Bally Tech sees
business upswing

Apr 24, 2007 6:29 AM

One analyst called it "a massive resurgence in their business" but by any other name, the recent activity at Bally Technologies Inc. (BYI), including its most recent deal with Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) has caught the eyes of investors.

At the beginning of the calendar year, the company’s shares were languishing in the high teens with apparently little upside, especially after the company announced it was having accounting problems and would be unable to meet the Securities and Exchange timetable for filing its financial statements.

But, despite the problems, the company continued to announce one contract after another, enough to boost the company’s shares to the mid-20 dollar level.

On Monday, the company announced an agreement with the Las Vegas Sands that was described as "the gaming industry’s largest combined slot, casino management, and bonusing systems deal to date." The arrangement provided an expansive range of Bally Technology at nine casino resorts in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore.

Upon complete execution based on successful installations at the casinos involved, the contract will be valued at $56 million.

"This is a milestone event for Bally as we announce the largest contract in the company’s 75-year history, said Richard Haddrill, company CEO.

"To be the technology provider of choice for such a progressive company is a role we take very seriously, and we look forward to working together on all of these integrated resorts around the world," he added.

Just last week, the company announced a contract for a major Indian casino and in the previous week it was a contract extension with the New York Lottery Commision that guaranteed the installation of a large number of gaming devices in the state’s racinos.

And, late last year, Bally Technologies and Aristocrat, the Australian manufacturer of slot machines announced a working agreement for future developments.

As the analyst remarked in a clients’ report, "The only thing we can say is beware of what happens when they (BYI) are fully reporting and earnings models are clear and concise."

In trading on Monday, the company’s shares moved up $1.17 to $24.18 per share with 1,854,500 shares changing hands.

Quits racing

When Nevada Gold & Casinos Inc. (UWN) bought into American Racing and Entertainment LLC, that company was on the verge of running two New York racinos, Tioga Downs in Nichols and Vernon Downs in Vernon.

Racinos around the country were big money makers so it appeared that these two facilities would prosper as well.

It didn’t turn out that way, primarily because of a huge state tax and competion from an untaxed Indian casino.

On Monday, UWN announced it had sold its 22.8 per cent membership interest in American Racing and would be paid three payments totaling $4.2 million. It also said it was terminating its track management agreements and would receive $110,000 in management fees.

Executives named

Dan Lee, chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK) has added to his executive staff by naming five persons to newly-created corporate-level positions.

Dan Boudreaux has been appointed to the position of chief accounting officer. He previously had accounting responsibilities with Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

Ed Mulholland, a former executive with the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, has joined Pinnacle as associate general counsel.

Suzanne Chabre has been named vice president-brand marketing, a position she previously held with MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM).

Arthur Schleifer, the new vice president of real estate development, has been active in the development and marketing activities of companies both in and out of the gaming industry.

Win Person will be senior director of epicurean operations and will oversee all of the company’s food and beverage activities.

More earnings

The following gaming companies have announced the dates on which they plan to announce financial results for the most recent quarter. They are:

Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) on Thursday, April 26, at 6 a.m. PDT.

Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc. (DDE) on Thursday, April 26, at 9:30 PDT.

Riviera Holdings Corp. (RIV) on Friday, May 4, at 11 a.m. PDT.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) on Tuesday, May 8, at 4 a.m. PDT.

Youbet.com (UBET) on Tuesday, May 8, at 2 p.m. PDT.

THE INSIDER: The Cove Atlantis, a 600-suite hotel, has been opened at the Atlantis Resort Hotel in The Bahamas by Kerzner International, a privately-held gaming company led by South African casino developer Sol Kerzner.

Gaming Partners International Corp. (GPIC), responding to a de-listing notice, has requested a hearing before a Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel.

Casinos in Mississippi reported gross gaming revenues of $265.6 million in March, an increase of $43 million over last year.

Colorado casinos set a record in March with revenues of $74.5 million, which was 15.6% more than the previous month. The previous record was $74.3 million set in July, 2006.

State licensed casinos in Louisiana won $230.3 million in March, typically one of the best months for the gaming business. The total was down slightly from last year when the March figure was $239.1 million.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) has signed a multi-year deal making PokerTeK Inc. (PTEK) its exclusive provider for live, player-banked, automated poker tables.

In announcing preliminary results, FortuNet, Inc. (FNET) says it expects the earnings per share for the quarter that ended on March 31, to be about $0.10, or about four times last year’s $0.02 per share.

Voters of Dixon, Cal., have rejected the proposal, made by Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) to build a thoroughbred track.

Lawmakers in Iowa are considering a bill that will allow riverboat casinos to operate without being on a river or other body of water. The measure passed the House last week and is now on the desk of Gov. Chet Culver.

A member of the Maine Gambling Control Board has not only resigned his position but has become a vocal advocate against the expansion of slot machines. In his resignation letter, he told Gov. John Baldacci that the state must do all it can to stop the spread of gambling.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he will oppose a casino being planned by a band of Cherokee Indians in Forth Smith. The land is adjacent to the tribe’s reservation.