Court action boosts shareholders’ equity

Aug 9, 2005 4:34 AM

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has approved the request of American Wagering Inc. (BETM) to accept possession of 250,000 shares of the company’s stock to settle the Michael Racusin agreement, according to an update issued by the company on Monday.

The move, the company said, which is being contested by Racusin, will increase shareholders equity by $1,343,625.

Monday’s announcement included a number of major events that is affecting the company’s current and future status.

In addition to the bankruptcy court move, the company noted the following activities:

A players’ club, which was instituted to reward customers for their continued play at Leroy’s Horse & Sports Place locations has more than 700 members. The number is expected to increase with the start of the football season.

The amount of money wagered at Leroy’s outlets increased 14.4% in the second quarter while its win amount increased 7.9% when compared with the previous year. Also the wagering during the professional basketball championship series increased 52.3% and its win increased by 76.2% over 2004.

Leroy’s and the Computerized Bookmaking Systems Inc. (CBS) are in the process of upgrading and converting both its hardware and software at its various locations, utilizing the benefits generated from its research and development activities.

Commenting on the recent events, Vic Salerno, president and CEO, said the company is "optimistic about meeting our goals of strengthening and diversifying cash flows, growing the company and increasing shareholder value over the long term."

Guilty verdicts

The former owner of Lincoln Greyhound Park and two of its former executives were convicted Monday of conspiring to bribe the former speaker of the Rhode Island House.

Wembley Plc, the British company that recently sold the track to BLB Investors; the company’s former CEO Nigel Potter, and the track’s General Manager, Dan Bucci, were each convicted on a single bribery conspiracy charge, as well as several wire fraud charges. They also were acquitted of a handful of other wire fraud charges.

The case stemmed from a suggestion by Bucci to Potter and the board of directors of Wembley that they pay the speaker’s law firm, through his partner Dan McKinnon, as much as $4 million.

During the trial, the second one held since the first jury was unable to come to a decision in the case, defense attorneys argued that the money under discussion was a performance bonus and not a bribe to influence legislative support for the track’s attempt to add to its inventory of video lottery machines.

The prosecution was based almost exclusively on faxed communications between Bucci and Potter in which the payments were discussed.

No bribe was ever paid and the two lawyers were not charged.

Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 28. Defense attorneys indicated they planned to appeal.

New GM at Caesars

Experienced casino manager Gary Selesner has been named to replace Mark Juliano as president of Caesars Palace, according to an announcement by new owners, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET).

Juliano surprised his new bosses and the industry a few weeks ago when he announced that he was leaving his Caesars Palace post in order to join the Donald Trump organization in Atlantic City.

Selesner, who will report to Tom Jenkin, president of Harrah’s Western Division, previously served as general manager of the Rio Suites Hotel/Casino and also has held executive positions at Harrah’s Hotel/Casino and the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. He began his gaming career in Atlantic City.

Also promoted was John Unwin, senior vice president of hotel operations at Caesars Palace, who will become assistant general manager, reporting to Selesner.

THE INSIDER: The Chickasaw Indian Nation says it will build Oklahoma’s largest casino near Norman with more than 200,000 square feet of gaming space.

MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM) plans a major facelift of the Mirage Casino Resort that will add new restaurants and a nightclub and a new Cirque du Soleil production.

International Game Technology (IGT) has launched the first progressive video lottery machine game at five racetrack locations in New York State.

The state of Rhode Island has approved the license request submitted by BLB Investors, new owners of Lincoln Greyhound Park. The license authorizes the operation of up to 4,752 video lottery machines.

Also in Rhode Island, the state Supreme Court has agreed to take up the question of whether the request of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) and its Native American partners, the Narragansett Indians, to build a casino in West Warwick should be honored. If approved, the casino item will be on the November 2006 ballot.