Paul-Son taps the French connection

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MERGER & MOTHBALLS!
Paul-Son Gaming (PSON), one of the largest suppliers of table game
equipment, and a French gaming equipment supplier (Establissenments Bourgogne
et Grasset
) and its Las Vegas subsidiary ”” Bud Jones Co. ”” have
united.

Although the value of the deal was not
disclosed, the result will find the French company and Bud Jones subsidiaries of
Las Vegas-based Paul-Son. However it will be Bourgogne shareholders and
executives ”” not the Endy family of Las Vegas ”” who controls the
merged company.

Paul-Son saw better days when its
founder, Paul S. Endy, Jr., was alive and well. Despite its leading
position among table game suppliers, Paul-Son has struggled with quarterly
losses over the past two years. And, the last nine months, ended Feb. 28, saw
Paul-Son lose $1.71 million, compared to a loss of $984,000 for the same period
last year. Revenues during the same period have fallen off 23% to $11.9 million.

Eric
Endy
, son of the founder, has been
operating the company since 1998. “Obviously disappointed” with the drop in
business, he blamed Sept. 11 and a lack of new casino openings and expansions.

Meanwhile
Bourgogne posted revenues of $23.4 million for 2001.

PSON
closed Monday at $1.80, up 11 cents, with heavy volume of 10,800 shares. The
stock’s volume average is 2,480 shares.

THE
VOICE OF EXPERIENCE
:
“When Mickey Brown took the microphone at last week’s gaming
conference in New York State, you could see people’s ears perk up,” reported
out northeast pipe.

Of
interest, he explained, was the impact the development of casinos would have on
existing properties in Connecticut and Atlantic City. Brown was instrumental in
the development of Foxwoods Resort for the Mashantucket Pequot Indians.

”The
Catskills would have an equal impact on Atlantic City and Connecticut,” Brown
told the gathering. “When Mohegan Sun opened, Foxwoods had a short-time loss.
Everybody wanted to see the new facility. Then the market grew.”

Brown
pointed out that the Connecticut casinos generate about $2 billion a year in
revenue while Atlantic City is a $4 billion market.

“In
this business, generally you always have to be expanding and building. When I
was involved with Foxwoods, we always built, built, built. That was a smart
thing to do and Mohegan Sun is doing it now.”

DEJA
VU ALL OVER AGAIN
:
A few years ago, Wall Street tycoon Ron Perelman was guided through the
Nevada licensing process by  top
gaming attorney Frank Schreck, not because an acquisition was imminent,
“but just in case an opportunity arises.”

Fast
forward to the present and last week’s meeting of the New Jersey Casino
Control Commission during which Perelman was deemed worthy of holding a New
Jersey casino license.

His
representative at the meeting was quoted as saying that the chairman of Revlon
didn’t have any specific acquisition in mind but just in case something
attractive came up his boss wanted to be prepared to take advantage of the
situation.

Actually,
this was Perelman’s second licensing approval in New Jersey. The first was in
1995.

A
VISIONARY FOR VISION
:
The former companyknown as Leisure Time Technology has changed its name
to Vision Gaming Technology. The Atlanta-based firm produces the popular
Pot O Gold slot machine, which is available in several venues. The man behind
the company is former Aristocrat exec Andre Hilliou. Vision plans to tap
the California casino market: it recently signed a deal with K.P. Gaming,
the leading Native American distributor of casino gaming products in California.
Hilliou said: “We are very happy that such a quality company has decided to
join ranks with us to increase the market share of our already successful Pot O
Gold video games.”

SHORT
SHORTS!
In
February casinos in Nevada posted their first positive month s
ince 9/11.
It followed a nearly 15% winning slump in January. That was the worst month for
the clubs in nearly 20 years. But, don’t get too excited. February was a
deceiving month. Both Super Bowl and Chinese New Year happened to fall there
this year. Both are usually in January. When the win for the two months is
combined and compared to last year, the casinos are still down . . . Ron
Perelman
and Carl Icahn lost their battle for Marvel Entertainment
Group (
MEG)
. But, Perelman had a junk bond deal going with comic book
publisher that made him $280 million, while company
raider Icahn ended up more than $70 million in the red. A legal battle is a
cinch to follow as Marvel’s most popular character, “Spiderman,” is being
made into a major movie and is expected to go through the roof with sales . . .
U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs says
that Indian tribes in 29 states have
generated $10.6 billion from 321 casinos with 250,000 jobs created. And, 75% of
the workers are non-Indian . . . Lyle
Berman
is hit with a bad case of silence. The enterprising casino owner has
suddenly stopped talking about his plans to build a casino on the Strip at
Harmon Road. I hear he’s loo
king for a partner.

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