When Stan Fulton,
founder and principal stockholder in Anchor Gaming Inc. decided to leave Las
Vegas and follow his dream, he arranged as part of his sale of stock to the
company that he would buy Sunland Park Racetrack in New Mexico. The track was
part of the deal involving Anchor Gaming’s acquisition of VLC, another gaming
Once free to pursue his
new calling, Fulton went all out to improving both the facility at Sunland Park
and its racing program. He also took advantage of the legislative approval for
the installation of slot machines at the track.
He was so delighted
with his new responsibility that he even applied for a license in Hobbs, N.M.,
when the state’s racing regulators agreed to consider a new track for that
But the past month,
Fulton reportedly had the time of his life when he went to Keeneland Race Course
for the spring sale of two-year-old thoroughbreds. When he left, he had spent
$1,310,000 for three horses, including $850,000 for the sales topper, a son of
Unbridled’s Song that has been named Ocillator.
Advising him at the
sale was Darby Dan Bloodstock’s Tim McMurry who described the colt as a
“man among boys.”
Fulton said he decided
to enter the owner’s ranks after seeing how much his friends enjoyed owning
Interviewed by Deirdre
B. Biles for Blood Horse magazine, Fulton described his recent endeavors
as “living a dream. I used to tell everyone I was too smart to ever own a
racehorse, but when you catch the fever, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Lordy, I’m just like every other human being who thinks about racing in
Kentucky in early May. Next year, I want to be 75 miles west of here (at
Churchill Downs). That’s my goal.”
Actually, this wasn’t
Fulton’s first appearance at a horse sale. Last year, he began his stable
acquisition by buying some two-year-olds at Barretts Sale in California and
later he bought five yearlings at the Del Mar yearling auction.
Asked what his goal
was, Fulton replied, “I’d like to have, oh, probably, a hundred horses in
A former Las Vegas
gaming community competitor remarked that Fulton “never wanted to do
anything in a small way.”
Prior to selling his
interest in Anchor Gaming, Fulton donated upwards of $6 million for the
construction of the Gaming Research Institute building at the University of
Nevada, Las Vegas.
Eric Nelson, the Las
Vegas real estate auctioneer who broadened his business enterprise, Phoenix
Leisure Corp., to include both racetracks and gaming properties, is buying the
Playfair Race Course in Spokane, Washington.
Three years ago, Nelson
bought Wyoming Downs racetrack and its off-track betting facilities from
long-time racing executive Joe Joyce. He also had made a bid for a track in
Vermont but the deal never materialized.
Nelson said the
Playfair corporate name would be Cleopatra Horse Racing and Casino Inc. Nelson
currently operates four card rooms in Washington under the Cleopatra name.
In order to devote his
full attention to the Playfair project, Nelson said he has withdrawn from the
daily management of his other gaming operations.
His task won’t be
easy. The east Spokane racetrack has shut down in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001
because of financial problems.
Tax sales drop
According to figures
released by the Nevada Taxation Department, sales in March fell 3% when compared
to the same month a year ago. This followed the first two months of the year
when sales were reported as flat.
The decline in sales
for the Las Vegas area was less severe. The state officials said sales in the
Las Vegas area fell just 1.6% in March but the numbers from bar and restaurants
sales increased 1.5%.
Officials said that in
order for the state to meet its budgetary requirements there would have to be
growth sale of at least 6% going forward to the end of the fiscal year on June
New Miss. Hotel
It hasn’t taken long
for the former racetrack company, Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) to make its
presence felt on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Last week, the company announced it
had completed “on-time and on-budget” a 291-room hotel and convention
center at its Casino Magic Bay St. Louis casino resort in Bay St. Louis, Miss.
The company acquired
the property in August, 2000, and immediately announced plans for the expansion.
Ground breaking for the project took place in April, 2001.
Peter Carlino, company
chairman and CEO, said the development places Casino Magic Bay St. Louis in a
position of becoming the “most comprehensive casino resort on the
Mississippi Gulf Coast.” He said the property now has 500 hotel rooms,
40,000 square feet of gaming space, several restaurants, and a championship golf
It used to be strictly
a “gold” company but a couple of years ago, the Houston, Texas, based
Nevada Gold and Casino Inc. (UWN) changed focus to concentrate on casino gaming
rather the mining business.
The company isn’t
entirely out of the gold business but has transferred the responsibility of its
share of gold leases to other companies for development.
As for its gaming
interest, which include Colorado gaming operations, Nevada Gold is partnering
with the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians in the controversial River
Rock Casino, near Sacramento, Calif.
construction has begun on the site but nearby property owners have filed
lawsuits with the intent of preventing the casino from being built. Lawyers for
the tribe have insisted that the project is both legal and sound since it will
sit on tribal lands.
Nevada Gold and Casino
Inc. is the largest shareholder among a group of investors that will hold 51%
ownership of the casino. The tribe will hold 49% and has agreed to pay its
outside investors 20% of the casino’s net revenues for five years.
In the southern part of
California, the Pechanga Tribe will shut down its hodgepodge of gaming buildings
near the city of Temecula and will open a $262 million Las Vegas-style casino
The new facility
includes a 522-room, 14-story complex that will house 2,000 slot machines, 63
table games, and a 700-seat bingo hall.
The casino project had
the full cooperation of the City of Temecula whose leaders have described the
facility as adding several new dimensions to the community.
As part of the new
complex, the Pechangas have built a convention center that local authorities
said will put Temecula on the map.
JCM’s Cash Box
manufacturer JCM American Corporation (JCM) recently installed its new
Intelligent Cash Box system at the MotorCity Casino in Detroit. The system
integrates the casino’s existing slot floor with its accounting system,
ensuring accuracy and guarding against errors during the soft drop and soft
count processes. The ICB is a combination of cash box, docking station and
The Mandalay Resort
Group Inc. (MGG) reported quarterly earnings of $0.71 a share, meeting the
figure it had pre-announced several weeks ago. Despite the drop-off in business
at most properties because of the 9/11 attacks, the company was able to meet or
exceed expectations by strict cost control and with record numbers from its
MotorCity Casino in Detroit.
Also, during the
announcement, the Mandalay Resort Group spokesman said the company would break
ground in September, 2002, on a $225 million all-suite 41-story tower that would
have 1,122 rooms as an enhancement of its Mandalay Bay hotel/casino.
Working through Goldman
Sachs & Co., the Venetian Casino Resort LLC/ Las Vegas Sands Inc. is
offering $850 million 11% second mortgage notes due June 15, 2010.
revenues increased at the casinos in Mississippi. The group reported revenues of
$234.3 million, making it the best April ever. In Colorado, however, the casinos
produced $59.8 million during April, a decrease of 5.8% from the previous month.
The board of directors
of Shuffle Master Inc. (SHFL) has renewed its authorization for management to
repurchase company shares.
Officials of MGM MIRAGE
Inc. (MGG) indicated last week that the company plans to go forward with the
construction of a $1.5 billion gaming destination resort in Atlantic City.
Indications were that ground breaking for the project could be as soon as
Argosy Casinos Inc. (AGY)
says it is on a pace for a record year with its Lawrenceburg, Indiana riverboat.
From January to April, the company said the boat had revenues of $123 million.
Penn National Gaming
Inc. (PENN) has announced a 2-1 stock split to take place on June 4 with
distribution to follow on June 25. Following the split, the company will have
39.1 million shares outstanding.
Analysts at Banc of
America Securities have upgraded to a strong buy from buy shares of Ameristar
Casinos Inc. (ASCA).
Passenger count at
McCarran International Airport for the month of April was down 6.5% from what it
was a year ago as 2,960,000 passengers passed through the airport. The figures
were supplied by the Clark County Department of Aviation. Since the beginning of
the year, the passenger count has fallen 7.9%.
Sales of gaming
machines manufactured by Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd. of Australia have not
met estimates and the company has reduced its forecasts for full-year revenues
and profits. The company was founded by Len Ainsworth the embattled former
chairman and CEO of Aristocrat Limited.
Regis Philbin’s Fan Club was expanded
to Japan last week when a visitor from that country won $1.5 million instantly
on the Regis Cash Club Video Slots at Treasure Island.