DON’T BET THE HOUSE ON THE RIVERFRONT

December 05, 2000 8:29 AM
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DON’T BET THE HOUSE ON THE RIVERFRONT: "Sure, the Detroit City Council gave Mayor Dennis Archer another year’s extension on buying the Riverfront land designated for permanent casinos," said our Midwest pipe, "but you’d better hold off betting that those permanent casinos will ever be built."

Why do you say what?

"First of all, it was Archer that set the rule that temporary casinos could only operate for four years and then must move into the permanent sites. Then the Riverfront area was chosen. But, right from the beginning, acquisition of that land has been a problem and there seems to be less interest in locating those gambling joints in that area.

"And, the three casinos are making money hand over fist in their temporary locations, so obviously, they don’t want to reach deep into their pockets for an $800 million facility.

"So, the easiest answer for everybody is to just play the hand they’ve been dealt and laugh all the way to the bank," he said.


AND, DON’T BET AGAINST ED ROSKI: Rumors circulating keep getting stronger that Los Angeles real estate developer Ed Roski, Jr., has come up short in putting together the financing to acquire the Las Vegas Hilton.

"But don’t bet on it," advised our Wall Street rosebud.

"Getting the financial backing for the Las Vegas Hilton project has been tough for Roski, but don’t count him out yet. After all, Roski, according to Forbes magazine, has a net worth of $900 million. That throws a lot of weight his way during discussions with bankers.

"And, besides, if Roski walks away from the deal, he’ll have to pony up $20 million as a break up fee. That’s no small change.

"One other little item," she said, "have you noticed that Roski has buddied up with Barron Hilton? Not a bad buddy to have on your side," she observed.


BUT, YOU CAN BET ON GALLAGHER: After all, Tom Gallagher, the new president and CEO of Park Place Entertainment Corp. (PPE), is betting on himself.

In a recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, Gallagher noted that he had purchased 38,000 shares of PPE at an average price of $13.25 a share.

Now, that’s putting your money where your mouth is!


GIVE ‘EM HELL, HARRY! If U.S. Senator Harry Reid doesn’t mind us using an old Harry Truman slogan, we certainly don’t mind either.

The good Senator is holding a videoconference Wednesday with all the brass of the American Gaming Association. It’s no secret that Sen. Reid and others (GamingToday included) feel the demand of the NCAA’s proposal to ban betting on college sports is ludicrous.

Biased? Is that what you’re saying, because Nevada offers legal betting on college sports?

Kelly Higgins, one of the most influential members of several NCAA committees, thinks the ban stinks. He sent a letter saying so to the NCAA executive board and state government reps:

"I have some deep reservations regarding this legislation, and I felt it important that each of you understand my personal convictions on the issue. They are the core of why I do not forward each of you the letter of support prepared for each athletic director to sign and send to their congressional representative."

What he spelled out was an attack on the NCAA ban. (Reported in depth in the Nov. 28 edition of GamingToday.)

Sen. Reid is expected to tell members of the AGA that the time has come to bolster support to stop the bill as quickly as possible.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Jim Bradshaw, a casino executive of note across the years and across the board, is adding another notch to his birthday belt. And, if Dan Chandler has anything to say about it (He usually does!), the event will not go unnoticed.

On my desk is "An Invitation from Your Humble Servant . . . Dan Chandler." I refer to Chandler as the Energizer Bunny -- a rabbit that keeps going and going and going. In his typical down-home style, Chandler explains that the first Arkansas Duck Hunt has provided a spectacular yield. It will be shared at a dinner honoring Bradshaw beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Le Montrachet on restaurant row at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Bradshaw came to us from the Naval Academy and has been hitting homeruns for Las Vegas casinos for a number of years. He may not want to tell attendees about his age, but it’s a good bet he’ll be bragging about Navy’s upset over Army last week.


BILOXI BROUHAHA? "It ain’t so!" "It is, too!"

That’s the rhetoric going on between a study group hired by JCC Holding (JAZ) and gamers in Biloxi, Miss.

The way I hear it, JAZ hired a study group to convince Louisiana politicians to ease up on its hefty tax ($100 million per year) for the one and only land-based casino in New Orleans.

According to the study, the Harrah’s Entertainment (HET) casino in New Orleans is keeping Louisianans in Louisiana more so than in the past, when they hurried off to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a taste of gambling. Casinos in Biloxi don’t agree.

"I have to go along with the study, even though I’m not much on such affairs," said a pipe. "It stands to reason that playing in your own backyard is going to keep somebody home."


MONEY TO LEND! Good-bye, gambling! Hello, ‘dot.coms!’

Jackpot Enterprises (J), which will soon become J-NET, is out of the casino business with the sale of its slot machine routes to the Herbst Family. The price? How does $44 million in cash sound? E-T-T Inc. is the buyer. The company is operated by the Herbst brothers -- Ed, Troy and Tim.

It was a busy week for the siblings. On Wednesday, they were set to open Terrible’s Hotel/Casino on the east side of Las Vegas -- Flamingo and Paradise roads. As for J, the company will spend its full time as an Internet incubator. I’m told that the word incubator is the new buzzword of techees in search of money, as in money to lend!


LEGAL TENDER! "If you wanna play," said a Mississippi pipe, "you gotta pay!"

The reference was to a Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling that was favorable to Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Miss. It held that credit markers are enforceable debts in Tennessee courts because they were legal when they were signed by a Tennessee player (Yo Anne Russell) in Mississippi.

"Yo Anne owed $23,800 in markers and signed 13 markers to cover the debt. When the deposit slip-sized markers were presented to the bank, they were dishonored. The Horseshoe sued.

"The ruling says that the U.S. Constitution’s ‘full faith and credit’ clause required that a legal contract entered in Mississippi can be enforced in Tennessee, even thought it may be void in Tennessee," the pipe explained.

In so doing, the Appeals Court reversed a local court ruling in a 3-0 decision.