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Looking for sleeper of the year? Stop!

Jul 10, 2001 5:27 AM

   SLEEPER OF THE YEAR? Scientific Games Corp. (SGM), the company formed when Autotote Corp. bought out the company earlier this year, is my candidate to become gaming’s sleeper of the year stock.

    Autotote’s chairman and CEO Lorne Weil, an astute businessman with nine lives, made it all happen when he acquired the leading manufacturer of instant lottery tickets and dispensing machines.

    Needless to say, some eyebrows were raised with Weil’s pick. Should a guy who’s been up and down and over and out try to fit a lottery operation with the company’s successful pari-mutuel wagering systems?

   I’m not sure Weil needs negativity to motivate. Maybe so. The company’s stock has risen from the middle to high $2 range and closed Monday at $5.39.

   Weil and his team took well-deserved bows with the installation of new lottery systems in both Maine and Iowa.

   How high is up?

   SMOKE FROM THE PEACE PIPE! “Although the official sign isn’t up yet, bet your beads or bangles that Station Casinos (STN) would do a deal with an Indian tribe for a $100 million casino in the Reno area,” said a rosebud.

   More: “The United Auburn Indian Community will team up with Station to build the casino and entertainment facility outside of Roseville, just north of Interstate 80.

   “It needs the blessings of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to put land in trust for the tribe. They are a big fave to get it. And, within a year of approval, the 49-acre parcel will be ready to roll the dice.”

   Most affected by the project would be downtown Reno casino operators who already are screaming and hollering that Indian tribes in California are damaging. One so close to Reno would likely be very damaging.

   However, hope still springs eternal for one Reno casino top gun. He asked not to be identified.

   “Reno visitors seeking more of a destination, more attractions and more amenities will hold their own. However, Reno has miles to go before it sleeps in improving the downtown area.”

   From another source: “The tribe picked a winner in Station. The company has a proven track record of attracting locals and nearby Sacramento would certainly be a target area. As for a hotel, one is planned, but not for the initial phase.”

   NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION! CyberLocator.com has come up with an inexpensive, easy-to-install USB devise that can pinpoint the location of any equipped computer using measurements taken from satellite sensors.

   Paul Siegel, an executive with CyberLocator, said the technology is so precise that it can determine on which corner of the desk a computer is Âí­sitting.

   The former Bally’s slot machine sales exec said CyberLocator has developed a practical method for attaching its equipment directly to central gaming servers such as those being considered by Nevada regulators.

   A pipe explained: “When a gambler attempts to enter an online casino via the web, the company’s machine intercepts the transaction, makes sure it’s authentic with a GPS receiver, then allows qualified surfers to continue. Everyone else is shutout.

   “I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that management at MGM Grand (MGG), Harrah’s Entertainment (HET), and Park Place Entertainment (PPE) are doing back flips in excitement. These companies ”” others will certainly follow ”” see that casino gamblers from 38 states with legal games of chance could soon send their web browsers to Las Vegas. And, don’t forget the money. If Nevada regulators find a way to police the action, a bill already signed by the governor could make Nevada the first to establish legal click-and-bet Internet casinos.”

  Could CyberLocator be the missing ingredient to enable not only Nevada, but also the feds to say yes?

  IF THE MONEY HAD LASTED, maybe ”” just maybe ”” New York Gov. George Pataki and other state politicians would not have suddenly decided to approve three casinos in Western New York.

   “After years of wrangling and bickering over the question of approving additional casinos in New York,” said a pipe, “the state’s cookie jar is getting close to empty. New Yorkers need money. That’s why the change of heart.

   “However, it’s far from a done deal as opposition will come out of the woodwork to fight this off. But, it says here, that when the smoke clears there will be casinos in Western New York.”

   CHARLIE IS TALKING! “When Charles M. LaLoggia speaks, I listen,” said a rosebud.

   Back in February, the author of Super Stock Investor sniffed out strong rumors that Mikohn Gaming (MIKN) might be a takeover target. It prompted him to draw up a five-year chart of MIKN.

   No one can spot takeover targets better than LaLoggia.

   “It shows a potentially huge base pattern with a breakout pattern of around $9,” LaLoggia told GamingToday.

   He went on to add that the company (MIKN) could possibly become a takeover target if it manages to hit on a popular line of games, either from a large slot company (WMS Industries or Aristocrat Leisure) or, perhaps, some company seeking to enter the industry.

   MIKN closed Monday at 7.88, up 20 cents.

   TWENTY-THREE SKIDOO! Park Place Entertainment (PPE) is replacing its striking slot machine attendants at its Caesars Atlantic City casino.

   I hear the attendants earn between $8.60 and $13.00 an hour and want more, said a pipe.

   “Park Place is willing to go 10 cents an hour more, case closed. I hear the strikers are sending customers to ”˜try the slots at Trump’s next-door,’” the pipe added.

   Stay with Caesars New Jersey another sec. The casino reported the steepest revenue decline (down 14.5%) among Garden State casinos.

   Why?

   Lady Luck smiled on some players. Also, even simulcast revenue for June dipped 6.1% to $925,000.

   IT’S LIKE DAVID AND GOLIATH! Little Home Gambling Network, a subsidiary of i2corp.com (ITOO), is suing Dr. Stanley Ho and his DrHo.com online gaming site for an alleged violation of its patent.

   If you stopped 100 people on the street and asked about i2corp.com, few if any could identify the Las Vegas-based company operated by the Molnick family. But Dr. Ho, the Malaysian casino mogul, was recently listed in Forbes magazine as having a net worth of $1.1 billion.

   The size of their adversary isn’t daunting the Molnicks. Says Mel Molnick, president of HGN, “As we have done successfully before, we will continue to vigorously defend our intellectual property no matter where the infringing entity is located in the world and DrHo.com is no exception.”

   Home Gambling Network has a U.S. patent that covers remote wagering on live games and events with electronic financial transactions. In other words, if you play a live game on the Internet and pay with credit card or some similar method, HGN’s patent prevails. Or, at least, that’s their contention.

   MONKEY SEE/MONKEY DO! A New Jersey in-the-knowster with strong links to movers and shakers insist that the Garden State will do what the Silver State has done: Give its blessings to Internet gaming.

   “U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), who two years ago led the fight to ban the concept, is reviewing the situation.

   “Look for LoBiondo to get some reassurance that there will be a way to ban minors from betting. When it happens, look for the congressman to change his tune,” the in-the-knowster said.

   In a related matter, LoBiondo is opposed to a ban that would outlaw amateur sports betting. A source close to the congressman said he believes legal Nevada sports books help authorities spot trends that could expose game rigging.