Casino’s the thing in Boyd’s track deal

May 01, 2001 10:32 AM
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Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) may be buying a horse track, but it’s really the casino that makes the deal attractive.

Boyd said last week it has negotiated the purchase of Delta Downs Racetrack near Vinton, La., from its private owners for between $115 million and $125 million, subject to certain conditions not specified. The company said it will spend an additional $30 million to renovate the facility.

Although the track was considered a low-handle operation, its major attraction is the slot machine approval recently granted by the Louisiana Legislature. Once the slots are operational, Delta Downs will become an attraction for gamblers because of its location, just over the Texas border near Interstate 10. This places the facility as the closest casino available in the southeastern Texas market.

Gala planned

Jack Binion may be selling the Empress Casino in Joliet, Ill., but he has great plans for the other half of his riverboat casino purchase. On May 4, he will open the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. The property formerly was known as the Empress Casino.

After acquiring the property, Binion ordered a complete renovation of the physical property while redoing the casino floor in the style that has brought him success in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Plans for the gala opening include five entertainment acts; renowned Flamenco guitarist Alex Cox, artist Denny Dent and several celebrities.

And they’re off

Documents filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court indicate four parties are interested in purchasing or refinancing The Regent in Summerlin.

Because of confidentiality agreements, the identities of the parties or specifics of their proposals have not been revealed. But a source close to the property said one could be high-end real estate dealers, the Peccole Group, which is developing property in Summerlin.

Peccole’s plans would include time-share units at the Summerlin resort, the source said.

Slot action

Shuffle Master Inc. (SHFL) announced last week that the number of Three Card Poker tables operating in the U.S. and Canada had topped the 400 mark.

Mikohn Gaming (MIKN) announced an agreement with Anchor Gaming (SLOT) for the development of Pachinko-type games using a Mikohn bonusing system. The games are very popular in Japan.

Also, following up on their successful joint-venture relationship, International Game Technology (IGT) and Anchor have extended their Wheel of Fortune agreement for one additional year, to 2006, and have agreed to co-develop seven new wheel games.

Moving on up!

Debi Nutton has been named vice president of casino operations at MGM Grand. She was formerly a casino executive at the Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas.

Bonus round

Mikohn Gaming (MIKN) announced an agreement with Anchor Gaming (SLOT) for the development of Pachinko-type games using a Mikohn bonusing system. The games are very popular in Japan.

Also, following up on their successful joint-venture relationship, International Game Technology (IGT) and Anchor Gaming (SLOT) have extended their Wheel of Fortune agreement for an additional year, to 2006, and have agreed to co-develop seven new wheel games.

Experience counts

A team of experienced gaming executives has been appointed by the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians for their new casino in Escondido, Calif.

Heading the group is Mac Potter as general manager. He will be assisted by Bill Jackson, chief financial officer, John Barbry, vice president of marketing, and Ron Hagland, vice president of human resources.

Potter, who has worked at Palace Station and Binion’s Horseshoe, most recently was CEO of the State Line Properties Group in Nevada. Jackson and Barbry have experience at several different gaming operations, while Hagland spent the last 10 years in tribal and Indian gaming and casino human resources. He is a member of the Oneida Tribe.

Going up

Moody’s Investors Service has placed the debt of Harveys Casino Resorts for possible upgrade. Harveys is the subject of an acquisition by Harrah’s Entertainment (HET) from privately held Colony Capital.

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino has been named North America’s leading conference hotel by the annual World Travel Awards delegation. The decision was announced at the WTA’s annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Dr. Mark Yoseloff, president of Shuffle Master Inc., has been elected to the board of directors of Well-Gardner Electronics Corporation (WGA).

GTECH Holdings (GTK) has added Rt. Hon. Sir Jeremy Hanley, K.C.M.G., to its board of directors.