Racetrack slots OK’d; HET wants more N.O. hotel rooms

Aug 23, 2005 4:04 AM

Having won its battle to install slot machines at Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) has begun beating the drums for a larger hotel facility to accommodate the gamblers who patronize its Harrah’s New Orleans casino.

Going back to its casino approval in 1992, the company was prohibited from having a hotel after local hotel operators expressed fear that the casino hotel would cause them to lose business. This was moderated four years ago when officials approved a hotel for Harrah’s provided it was limited to 450 rooms.

Now, HET officials say, the 450 rooms are insufficient to serve their customers. "We want to figure out how to go back and revisit that," said Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s New Orleans."

Harrah’s officials are expected to meet with the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association when the hotel group meets in September.

Any change would require approval of the Louisiana legislature.

As for the Fair Grounds racetrack, Harrah’s says it hopes to have the additional slot machine facility in operation by late 2006.

Maine licenses

The Maine Gaming Control Board has licensed both Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) to operate slot machines at a temporary site in Bangor and International Game Technology (IGT) to be a slot machine distributor.

Both companies had applied for licenses for the Bangor restaurant that is being converted into a slot facility that will be called Hollywood Slots. The property is being outfitted with 475 slot machines that will be replaced when a complete racino is built at Bangor Historic Track.

Opening of Hollywood Slots is scheduled for Sept. 7.

THE INSIDER: Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) has been selected as the full service vendor to provide online and instant lottery tickets to the new Oklahoma Lottery.

Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) has agreed to sell its management contract for the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit to Colonial Downs L.P. for $10 million.

Restructuring after bankruptcy didn’t boost revenues for Trump Entertainment Resorts (DJTE). The company reported revenues of $281 million for the quarter that ended on June 30. Last year, during the comparable period, the revenues reached $291 million.

Shuffle Master Inc. will hold a conference call for its third quarter of 2005 on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m. PDT.

Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) has declared a cash dividend of $0.078125 to be paid on Sept. 15 to stockholders of record on Sept. 1.

The two Indian casinos in Connecticut have paid the state a record $40 million as its share of the slot winnings for the month of July.

Marlin Torguson, founder of the former Casino Magic Corporation, is paying the equivalent of $4.3 million for the Lakes Region Greyhound Park in New Hampshire.