No coins make a big noise

May 29, 2001 10:15 AM

MONKEYS ARE EATING RED PEPPER! That’s what a pipe said over the telephone this morning when he called to expand on his theory that coinless slot machines will soon be the wave of the future.

"They have been a big hit at two Las Vegas properties, Suncoast and Terrible’s," the pipe told GamingToday.

"It will take players awhile to change their slot play habits, but when they do, coinless machines will rule. Newer casinos are apt to be the early takers since it’s more economical to install new coinless machines than to convert old slots that take coins."

Adding to the flavor was the following quote from Tim Garcia, director of casino operations at Terrible’s: "They’re very convenient for players. And once they get used to them they’re likely not to want to look back!"

WHO’S BUYING? A number of heavyweights in the gaming industry have been on a selling spree among insiders.

In the group is Kirk Kerkorian. He sold 1,894,406 shares of MGM MIRAGE (MGG) at $30.50 a pop.

The Fertitta family - Frank III, Lorenzo and Blake Sartini - each sold 192,416 shares of Station Casinos (STN) at prices ranging between $14.50 and $15.02 per share.

Tom Baker, CEO of International Game Technology (IGT), sold 25,000 shares at $56.95 per share and has registered another 100,000 shares.

William Pratt, vice president of Hollywood Casinos (HWD), is registered to sell 83,100 shares.

William Keating, a director at IGT, sold 14,660 shares at $57.38 each.

And Eric Hilton, a director at Park Place Entertainment (PPE), sold 8,400 shares at $10.17 each.

SOARING LIKE AN EAGLE! That’s Eagles as in the Philadelphia team, which has been given the green light to borrow up to $180 million to build a new football stadium in the City of Brotherly Love.

If you’re keeping score, that happens to be one of the largest sports loans ever. The NFL is reaching into its kick to the tune of about $125 million from its stadium loan fund. The loan is being made by FleetBoston and appears to be the first sports loan extended without any revenue such as naming rights, luxury suites, etc.

If all goes as scheduled, the Eagles will have a new stadium for the 2003 season. The actual cost of the stadium ”¦ $500 million.

Not to worry. The Eagles have sold out Veterans Stadium for 10 straight years.

BOBBIE’S DAUGHTER! Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of the late Robert Kennedy, is said to be very enthusiastic at the prospect of casino gaming in Maryland, where she is lieutenant governor.

It seems that current Gov. Parris Glendening, "insists on no slots, no casinos and no exceptions!" The member of the Kennedy clan is the front-runner to be the Democratic nominee in next year’s gubernatorial election.

Commented an insider, "We Marylanders who are hoping for casino gaming hope that the lieutenant governor is not a chip off her father’s block, recalling that he made pre-election promises and came up empty."

OPENING SOON! Siena Hotel Spa Casino, the nation’s newest boutique hotel and the first new resort to open in Reno in years, has an opening date of July 31.

It has a unique combination of amenities and services, including a full-service day spa, 24-hour casino, electric art and fine dining on the banks of the Truckee River. The four-star property was modeled after its Italian namesake. It is dedicated to discriminating travelers.

Among its exceptional finishing touches will be 214 appointed rooms and suites with river or panoramic mountain views. There will also be an all-suite floor with butler service.

There’s more - Egyptian cotton linens, robes, coffee makers, high-speed Internet access, Web TV, data lines, safes with chargers for laptop computers and cell phones. Two-line speaker phones are featured. There will be daily newspaper delivery and turndown service.

Executive Chef Antonio Caggiano, a celebrated Tuscan chef, brings his passion for food, wine and Italian lifestyle to the new hotel.

If the spa is your cup of tea, the Siena will feature 11 therapy rooms for massage, facial and body treatments. Oh yes, before I forget, there will be a 23,000-square-foot casino with 26 table games, 800 slot machines, keno and a betting parlor for race and sports.

How do you like that for Reno?

GOOD COP! Bill Maheu has attended a special FBI academy class at Quantico. The 41-year-old assistant chief of police in San Diego was one of 250 top officers throughout the word picked to attend the class. Moreover, he will address the class on June 8. Bill is the son of Bob and Yvette Maheu. Bob was the legendary sidekick of Howard Hughes.

OUCH! Taxpayers in at least three states - Wisconsin, Texas and Connecticut - are crying the blues. Their state lotteries have dipped in the last three years. Wisconsin leads the way. Lottery reserves there fell 19%!

GUSTAV IS AT IT AGAIN! Master Chef Gustav Mauler just opened a new restaurant at The Orleans, and the scoop is the Italian trattoria could be his best ever!

According to a source, Gustav’s new eatery, Sazio, is a bright-and-airy place accented by bold colors and a whimsical "twirling pasta" logo. Of course, Gustav’s specialty is homemade pasta dishes that are to die for, especially his spaghetti and linguini.

For those who live in vacuum bottles, Gustav already operates Spiedini Italian restaurant and the Oxo Steakhouse, both at the Regent. With three restaurants, Gustav could soon challenge Wolfgang Puck (he has six!) for the title of Restaurant King of Las Vegas.

"I really enjoy creating unique dining experiences," Gustav said. "People want more to their meal than just food."

As one of only 54 registered Master Chefs in the country, Gustav certainly knows about food!

THEY’RE AUSSIE, BUT THEY TRADE U.S.! Now that Aristocrat Leisure’s American subsidiary, Aristocrat Technologies Inc., has been licensed in Nevada and the company’s new video slot game Penguin Pays has been receiving a lot of attention, readers have been inquiring whether the parent company’s stock is traded in the U.S.

"The answer is yes," advised Art Chevalier, who heads Quick & Reilly’s operations on the west side of Las Vegas.

"Anyone interested in Aristocrat Leisure stock should check the trading symbol ”˜ARLUF’," he explained, adding that at Friday’s close, the stock was selling at $3.42 a share.

THEY PICKED A WINNER! Kudos to the folks at the Castaways for signing up old friend and fantastic entertainer Sam Butera for the Memorial Day weekend. Sam and his "Wildest" merely packed them in for his shows.

It seems like only a few weeks ago, Sam and Keely Smith were at the Desert Inn, reminding all their listeners of the great lounge days when they appeared with Louis Prima. Those were the days!

Sam B. has been around a long time, but you wouldn’t know it as he sings and plays his sax fronting one of the best lounge acts in Las Vegas.