, funneling $587,000-plus into its coffers. As though to prove it isn't completely Dr. Ho's bitch, the ALP returned $326,000 from Angela Leong (aka Mrs. Stanley Ho). Because, you know, they've got standards. Yeah, that's it. (It's not unlike the Obama administration's exception-proves-the-rule attitude toward appointing lobbyists to critical guvmint jobs. Plus ça change and all that.)
Seems the ALP has been talking a good game about cleaning up campaign finance -- and the conservatives who've been resistant -- while raking in beaucoup HoBucks, even if they say they returned two-thirds of the money. Because $195K is totally cool but $587K would be de trop, I guess.
Or was the total extent of ALP-accepted Ho largesse even larger still ... like $912,000 maybe? The numbers are all over the one place but one thing is for sure: In the words of Opposition parliamentarian Michael Ronaldson, "The whole deal simply doesn't pass the sniff test."