$200 million price tag for Holder’s 13 Nevada casinos

May 1, 2007 5:18 AM

That lifelong desire to own and operate your own casino, or better still casinos, can now be yours for a mere $200 million.

That’s the price Charlie Holder is putting on his 13 Nevada casinos and the "For Sale" sign is flying high.

Of course, the $200 million won’t get you into a casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Actually, the sale involves properties in Sparks, Gardnerville, Elko, Hawthorne, West Wendover and even one in Henderson.

"We’re in play," Holder told the Reno Gazette-Journal on the weekend.

Holder joined the gaming fraternity in 1999 when he bought his first casino. He says he has been building up his business ever since.

Hoping to have a sale nailed down by mid-summer, Holder has engaged Jefferies & Co. investment bankers to help negotiate the deal. He was frustrated last year after receiving two unsolicited offers from companies that lacked the financial ability to close the deal.

In addition to a slot route that runs machines in small businesses, Holder is offering the Silver Club in Sparks, Sharkey’s in Gardnerville, Stockmen’s and Commercial in Elko, El Capitan and Joe’s Tavern in Hawthorne, Sundance and Model T in Winnemucca, the Wigwam and Truck Stop in Fernley, the Scoreboard Sports Lounge in Spring Creek, Charlie Holder’s in Henderson, and the Red Garter in West Wendover.

To protect his employees, he has established a $15 million fund for employee bonuses to keep the nearly 1,500 workers on the job through the sale. And he also has established a fund to guarantee the employees a bonus if a new buyer does not offer them a job with wages and benefits equal to or better than their current package.

Riviera battle

Stockholders in Riviera Holdings Corporation (RIV) are being wooed by competing groups of directors.

At the annual meeting on May 15, they will be asked to support the existing management group of directors that includes Chairman and CEO Bill Westerman, Atty. Jeff Silver, Gen. Paul Harvey, Vincent DiVito and James Land.

But this board is being challenged by a group of directors proposed by the Riv Acquisition group whose bid of $27 per share was rejected by the current directors.

Named to this directors’ group are: Thalia M. Dondero, the former Clark County Commission member and a current member of the Nevada Board of Regents; Dan Reichartz, former COO of Caesars Palace Hotel/Casino and currently a principal in the strategic planning group DR&DR; Mike Rumbolz, chairman and CEO of Cash Systems, Inc., and the former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board; Daniel Yih, COO of GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC, a private equity firm, and Larry duBoef, a former consultant to Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, and to Aztar Corp.

Indiana slots

Both the Indiana House and Senate have agreed on a slots bill that would permit the state’s two horse tracks to install up to 2,000 slot machines at their facilities. But the slots won’t come cheap.

Assuming the bill is signed by Gov .Mitch Daniels, the tracks could add the slot machines provided they pay the state a license fee of $250 million. That money, according to the bill, will be used to reduce property taxes throughout the state.

So far, there has been no word from the tracks — Hoosier Park in Anderson and Indiana Downs in Shelbyville — whether they’ll fork up the $250 million required to turn their tracks into racinos.

A further provision of the bill, which the governor has indicated he will sign, establishes slot machine taxes at $25% for the first $100 million; 30% for the next $100 million, and 35% on everything beyond that level. Also, the tracks would be required to spend at least $100 million the facilities that will house the slot machines.

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:

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) on Wednesday, May 2, at l:30 p.m. PDT.

Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. (TRMP) on Thursday, May 3, at 5 a.m. PDT.

MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM) on Thursday, May 3, at 8 a.m. PDT.

WMS Industries (WMS) on Thursday, May 3, at l:30 p.m. PDT.

Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) on Friday, May 4, at 5:30 a.m. 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.

Multimedia Games Inc. (MGAM) on Wednesday, May 9, at 6 a.m. PDT.

Progressive Gaming International Corporation (PGIC) on Friday, May 11 at 8 a.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.

Jefferies & Co. analysts have initiated coverage of International Game Technology (IGT) with a buy rating.