Harrah’s, Kepple Land bid for
Singapore casino license

Aug 1, 2006 5:17 AM

Industry questions revolving around Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) and whether the company would pitch for the second casino license being made available by Singapore were answered on Monday when the company formerly joined three other groups in the bidding process.

Harrah’s said it would submit a joint bid with the Singapore property firm Keppel Land Ltd.

Others indicating an interest in the license were Kerzner International Ltd. (KZL) and its Singapore partner CapitaLand; Las Vegas casino developer Mark Advent’s Eighth Wonder together with Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT) and Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (ISLE), and Malaysia’s Genting Group that is partnering with Star Cruises Ltd. and theme park giant Universal Studios.

Singapore has designated a 49-hectare site on Sentosa, a small island just off its southern coast, as the site for the second casino license.

The first license was awarded earlier this year to Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS).

Kerzner International currently operates the Atlantis Resort Casino in the Bahamas while Mark Advent was responsible for MGM MIRAGE Inc.’s New York-New York Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas.

Jack’s on board

Steve Wynn has announced that gaming executive Jack Binion has been named chairman of Wynn International Marketing Ltd. with overall responsibility for all operational activities of the Macau resort owned by Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN).

In a surprise announcement last week, Wynn said that he had spent nearly a year convincing Binion to join the company and to apply his Asian marketing experience at the company’s Macau casino that will open next month.

"Jack’s guidance will greatly enhance our ability to deal with the challenges that we face as a fledgling operator in China," Wynn said.

According to an SEC filing, Binion will receive a base salary of $1.5 million per year with eligibility for an annual bonus. Also, he will be awarded 500,000 restricted shares of common stock in the company, 50% of which will vest on the second anniversary of the effective date of the agreement and the remainder will vest on a pro rata basis each month thereafter until the third anniversary of the effective date.

Price amended

Providing a bonanza to the purchasers, Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) has reduced the sale price of The Meadows harness racing track in Pennsylvania by $25 million.

The track is being bought by PA Meadows LLC, a company jointly owned by Bill Paulos and Bill Wortman, operators of The Cannery Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas who are the controlling shareholders of Millennium Gaming Inc., and their partner, Oaktree Capital Management LLC.

According to the initial agreement, the track, expected to be among the first recipients of video lottery terminals in Pennsylvania, was being sold by MECA for $225 million. Under the new agreement, the price will be $200 million.

Magna Entertainment explained that it was lowering the sale price because of "regulatory requirements relating to the approval of the issuance of the gaming license by the PGCB, as well as significant changes in the economic and regulatory environment in Pennsylvania."

THE INSIDER: Two Nebraska gambling initiatives, supported by Las Vegas casino operators, probably will not be included on the November ballot, according to the state’s attorney general. He told a district court that the initiatives too closely resemble those on the 2004 ballot.

Southland dog track in West Memphis, Ark., is planning $40 million in renovations to accommodate slot machines. The property, owned by Delaware North of Buffalo, N.Y., expects to have the facility ready by November.

Indian casinos in Oklahoma have contracted to install PokerPro tables in their casinos. The tables are manufactured by PokerTek Inc. (PTEK).

Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) says it has lined up a loan of an additional $25.75 million to fund the design and construction of a slots facility at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

In another announcement, Magna Entertainment said it was arranging to completely buy out the shares it does not own in AmTote International Inc., a company that provides totalizator services to racetracks.

A completely rebuilt Beau Rivage Hotel/Casino in Biloxi, Miss., will open on Aug. 29, according to MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM). The facility was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Plans to add video lottery machines at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York have been delayed. The New York Racing Association says lack of regulatory approval will make it impossible for the slots to be ready in early 2007.

Directors of Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) have approved a proposal to repurchase up to 2.8 million shares of its own stock.

Cash Systems Inc. (CKNN) says it has entered into an agreement with the Chickasaw Nation to provide cash access services for its Riverwind Casino in Norman, Okla.

The New York and Missouri lotteries have approved the merger between GTECH Holdings Inc. (GTK) and the Italian firm Lottomatica.