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American Wagering’s future may ride with the courts

June 12, 2001 11:01 AM by

An unsuccessful appeal of a pair of court judgments could seriously impact the future of American Wagering Inc. (BETM), according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Also potentially offering a serious blow would be the company’s failure to sell its Australian Internet operation, Mega$ports.

Last year, BETM agreed to dispose of its Australian company after disciplinary charges were brought the Nevada Gaming Control Board. In order to permit the company to work out a sales agreement with an Australian company, the board granted three 30-day extensions, with the final date for completion of the sale being July 23.

The company executed a sales agreement with Forward Publishing Pty. Ltd. For $1,039,248 Australian dollars and accepted a deposit of $125,000. Unfortunately, Forward was unable to raise the monies necessary to complete the transaction and was determined to have defaulted on the deal.

The two court decisions under appeal involve a lawsuit brought by Michael Racusin, who charged breach of contract, and Imagineering Systems Inc., which filed a civil complaint charging breach of contract and an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Earlier this year, a jury refused to set aside the original award of $397,000 on the breach of contract claim but granted a new trial on the issue of damages awarded on the claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. That was contingent on Imagineering agreeing to reduce the judgment from $1 million to $500,0000, which it did.

The Racusin case resulted in a judgment for the plaintiff and payment in stock of 4.5 percent of $45 million plus $150,000 in cash. This was modified later and is now under cross-appeal.

Management said it believes it has sufficient funds to operate the company for the remainder of the fiscal year but is unable to judge the impact the loss of the court appeals would have.

BETM’s principal shareholders are Victor J. Salerno, chairman and CEO, and Judy Salerno, described as an investor.

Sale approved

Randy Black, operator of two hotel casinos in Mesquite, Nev., has received approved from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to acquire the nearby Si Redd’s Oasis Hotel Casino. Sale price has been listed at $31 million.

Black, who was questioned by the board about his dominance of gaming in the market, said he plans to upgrade the Oasis by injecting some $5 million in improvements.

THE INSIDER: PDS Gaming Corporation (PDSG) has extended its note exchange offer to Friday, June 22.

Smedes Rose, gaming analyst for Robertson Stephens, has started coverage of Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) with a "Buy" rating. He has a 12-month price target on PENN of $28.

The Aladdin is reported to be close to completing a deal with Showclubs of America to develop a showroom and nightclub in space at the property leased by the Aladdin. An opening date for the first quarter of next year has been announced. Actress Carmen Electra will perform nightly at the new venue.

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