For Chuck Mathewson, it’s the end of an era with IGT

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Charles N. “Chuck” Mathewson, who guided
International Game Technology (IGT) from a small Reno gaming machine
manufacturer into the country’s predominant creator of slot machines, is
retiring from his post as company chairman.

Succeeding Mathewson as chairman is G. Thomas Baker who
relinquishes his positions of company president and chief executive officer.

Moving up is Thomas J. Matthews who will add the titles of
president and CEO to his existing title of chief operating officer.

The company said the management changes were effective
immediately.

Mathewson, whose background involved financial investments
with a Wall Street firm, became intrigued with the efforts of IGT founder Si
Redd’s efforts in developing and promoting video poker machines. In 1986, he
bought out much of Redd’s investment in IGT and quickly became involved in the
company’s operation. He became a member of the board of directors in 1985 and
assumed the position of chairman a year later.

Recognized throughout the gaming industry for his vision and
insight, Mathewson played a major role in the establishment of the G2E, which
conducts the industry’s annual convention and expo at the Las Vegas Convention
Center. For his efforts in promoting the gaming industry, he was elected to the
Hall of Fame by the American Gaming Association.

Baker first joined IGT in 1988 and has held an executive
position ever since except for a brief stint as CFO of Boomtown Hotels and
casinos in 1995. He returned to IGT in 1996 as president and COO and was
promoted to CEO in 2000.

Matthews was executive vice president with Anchor Gaming Inc.
when it was acquired in 2001. He immediately was named chief operating officer
of IGT.

Clouded future

A week after management expressed unbridled excitement at the
prospects of becoming the largest hotel in New Jersey with the construction of
the $245 million expansion of the Tropicana Casino and Resort, Aztar Corporation
(AZR) was reeling from the impact of a deadly collapse of part of a new
adjoining garage.

The garage accident, that killed four workers, happened last
Thursday.

Officials said they were evaluating the condition of the
partial collapse of the 10-story parking garage in order to decide whether to
attempt to salvage part of the construction or whether to demolish the entire
project and start fresh.

Although it seemed likely the planned March debut of
Tropicana’s The Quarter was unlikely, company chairman Paul Rubeli vowed to
complete the construction as quickly as possible.

Impact of the accident on the company’s shares was
relatively light following the accident. President and CFO Bob Haddock said part
of the loss would be covered by insurance. He said that other losses would be
covered by business interruption insurance.

Four-year contract

The Detroit Casino Council, representing the union workers at
Detroit’s three casinos, have successfully negotiated four-year contracts with
Motor City Casino, partly-owned and operated by Mandalay Resort Group (MBG), and
MGM Grand, owned and operated by MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG).

Negotiations with the city’s Greektown Casino are ongoing.

The contract, which offers wage increases in each of the four
years, was approved by majority vote of the union members. In addition to higher
wages, the contract provides enhanced retirement security and guarantees of new
job opportunities at the casinos’ permanent locations that are expected to be
online in 2006.

Deadline or not?

Centaur Inc., the Indiana gaming company that planned to
acquire Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland, failed to meet the deadline established
by the Maryland Racing Commission and faces the loss of its $2.5 million cash
deposit.

But the company says that since there were “unresolved
issues” that prevented it from completing the $55 million acquisition, the
deadline should be extended. At issue is the matter of “revenue
sharing,” or how the profits from both live and simulcast wagering should
be split.

The raceway, located in Prince George’s County, is owned by
a horsemen’s group known as Cloverleaf Enterprises Inc. It has been operating
at a loss but would have its value enhanced should the state decide to permit
slot machines at its racetracks.

THE INSIDER: Fears are developing in Illinois that the
gaming revenue increases expected from major hikes in tax rates are not going to
be realized. Although official figures are not yet available, tax collectors
have noted that casino taxes and lottery proceeds are down for the current
fiscal year.

Alliance Gaming Corp. (AGI) will hold its annual stockholders
meeting on Dec. 10.

Capital Seven, the company owned by Las Vegas Shawn Scott,
has signed a $30 million development deal that will allow the company to operate
a racino at Bangor Raceway should the Maine voters approve track slots.

All seven directors of Paul-Son Gaming Corporation (PSON)
were re-elected for one-year terms at the annual meeting of stockholders held
the last week of October.

Analysts at Banc of America have lowered their rating on Wynn
Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) from “buy” to “neutral.”

Merrill Lynch analysts have reduced their ratings on
Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) to “neutral” from “buy.”

Directors of Shuffle Master Inc. (SHFL) have authorized the
repurchase of up to $30 million of the company’s common stock.

Standard & Poor’s rating service has affirmed the
corporate debt of Mikohn Gaming Corporation (MIKN) and removed it from its
CreditWatch.

 

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