A little swim into the red

Jun 12, 2001 10:54 AM

TAKING A DIP! Not really a splash, like jumping into a pool, but Nevada’s gross gaming win was down 1.45% in April. Maybe that’s like getting their big toe in the water?

Regardless, the gross win for all games of chance in the month of April amounted to $774.2 million, compared to April 2000’s win of $785.6 million.

The casinos on the Las Vegas Strip may have gotten more than their toe in the water. They rolled up a decline of 4.3%, with $371.7 million in win compared to $388.5 million a year ago.

April’s figures contrast with those turned in in March, when statewide win was up 2.05%, with the Strip casinos up 1.69%.

Statewide, the casinos along Boulder Highway in Las Vegas showed the biggest plusses. They saw the largest percentage increase in April when their win shot up 13.87%, from $46.3 million to $52.7 million.

The biggest losses occurred up north in the Reno area, where gambling win fell 9.95%, from 76.2 million to 68.6 million.

As for Downtown Las Vegas, the casinos there held up in April. They were up 3% to $59.8 million.

ARE THE "LAMBS" EATING THE "BUTCHERS?" "It certainly looks that way," insists a rosebud wise to the ways of Nevada’s unique bet shop industry.

She continued:

"Players are affectionately known as lambs. The bookmakers are known as butchers who dine on roasted lamb on a regular basis.

"This may be a case of turnaround as American Wagering (BETM), now a penny stock, is trying to survive.

"BETM operates 42 betting parlors in Nevada. Business has been on the decline. And the company has until July 23 to complete a forced sale of its Australian Internet company. Nevada regulators fined BETM and charged that an undercover agent pierced the veil and made illegal wagers. At one time there was a buyer waiving a million dollars around, but that has gone nowhere."

BETM closed Monday unchanged at 34 cents. Its 52-week range went as low as 19 cents and enjoyed a high of $3 per share.

REMEMBERING MAMMA! The media did a good job of nearly ignoring the Clintons on Saturday at the Belmont Stakes. It was a natural for Hillary. She is an elected representative of the state.

As for Bill, it was a day that brought back memories of his much-beloved mother. When she was alive she was an avid horseplayer. She spent as much time as possible playing the ponies.

I’m sure that many of those memories flooded Bill’s thoughts. In fact, he was heard to say:

"There was a time, if I wanted to see or visit my mother, I had to go to the racetrack."

A KID IN A CANDY STORE! George Maloof could barely control his excitement as he described the amenities in his new Palms hotel scheduled to open in December on Flamingo Road across from the Gold Coast and Rio hotels.

"We’re going to have one of the most exciting casinos in the city! It will be a hip, energetic casino that will offer something for virtually everyone," Maloof said.

Leading GamingToday through a private tour, Maloof described the 455-room resort as a "boutique hotel." It will cost $265 million and will be strongly entertainment-driven to attract locals and tourists alike.

In listing the restaurants, Maloof was quick to point out the famous Nine steakhouse from Chicago and the exotic Buddha bar from Paris. He said topping it all off will be a three-level nightclub/events facility that will accommodate up to 1,500 people.

He was on a roll: "Rounding out the amenities will be a 14-screen movie theater, a race and sports book with drive-up teller and bingo and keno parlors amid a sprawling casino.

CALIFORNIA BOUND! Attorney Ellen Whittemore is leaving her full-time duties at the prestigious law firm of Lionel Sawyer and Collins.

The rumor is that she is taking up with Action Online, an Internet gaming company in California. The decision to leave probably came before California said thumbs down to Internet gaming and Nevada said thumbs up.

Ms. Whittemore was a deputy attorney general in charge of gaming in Nevada before joining up with Lionel Sawyer and Collins, a firm that specializes in gaming.

Word is that she will remain of counsel with the firm.

HUSH, HUSH! An in-the-knowster who has been known to correctly raise eyebrows has a gem to offer.

"I was told to keep this away from the pipe. It’s not time to put anything in the paper yet!"

His reference was to the buzz that a shopping center back East (owner unknown) might have an interest in buying the Four Queens. The Downtown hotel-casino is owned by financially troubled Elsinore Corp. (ELSO).

A TIGER BY THE TAIL! Shareholders of Alliance Gaming Corp. (ALLY) seem to have a tiger by the tail.

The company, a leader in creating gaming products, closed Monday at $34.99, up $1.58. But if you want the rest of the story, look at its 52-week numbers. ALLY went from a low of $1.50 a share to today’s high. Trading volume was at a peak. There were 532,000 shares traded Monday. Its 200-day average volume tips in at a mere 146,000 shares.

So what’s going on?

ALLY operates four diverse divisions: Bally Gaming & Systems, Wall Machines & Amusement Games, Route Operations and Casinos.

From a pipe comes a report that the company has committed itself to creating gaming entertainment and is a leading supplier of innovative entertainment and state-of-the-art systems, products and services to customers across the globe.

Its Bally brand is having huge success with an entirely new generation of machines.

FORGET THE SUNSET! A measure for Nevada bookmakers to file a messenger wagering report was set to sunset this summer.

Forget it! The Gaming Control Board is recommending to the Commission that the measure go into perpetuity.

Reportedly it has been used on at least two occasions to guard against illegal wagering.

Regulators are asking the Commission to make it a permanent rule. At the same time, the Board is asking the Commission to take strong action against gaming licensees who fail to adhere to compliance programs in place.

If they don’t comply (Reg. 5) it will be deemed an unsuitable method of operation.

FTC KNOCKS ON HARRAH’S DOOR! Casino operator Harrah’s Entertainment (HET) disclosed Monday that the Federal Trade Commission is seeking additional data on the company’s pending $625 million purchase of Harveys Casino Resorts.

The company said it intends to respond promptly to the request that was issued under requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Anti-Trust Improvements Act of 1976.

Harrah’s announced back in April that it intended to buy Harveys’ casinos in Nevada, Iowa and Colorado. In so doing, the company said it expects the purchase to boost earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) by about $25 million through cost reductions.