Former MGM CEO's cancer may delay Pansy Ho hearing

Oct 13, 2009 5:11 PM
Gaming Insider by Phil Hevener |

The expected New Jersey hearing to determine the suitability of Pansy Ho as a Macau partner for MGM MIRAGE the co-owner of Atlantic City’s Borgata may be pushed into 2010, but Terry Lanni might not be available. 

Former MGM chairman Terry Lanni (pictured) has confirmed to GamingToday that he has been diagnosed with cancer that requires a combination of surgery and chemo treatments. This could preclude his availability for a hearing. To what extent this could be an issue remains to be seen.

The Casino Control Commission appears to be taking its time as bureaucrats and lawyers sort through the issues. Among them:

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What is the standing of Ms. Ho, the daughter of the controversial Stanley Ho, who still controls most of the gambling in Macau? It’s not as though she wants anything to do with New Jersey. But with the Division of Gaming Enforcement recommending that she NOT be found suitable, well …

Some regulatory body has to bring closure to this issue. Right?

But with the casino-driven Atlantic City economy having been battered by a recession and gambling in other states, factors that have cost thousands of jobs and billions in lost capital spending, the Commission has lost much of its appetite for beating up on licensees that could bring so much to the area.

The goal among Commission insiders is to deal with Pansy Ho before the re-licensing of the Borgata comes before the Commission next summer.

Boyd Gaming remains a very interested but otherwise uninvolved observer since it is MGM’s Borgata partner. Boyd will have no role in the Pansy Ho-related action of the Commission, but Boyd and MGM are co-licensees at the Borgata, which means Boyd might have an opportunity (be forced?) to buy out its partner’s interest.

But with MGM officials busy working to get the various elements of CityCenter open late this year, they’ve got no reason to get to Atlantic City any sooner than necessary.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Phil Hevener