Sale of Binions on regulators’ agenda

Jan 8, 2008 5:35 AM

Nevada regulators this week will review the sale of Binion’s Gambling Hall from MTR Gaming Group to Terry Lee Caudill, who owns the Four Queens across the street.

If the Gaming Control Board gives the deal its okay, their recommendation will be brought before the Nevada Gaming Commission later this month for possible ratification.

If the transfer is approved by regulators, the sale will most likely close by early February.

MTR Gaming, which is also selling its Speedway Casino in North Las Vegas, is currently expanding its gaming operation at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia.

Edson R. (Ted) Arneault, CEO of MTR Gaming Group, stated, "We are pleased to be nearing the close of the Binion’s sale to (Terry Caudill), as we believe it is in the Company’s best interest to concentrate our efforts and resources on our core properties in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Terry Caudill has a proven track record and we believe he has the knowledge and expertise to lead Binion’s to its next stage of growth."

Terry Caudill, President of TLC Casino Enterprises, Inc., commented, "We are looking forward to operating Binion’s alongside the Four Queens, and are very enthusiastic about the prospects for the property and incorporating the Binion’s employees into our organization."

MTR Gaming Group and TLC Casino Enterprises entered into an agreement in June to sell Binion’s for $32 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments. TLC Casino Enterprises, Inc. also owns and operates the Four Queens Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

Last month, MTR Gaming added 50 table games and 32 poker tables to Mountaineer Park, which will now be called Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort with the addition of poker and table games.

The table games will be located in the park’s Speakeasy Casino in four newly renovated areas and will feature craps, blackjack, roulette, three-card poker and other games. Additional table games are planned for a pit near the trackside poker room, subject to Lottery Commission approval.

"With the pending launch of table games and the recent opening of 37 poker tables in October, we are significantly expanding the entertainment offering at Mountaineer and entering a new market that appeals to a broader demographic," Arneault said. "The table games market is primarily age 50 and under, and we believe that our offering will attract this new demographic, as well as drive increased play from our existing customers. In addition to the 50 new table games, due to significant demand for poker on weekends, we are adding four more poker tables."

In addition to its regular agenda on Wednesday and Thursday, the Gaming Control Board will hold a joint session with the Nevada Gaming Commission on Friday at the Board offices in Las Vegas.

The purpose of the session is to receive the results of a study done by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on the "prevalence of Nevadans who participate in Internet wagering activities."

The study was conducted by the university’s International Gaming Institute.

Currently it is illegal (a misdemeanor) for Nevadans to place a bet that travels outside the state’s borders. This regulation is the result of a law passed in Nevada three years ago.

Exceptions to the law include betting into qualified race pari-mutuel pools which may be located outside the state.

GamingToday will have more on this topic in next week’s issue.