Vegas execs help Indian casino

Jul 12, 2005 4:12 AM

Another local group of gaming executives has joined the growing field of Indian casino developers. Ellis Gaming, a limited liability company headed by John Groom, former Caesars Palace CEO, has submitted a tribal casino contract to federal officials on behalf of the Kickapoo tribe of Oklahoma.

The tribe has a smaller casino currently operating but with federal approval plans to tack on a $20 million expansion that will feature 1,200 slots, 40 table games and hotel with as many as 400 rooms.

According to Ellis Gaming president Shawn Ellis, the consulting firm has established contract agreements with three tribes in California, another in South Dakota and a tribe in Canada.

In addition to Groom, the group’s CEO, the officials include Rick Richards, CFO, who has held executive positions with the Hard Rock, Caesars Palace and Bally’s, and Greg Yochum, formerly with Lady Luck and Sunset Station.

Help for Magna

Looking to boost business at a foundering racetrack, the Oregon House has approved a bill that would expand the number of slot and video poker machines at Portland Meadows racetrack.

The track, owned by Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) has been limited to 10 video lottery terminals and according to company officials has been losing $1 million a year. The company also owned Multnomah Greyhound Park that it closed last year.

The bill approved by the House would expand the VLT authorization for Portland Meadows to 30 machines.

THE INSIDER: More gaming companies have identified dates on which they intend to release their quarterly reports. They include:

Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) on Thursday, July 28, at 4 a.m. PDT.

Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 1 p.m. PDT.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at a time to be announced.

WMS Industries Inc. (WMS) on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at l:30 p.m. PDT.

Hurricane Dennis on the weekend forced the evacuation and temporary closure of the casinos along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.

Gaming analysts took action on the shares of three companies over the weekend. Morgan Stanley analysts initiated coverage of Wynn Resorts Ltd with an overweight rating but downgraded the shares of WMS Industries Inc. (WMS) from overweight to equal weight. Analysts at CIBC World Markets upgraded the shares of Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) from sector underperform to sector perform.

California State Lottery officials have confirmed a four-year contract for instant lottery tickets and related services being awarded to Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS). The contract has been valued at $33 million.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) has been selected as one of the best places to work for information technology professional by IDG’s Computerworld magazine. The company was ranked No. 15.