Video ‘sheep’ versus Big Bad Wolf!

May 22, 2001 10:32 AM
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FULL OF SHEEP! I just love the name. And from an in-the-knowster wise to the ways of the video slot machine biz, the sheep in this game, created by Signature Games on behalf of Sigma Game Inc., won’t put anyone to sleep.

Why?

Source: "It’s a highly interactive game played on multiple screens against the Big Bad Wolf. The player is the sheep and, in a tic-tac-toe fashion, is required to outfox the wolf."

From still another source comes word that the game is already a hit at two locations where it is under trial - Table Mountain in Fresno, Calif., and Shooting Star Casino in northern Minnesota.

What about Las Vegas?

"It’s on its way to as many as four Las Vegas properties for testing. They represent a cross-section of the gambling Mecca," the in-the-knowster added.

Sigma Game is a privately held Las Vegas-based company. It has a strong background in innovation and quality in the industry. The company serves every major casino market in the USA and does business in Canada, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Signature Games is owned by the Nicastro family, father, Lou, and son John. Their most recent successes include the design and licensing of the red-hot "I Dream of Jeanie" slot machine, which they linked up with International Game Technology (IGT).

BET AGAINST THE STREET! There are some Wall Street experts who think London Clubs Inc. (LDI) doesn’t have the cash to add to the Aladdin Hotel’s cash register.

"I think they’re dead wrong on this one," said a pipe. "London Clubs has to come up with a $4.5 million bank payment due June 1. They’ll do it!"

More pipe: "Someone out there seems to be fanning the flames about the trouble the Aladdin is facing. I’ve got a good idea who it is, but I can’t say right now. At any rate, the local press (GamingToday not included) is buying the story hook, line and sinker. My skinny is that the slot machine business, off slightly (about $93 per machine) will be up to about $100 by the end of the quarter. If so, it would compare to their record of $101 in revenue per day per machine set in March.

"When you look at the $67 per machine drop in January and February, $100 is far from shabby.

"Besides," the pipe added, "the word out is that the Aladdin will end up with room bookings of 96%.

"That certain someone out there might be looking at the Aladdin at a price so he/she can offset a most recent business shortcoming that went flop!"

BETTING ON THE STALKING HORSE! Look for the official sign to go up announcing that the stalking horse in the quest to take up the reins of the bankrupt Regent Hotel will be the Peccole family. As press time drew to a close, the Peccoles and their time-share plans were the fave to play the role of the stalker (lead bidder). Unconfirmed reports are circulating that the bid - all cash - is about $115 million.

Are there any advantages to being the stalking horse? Yes, it gives the stalker the right of last bid.

There was a late entry in the race to be the stalking horse. There is reason to believe that Ed Roski, major domo of the Silverton Hotel and disgruntled would-be buyer of the Las Vegas Hilton, was a late entry.

"It ain’t over ’til it’s over," said a rosebud.

As our deadline approaches, it looks like Peccole is leading the way.

Other interested parties include Carl Icahn, Station Casinos (STN) and Coast Resorts.

TOPLESS IN LAS VEGAS! Several major casinos are powwowing with an out-of-state strip club operator about hosting topless bars at their properties. (See related story, Page 1.)

That’s what a tuned-in pipe tells us. And I believe it. There have been unconfirmed reports floating that Caesars Palace and MGM Grand have lined up topless shows. The latter recently booked the Crazy Horse Revue, a French import not to be confused with a pair of other Las Vegas non-casinos with similar names. Caesars Palace is about to open its Shadow lounge, which the resort bills as a "provocative and sensual experience."

Harrah’s is up and running with a late night show called "Skintight."

"Remember the song … ‘Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets?’" asked the pipe.

He continued: "It’s no sure bet that the casinos will get their way this time.

"There may not be any rules or regulations to exempt topless clubs in resorts, but do busy regulators need to still find more time to enforce such activities?

"Let’s face it, so-called gentlemen’s clubs are holding up - so to speak - to the tune of about 40% of the hold. If you’re in the money-making business, as casinos are, why not give the customers what they want?"

LOOSE SLOTS AT PALMS! The new George Maloof resort is nearing completion on West Flamingo Road across from the Gold Coast and Rio.

Maloof isn’t talking yet about his plans for the new resort. He doesn’t know about a rosebud who insists the slots floor at the Palms will offer loose, loose slots and focus on locals.

It makes sense to me. After all, that’s exactly what the casino owner did at the highly successful Fiesta that he has since sold to Station Casinos. Fiesta is a major attraction for slot players - locals and tourists alike - because of it.

DOORS CLOSE, WINDOWS OPEN! Congratulations to Art Manteris. It took the 20-year bet shop pro about two weeks to hook up as top gun for all the Station Casinos properties in Las Vegas.

Art left his top assignment at Las Vegas Hilton and wasted no time hooking up with Blake Sartini and the group at Station.

Nothing but the best, Art!

IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO! Tongues are wagging that billionaire Carl Icahn is about to hold hands with Ed Roski in the latter’s continuing quest to go forward with the acquisition of the Las Vegas Hilton. Lawsuits are pending between Roski and Park Place Entertainment and Hilton Hotels over the acquisition that went astray.

Somewhere along the line Roski and Icahn began talking about the billionaire’s interest.

"They talked," said a rosebud. "No doubt about it. But it’s water over the dam at this point. The two titans are no longer an item. As a matter of fact, Icahn and Roski are on opposite sides of the table as they bid to take over the bankrupt Regent Hotel.

"Roski is very much involved in the Regent acquisition. He has joined with two major hotel companies. One is Starwood Resorts and Hotels Worldwide Inc. (HOT). I don’t know the name of the other one."

THEY’RE AT THE GATE! Time is running out for anyone wanting a booth at the G2E (Global Gaming Expo) October 1-3, 2001, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. As of Friday, the show is nearly sold out with reservations booked for over 93% of available exhibition space. That’s 120,000 square feet reserved out of the 132,000 square feet available.

GamingToday, an official G2E show sponsor, will have a booth at the expo. The weekly newspaper, now in its 25th year, will also feature a special expo section in the issue prior to the show and the one after. Publishing dates are September 25 and October 2.

ATTA BOYS! Kudos to Chuck Esposito and Lou D’Amico, head honchos at Caesars Palace race and sports book. Word is that the facility has just been named winner of the "Visitors’ Choice Award" presented by What’s On magazine.

Chuck spent his early years in the business in Las Vegas Hilton pinstripes while Lou, most recently at the LV Hilton, was director of Caesars Palace race and sports book for more than a decade.

Since moving over to Caesars, now owned by Park Place Entertainment, the two popular executives are dedicated to "restoring Caesars to its former glory."