Mikohn lands $1.7M contract

Jul 17, 2001 6:12 AM

Mikohn Gaming Corp. (MIKN) has won a $1.7 million contract for its progressive jackpot technology that will be installed in the Green Valley Ranch Station Casino expected to be opened by Station Casinos Inc. (STN) in December.

In a joint announcement Monday morning, Mikohn and Station Casinos said Mikohn would install its SuperLink package for floor-wide management of the new casino’s progressive jackpot system from a central location. Also involved will be Mikohn’s LED electronic displays to showcase jackpot totals.

During the announcement, Dave Thompson, Mikohn’s chairman and CEO, remarked, “Mikohn continues to be the dominant force in progressive slot technology, which our company pioneered, and these traditional product lines remain an important part of our business base.”

The casino, the latest project for “locals” leader, Station Casinos Inc., will be located at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Nev. The 40-acre resort site will anchor a 170-acre mixed-use commercial, retail and office development. The $300 million project will feature 435,000 square feet of public space including a 55,000 square foot casino with 2,500 slot machines and 40 table games.

Station Casinos President Lorenzo Fertitta said Mikohn was chosen “because of their quality and advanced capabilities, which will support the efficiency of our operations”¦As the acknowledged leader in the Las Vegas locals market, Station Casinos serves some of the most knowledgeable and demanding gaming customers to be found anywhere in the world, and our properties must set the standard in casino entertainment.”

Decision due

A decision reportedly was imminent Monday on the winning bidder for the N.Y. City Off-Track Betting Corp., which is being privatized on orders of N.Y. City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The NYCOTB handles more than $1 billion in bets each year and is expected to bring more than $500 million to the city’s coffers.

Finalists in the bidding are Magna Entertainment Inc. (MIEC), the company put together by Canadian industrialist Frank Stronach, and its partner, Greenwood Racing, the English-based owner of Philadelphia Park, and the N.Y. Racing Association (NYRA) and its partners, Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) and TVG, a subsidiary of Gem Communications.

According to press reports, Giuliani, possibly influenced by Stronach’s high-powered lobbyists, is leaning toward the Stronach group. The choice must ultimately be approved by the N.Y. legislature.

Tables awaken

Reports on the demise of table games at Nevada casinos were given the Mark Twain treatment (premature) with the release last week of the state’s gaming experience for the month of May.

Statewide, Frank Streshley of the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Tax & License Division, said gaming revenues were up 5.66 percent. But, in breaking down the numbers, he noted that the increase in slot machine win was only 1.02 percent while the percentage increase for table games was a whopping 16.12 percent.

And the table game revenue came from several different sources: blackjack, up 11.07 percent; baccarat, up 26.48 percent and mini-baccarat, up 151.95 percent.

Benefiting mostly from the increase table game play were the Las Vegas Strip casinos that banked more than $66 million from their blackjack tables. This was followed by the $37 million generated by baccarat and $32.7 million at the craps tables. The Strips total gaming win was up 11.88 percent over the corresponding period of a year earlier.

Bright future

A prominent gaming analyst sees continuing success for the gaming industry’s two largest slot machine manufacturers.

Mark Mutkoski, managing director of the gaming and leisure area for Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, and his associate, Joel Simkins, reviewed the gaming manufacturing field with a buy rating on both International Game Technology (IGT) and WMS Industries, Inc. (WMS).

In their view, “slot machines will increasingly dominate casino floors as casino operators utilize the machines to maximize their gaming revenue, drive same-store sales growth and improve efficiency.” As such, they said, “IGT and WMS will continue to be beneficiaries of this trend. Over the long-term, we believe these suppliers should experience consistent growth based upon the expansion of gaming domestically and internationally, a growing recurring revenue base, the proliferation of Native American casinos, a faster replacement cycle, and technological innovations such as cashless gaming.”

Systems suit

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) is suing to bar Station Casinos Inc. (STN) from allegedly infringing on its Total Rewards system of rewarding continued patronage.

Harrah’s said it was awarded U.S. patents for technological innovations that underlie its Total Rewards program. The program provides its cardholders progressively higher levels of service and benefits at 21 properties in 17 markets around the country.

Station Casinos Inc, which operates locals casinos in several locations throughout Las Vegas, did not comment on the suit.

Earlier this year, Harrah’s sued the Stratosphere Hotel/Casino alleging that property, owned by Carl Icahn, was running a promotion that infringed on a Harrah’s patent.

Greek Isles theme

The ill-fated hotel/casino once operated by Debbie Reynolds, and inactive for several months, is about to be revived by its new owner, Mark IV Realty Group Inc. of Chicago.

The property was purchased out of bankruptcy for $10.8 million in 1998 by the World Wrestling Federation but never operated by the group. Last December, real estate developer John Marks bought the property for $11.2 million.

During the past few weeks, a Greek Isles décor has been added to the property located on Convention Center Drive. The new owners named Jere Walker, general manger of casino operations at the Bourbon Street Casino, to be in charge of a 100 slot machines as part of a slot route subsidiary of Alliance Gaming Corp. (ALLY).

There are plans to open a 24-hour Greek restaurant named Yanni’s when the casino opens but being delayed are plans to open the 192-room hotel.

THE INSIDER: Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD) plans to issue $200 million of eight-year senior notes in a private placement. The proceeds will be used to refinance existing debt. The new issue has been assigned a “BB-” rating by the firm of Fitch rating service.

So much opposition has arisen to California’s efforts to ban Internet gambling, that the sponsor of the bill, which passed the Assembly 61-2 in May, says he doubts that the measure can be saved.

Bankruptcy court has postponed until Aug. 9 the hearing that would set a primary bid for the bankrupt Regent Las Vegas Resort Hotel/Casino.

Jack Binion, son of the immortal gaming giant Benny Binion, and one of the most successful gaming entrepreneurs in the country, is suing Mexican national Kamel Nacif for more than $4 million in unpaid gambling debts. The markers reportedly date back to 1994 through 1996 when Jack Binion ran Binion’s in Downtown Las Vegas.

Global Payment Technologies Inc. (GPTX) says it has signed a two-year supply agreement with Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd. to provide currency-validating equipment for the firm’s slots.

David Anders, gaming analyst for Merrill Lynch, has raised his rating on Aztar (AZR) from neutral to accumulate.

International Game Technology announced that it will release third quarter earnings in a conference call on Thursday, July 19.

Alliance Gaming Corp. (ALLY) has approved a 2-1 stock split of its common shares. The record date will be July 31 with the additional shares being issued on Aug. 20.

Riviera Holdings Corporation (RIV) says it has purchased in three private transactions 233,000 shares of the company’s outstanding common stock. The average price paid was $6.29 per share.

MTR Gaming Group Inc. (MNTG) has been added to the Russell 2200 and Russell 3000 Indexes.