Genting praised after
buying off Ho relationship

Apr 17, 2007 4:28 AM

Having satisfied the Singapore government that it no longer has any relationship to Macau gaming baron Stanley Ho, Malasia-based Genting International has begun construction of a $2.3 billion casino project as one of two licensed gaming enterprises.

The other licensee is Las Vegas Sands Corporation (LVS).

Genting originally bid for the license as a partner with Star Cruises, a company that had been linked with Ho. Singapore officials bluntly suggested that Genting would have trouble pursuing its gaming license if it continued its involvement with Star Cruises and in their minds, the Macau gambling kingpin.

Satisfied that Genting "can run a clean gambling venue," the officials gladly welcomed the new development.

"Resorts World at Sentosa (Island) understands our need to maintain these probity checks and there is no issue now," Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore’s minister for trade and industry, announced at the groundbreaking.

Prior to the groundbreaking, Lim Kok Thay, Genting’s chairman, told reporters that the company had concluded the disposal of its Macau investment and is awaiting shareholder approval on its purchase of the 25% stake in the Singapore Casino held by Star Cruises.

The first Singapore project, the $3.6 billion Marina Bay Sands Resort, is expected to open in July, 2009.

Further delays

Gaming Partners International Corp. (GPIC) revealed on Monday that the filing of its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission will be delayed beyond the April 17 extended filing date because of a clerical error found in the quarterly report for the period that ended on Sept. 30, 2006.

Correction of the clerical error, the company said, would reduce its net income by $100,000 and its net income per share by $0.01. However, the company added, the error does not change the net income per share for the nine months as originally filed.

The company said it could not determine at the present time just when it will be able to file its 2006 financial reports.

To the voters

The question of whether the voters in Philadelphia, approve of the locations of two casinos licensed for the Delaware River waterfront will be placed on a May 15 primary ballot.

Regardless, of the outcome, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is challenging the city’s right to take control of the casino placements.

If the ballot question is approved, it will jeopardize the locations selected by two groups that have been awarded the slots licenses, SugarHouse Casino and Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia.

Specifically, the ballot question prohibits slots parlors from being built within 1,500 feet of a school, home, place of worship, civic center or public park, playground, pool or library.

So what’s left?

Wasting no time

Members of the West Virginia Lottery Commission want to be ready in June if voters in any or all four counties approve table games for the racinos in their districts. The officials have already started writing the regulations that will govern the new gaming activity.

After consulting with gaming commissions in Michigan and New Jersey, the West Virginia officials said they plan to establish rules to address things such as the color and weight of poker chips and dice, as well as establishing guidelines for issuing complimentary meals and rooms, and extending credit to gamblers.

They also plan to meet with the general public to get input on their feelings regarding table games and the developing regulations.

One official said that if the voters approve table games, the Lottery Commission will create a division to handle the new form of gaming and hire more than 50 employees.

Track sold

R.D. Hubbard, who parlayed his substantial influence in New Mexico politics through his ownership of Ruidoso Downs to win the license to build a racino in Boggs, has sold that facility for $200 million.

Hubbard and partners reportedly spent about $40 million to build Zia Park racetrack and the Black Gold Casino on a 320-acre tract of land in a community in southeast New Mexico, near the West Texas border.

Buying the facility is Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN), whose 17 gaming and horse racing facilities are located from Maine to Colorado.

Zia Park opened in 2004 and held its first race meeting in 2005. Officials said the racino generated approximately $69.7 million in revenues and $24.5 million in earnings for the 12 months ending on Sept. 30, 2006.

THE INSIDER: Prudential Equity Group analyst Joel Simkins has downgraded his rating of Shuffle Master Inc. (SHFL) stock saying he is concerned that the company is losing market share in Macau.

Privately-owned Philadelphia Park has only been in the slots business for a few months but it already is complaining that it needs more slot machines to take care of its customers. The property currently operates 2,076 machines.

Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) will release its first quarter earnings report for fiscal 2007 on Wednesday, May 2 at 1 p.m. PDT.

New Jersey officials have reported that the 11 Atlantic City casinos won $438.3 million during the month of March. This was an increase of 1.3% over the comparable period in 2006.

Gaming analysts at Northland Securities have initiated coverage of shares in Lakes Entertainment Inc. (LACO) with an "outperform" rating.

Multimedia Games Inc. (MGAM) has appointed Randy S. Cieslewicz as its chief financial officer. He has been filling the position on an interim basis since May of last year.

Youbet.com Inc. (UBET) plans to repurchase up to $10 million of its common stock with purchases to be completed by March 31, 2009.

Nevada Gold & Casinos Inc. (UWN) has named CEO Robert Sturges to the company’s board of directors.

A recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission indicated that a credit agreement Wynn Las Vegas LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN), also includes Wynn Las Vegas Capital Corp., Wynn Show Performers LLC, Wynn Golf LLC, Wynn Sunrise LLC, World Travel LLC, Kevyn LLC, and Las Vegas Jet LLC.