Scientific Games, IGT team up for Advantage Systems

Jan 18, 2005 7:03 AM

News that Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) had fleshed out its strategic alliance with International Game Technology (IGT) was happily received last week by investors who pushed the share price up 10%.

The company said the alliance will combine the technology of SGMS’s video control systems with IGT’s Advantage Systems, including accounting, patron management, bonusing and EZ Pay ticket system in lotteries, pari-mutuel wagering and commercial gaming markets.

In the near term, the company said,the alliance will cooperate in the submission for the Louisiana procurement of a central monitoring system that will feature a comprehensive combined solution to meet expectations of the Louisiana market.

Also, Scientific Games said it would join with marketing agent Greco & Emmi Creative Co. to make available for advertising thousands of screens in its on-track and off-track locations that reache more than a half-million racing fans daily.

And in still another announcement, SMGS said it had received a two-year extension to its contract with Colorado Department of Revenue ensuring the continued operation of its lottery system through October 2012. The extension was valued at $14 million.

At the close of business on Friday, the share price of SGMS had risen to $25,87, an increase of $2.57 per share.

Court victory

Lakes Entertainment Inc. (LACO) says it has received a favorable court decision regarding its efforts to help the Shingle Springs Rancheria Indian tribe to develop a casino on the tribal reservation in El Dorado County, Cal.

The tribe’s efforts were opposed in a federal lawsuit by the county that challenged the tribe’s recognition, as well as, certain environmental assessments under the National Environmental Protection Act.

Still awaited is a decision in a lawsuit brought by the county against the California Department of Transportation to block construction of the Highway 50 interchange that would allow access to the Shingle Springs reservation.

On another front, LACO reported signing a gaming development consulting agreement and management contacts with the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. The agreement calls for the development of three casinos including the largest that will be on eight hundred acres of Indian gaming land in northern Oklahoma, near the Kansas border.

Macau expansion

Looking to take advantage of a change in the gaming laws of Singapore, Greek Mythology Entertainment Group Ltd. of Macau has advised Singapore’s government that it will submit plans for a $769 million entertainment complex that will include a casino, hotels and shopping malls by the end of February.

The company, controlled by Macau’s legendary gaming mogul Stanley Ho, recently opened a casino in Macau.

It’s expected that MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) and Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) will compete with Greek Mythology for the Singapore license.

Resource-poor Singapore hopes to license casinos as a means of capitalizing on the increase in gaming interest throughout the Southeast Asia area.

Iowa project

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) indicated strong interest in developing the "Horseshoe" brand when it purchased the gaming assets of Horseshoe Gaming Holding Inc. from Jack Binion last year.

Now, the company plans to take advantage of the brand by investing $85 million in Harrah’s Bluffs Run Casino in Iowa and renaming the property the Horseshoe Council Bluffs.

The expanded riverboat casino is expected to become a greater challenge to the Ameristar Casino riverboats that have dominated the market area. The casino is located directly across the river from Omaha, Neb.

Horseshoe Council Bluffs will have 68,000 square feet of new gaming space with 36 live table games, including a 20-table poker room, and 1,900 slot and video poker machines. It is slated to open in the first quarter of 2006.

Rosecroft sold

The on-again, off-again sale of Rosecroft Raceway, a struggling harness track in Prince George’s County, Md., is finally on again with the Angelos family paying $13 million for the racing operation. The Angelos family is headed by Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles. However, to avoid problems with Major League Baseball, the Angelos family has designated a son, Louis, as the track operator.

The move was seen as a positive by the supporters seeking to install slot machines in Maryland racetracks. The Angelos family is expected to have some influence with the Legislature in passing a gaming bill.

British gaming

The plan to overhaul the gambling industry in Britain has been branded an "embarrassment" and could be shelved completely, according to political observers.

Initially, the gambling bill under development was aimed at modernizing the country’s 40-year old laws. But so much controversy has developed since its first airing that support has been waning. British casino operators say the new bill unduly favors American gaming companies that have flocked to the U.K. in hopes of developing partnerships with local firms.

A spokesman for the British Casino Association said he believed that so much controversy has developed that there may not be enough time to pass the bill.

And a representative of the Liberal Democrats said his party and the Conservatives had agreed to fight any proposed changes to the existing bill.

Because of the developing opposition, casino industry sources reportedly were welcoming the prospect of the bill being postponed until the next parliament.

THE INSIDER: There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for the reorganization of bankrupt American Wagering Inc. (BETM). If all goes according to a plan approved by the courts, the company could emerge from Chapter 11 by March.

Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR) will host a conference call to review its earnings for the fourth quarter on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 8 a.m. PST.

The country’s two biggest casinos — Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun — have turned over to Connecticut $33.4 million as its share of the casinos’ December slot winnings. This was 10% more than the casinos generated in December 2003.

The Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team has hired Dave Morehouse, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, to assist it in its bid to receive a slot machine license. The Penguins said proceeds from a slots parlor would be used to build a new downtown arena.

Missouri gaming regulators have approved the proposed location by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK) of a new downtown St. Louis casino on Laclede’s Landing.

Station Casinos Inc. (STN) has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 best companies to work for in 2005.

Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD) will review its fourth quarter 2004 fiscal experience in a conference call on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at l:30 p.m. PST.

Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR) has agreed to buy its partner’s 18% interest in the Caesars Indiana casino resort for about $70 million.

The Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (ISLE) is rethinking its plan to relocate a riverboat casino in Elmwood, Ill., following opposition expressed by four Parish Council members.

Current law in Minnesota permits establishments to hold tournaments in card games such as cribbage, bridge, gin etc. Not included, however, is Texas Hold’em. That may change now that legislation is being considered to legalize the national craze.

It’s supposed to have five members but the Illinois Gaming Board has only two members thus preventing any decisions to be made relative to gaming licensees. A spokesman said the governor is having a hard time finding "good people who want to get involved in such a high-profile board."

Gaming analysts at Jefferies & Co. have initiated coverage of Nevada Gold& Casinos Inc. (UWN) with a "buy" rating.