Icahn mulls selling
Vegas casinos

Feb 27, 2007 5:51 AM

Carl Icahn’s Southern Nevada casino projects are being shopped around as a package, according to three different sources familiar with a wide array of possible deals.

Those Las Vegas properties include the two Arizona Charlie’s properties, the former Laughlin Hilton (now the Aquarius) and, of course, the one that stands head and shoulders above everything else, the Stratosphere.

Icahn has been showing an increasing interest in exiting the casino business since his sale of the Atlantic City Sands to Pinnacle.

If Icahn is unhappy that he has not made a bigger splash in the casino business, he can probably blame his early decision to try and overhaul second-rate properties that did not have the best locations.

The appeal of the Arizona Charlie’s casinos on the east and west sides of town has been dimmed during recent years by the opening of new resorts that offer many more amenities, such as the newer Station and Gaughan casinos.

Sibling rivalry
divides Ho dynasty

There may be some sibling rivalry in play as top MGM executives and their Macau partner Pansy Ho meet with gaming regulators in Las Vegas.

Winnie Ho, the sister of Pansy’s father Stanley Ho, was expected late last week to attend this week’s hearing in Las Vegas when the Board will begin its review of the foreign gaming application of MGM Mirage, which plans a joint venture in Macau with Pansy.

Whatever the Board action is, the Gaming Commission will -consider the same subject next month in Las Vegas.

Stanley Ho has a history of controversy, a history shaped during the decades when he controlled all Macau casinos during a time when the presence of certain unsavory influences (organized crime) were a fact of life.

Which brings us to the fact that Winnie Ho would reportedly do whatever she can to cause her brother some serious pain and suffering. Do you suppose that is why she will reportedly be in Las Vegas, or will she be content to merely be a spectator?

Their long-running feud is "like something out of the Cantonese soap opera ”˜Las Vegas of the East,’" according to the characterization of a Macau publication. Winnie has been mostly barred from the family-run companies by Stanley and their bitter differences have made headlines in that part of the world.

---------------

Terry Lanni says a major league sports franchise would make an attractive addition to the line-up of attractions now available in Las Vegas.

But the MGM Chairman thinks the team, whatever sport, would have a hard time being successful unless it is a winner. Mediocrity does not go over well in Las Vegas. It’s not like visitors and locals have trouble finding other things to do.

Lanni says he would be willing to participate in a compromise aimed at satisfying the NBA, a compromise that would have the games of, let’s call them the Las Vegas Gamblers (a name that David Stern would probably not accept), not being posted in local sports books, just as there was no betting allowed on the games of the Runnin’ Rebels.

But Lanni cautions that he would be absolutely opposed to spending public money on the construction of a sports stadium.

----------------

Molasky Pacific Executive Vice President of Design and Construction Kenneth Wynn says the Las Vegas-based company has bought the old CBS studios on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

The buildings at this location were once the site of production for shows such as "I Love Lucy." Wynn said some of the buildings will be retained because they have historical significance, as the Las Vegas-based company owned by Steven Molasky creates one of the mixed use developments that have characterized its work elsewhere.

-----------------

Veteran bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro has installed Johnny Chan as a 23-1 favorite to win the third National Heads-Up Poker Championship being played and filmed this weekend at Caesars Palace for airing on NBC in April or May.

The event involves 64 of the best known men and women in poker who will be paired with first round opponents at a Thursday night Party at Caesars.

Poker pro Ted Forrest won last year’s championship and Chris Ferguson has finished second two years in a row.