Penn National has cash to rebuild in Mississippi

Nov 1, 2005 4:17 AM

The rebuilding money, through insurance, is there, says Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN), but just how quickly the project can be started is still unclear.

Peter Carlino, chairman and CEO, said the company is committed to reopening both the Casino Magic and Boomtown Biloxi in Mississippi "as soon as practical." Affected, he said, are about 2,000 employees.

He described the damage to Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis as significant with the first floor areas completely wiped out. Also destroyed was a 200-room inn that was adjacent to the casino.

Although the property was described as structurally sound, "It’s going to take a fair amount of time to get it up and running”¦That might be nine months. It might be a year.

The Boomtown casino was situated on a barge that was significantly damaged and will have to be sent away for repairs. When that is completed, Carlino said, it will be parked at an adjacent property.

Good news for the company, he said, was the permission from the West Virginia Lottery Commission to install an additional 1,500 slot machines as part of an $80 million expansion of Charles Town Races & Slots.

In Pennsylvania, however, Carlino said that a regulatory dispute over the distribution of slot machines will delay the addition of a slots parlor at Penn National Race Course. The plans call for a facility to house 2,000 slot machines with a construction schedule of between 12 to 14 months.

Macau shows

The Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China has indicated it will host as many as 20 tradeshows a year at The Venetian in Macau, according to an announcement from Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS).

The tradeshows, each estimated to attract between 5,000 and 20,000 people, will represent a variety of industries, the company said.

"This is a prestigious group of organizers and it speaks volumes for the future of our meetings and convention business in Macau," said Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of LVS.

The Macau facility will feature a 1.2 million square foot convention and meeting facility.

Earnings calls

Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) will announce its financial results for the third quarter that ended on Sept. 30 following the close of business on Tuesday, Nov. 1. A conference call with company officials will follow on Wednesday, at 8 a.m. PST.

Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) will release its third quarter and nine-month 2005 financial results on Thursday, Nov. 3, after the market closes on Wall Street. A conference call has been scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4, at 5:30 a.m. PST.

Riviera Holdings Corporation (RIV) will release its third quarter financial results on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. PST.

THE INSIDER: Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) says it will reopen its slot machine operation at Delta Downs Racetrack in Vinton, La., on Thursday. The facility closed on Sept. 22 prior to Hurricane Rita. Live racing at the track won’t resume until early 2006.

Dennis Forst, senior gaming analyst at Keybanc Capital Markets, has downgraded the shares of Boyd Gaming Corp., MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM), Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN), and Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET).

Analysts at Bear Stearns downgraded the shares of Wynn Resorts Ltd. from outperform to peer perform.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission has approved the construction of the Golden Gulf casino on 15 acres on the Back Bay of Biloxi.