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Rosemont casino and MGM MIRAGE!

Jul 24, 2001 4:39 AM

SEE US AT ROSEMONT! That’s what MGM MIRAGE (MGG) supporters are whispering as the deadline draws near for the awarding of the casino license to operate in Rosemont, a Chicago suburb.

“Probably before the ink dries on this week’s edition, it’ll be official that MGG will be the successful bidder for the Rosemont casino site with approval coming from regulators as early as this week,” said an in-the-knowster.

The Rosemont site has been quite controversial. It is owned mainly (52%) by the embattled Flynn family, father, Donald, and son, Kevin. As a result, the Flynns decided to sell off the site. In addition to MGM, the other leading candidate is Park Place Entertainment (PPE).

“But, the in-the-knowster continued, “strong support from minorities, which own a 20% position in the Flynn project, is said to be leaning heavily in favor of MGG.”

Why?

The source: “The minorities have been greatly influenced by the way MGG has treated minority owners in the Detroit project. They want to be partners with MGG in Rosemont, too.”

Gov. George Ryan is strongly in support of moving the Rosemont project to the finish line. And, he recently replaced two members of the Illinois gaming board with people who strongly support Action Jackson in Rosemont.

BY THE NUMBERS! The poor showing of Harrah’s Entertainment (HET) at the Rio Hotel has some of its critics up in arms.

“It seems to me,” said a pipe, “HET’s corporate folks are blaming bad luck at the tables for the poor results at the Rio.

“I think they’re missing the point. They don’t teach casino gambling at Harvard’s business school. It’s not on the curriculum. The Rio had a bevy of top-notch casino experts on the team until Harrah’s came on the scene. One by one the experts were replaced by statisticians. What they don’t understand is that players are not statistics. When they get treated as such, they find better nests to roost in.

“I know of one good example. At one time they had the whale of whales (Kerry Packer?) in their fold. He was a big loser. But, when he asked for a modest discount, they gave him the 23-skidoo. If that’s what it says in the rulebook, they’re reading the wrong book. Players flock to hosts and hostesses they respect and admire. Tie their hands and they leave to protect their own reputations. And, the players follow suit looking for tender loving care.

“That’s the game. It seems as if Harrah’s is more interested in increasing revenues by buying new properties rather than taking care of berry patches, which the Rio once was.”

BUSY SELLING! John and Joann Acres of Acres Gaming, sellers of 106,600 shares, between $4.92 and $6.68, are still in the selling mood.

According to a source, the Acres have registered to sell another 150,000 shares.

HARRY VS. GEORGE! Senate majority whip, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was holding hands with Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.). The Silver State dynamos are in battle with Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) Capitol Hill. It seems that Miller quietly added an amendment to an omnibus authorization bill on Native American issues that would allow the Litton Band of Pomo Indians to acquire 10 acres in San Pablo, Calif., which would be developed as a casino property.

Reid has California Gov. Gray Davis (D) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on his side to overturn Miller’s measure. Casino investors are hoping to get the casino up and running. They have been picking up the tribe’s operating, legal and development expenses ($12-15 million).

In-the-knowsters estimate that a fully functional San Pablo casino could have as many as 2,000 slot machines, not to mention blackjack games.

“It could generate up to $150 million in profits each year,” said a pipe. “That’s not small potatoes.”

One critic of the casino: “We don’t need full-scale gambling in the San Francisco Bay area. It’s not a positive thing.”

CALIFORNIA TRIBES SECOND, BUT CLOSING! A rosebud who clocks the action of Indian gambling in California sees tribal casinos in the Golden State running second in size only to Nevada.

“They have already passed New Jersey and are bearing down on Nevada, which has long been the destination of choice for gamblers. By the way, there’s no state in the nation where Indian gambling is as big as it is in California. For the record, 62 reservations have gambling compacts. Forty-three of those have casinos, not counting the 100-plus card rooms throughout the state.

“It’s only a guess, but it’s a good one to suggest that California tribes ”” slot machines only ”” are expected to net $5 billion in the coming year. Last year Nevada casinos cleared slightly less than $10 billion from all of the games and operations. New Jersey casinos raked in more than $4 billion.”

RAISE OR DROP! Any good poker player, especially ones like Lyle Berman, know when it’s time to hold ”˜em and when it’s time to fold ’em.

Berman, with huge success in his hands with the creation of Grand Casinos, Inc., began play in the casino world as an operator of an Indian tribe in Wisconsin. Growth came rapidly and Berman moved onto a national scale to Mississippi and later Las Vegas. He’s won most of the hands, but lost a big pot when his Stratosphere casino project failed and went into bankruptcy.

On the other hand, Berman defeated a couple hundred world-class poker players in the December Hall of Fame Tournament at Binion’s Horseshoe. He was shot down in May when he returned to Binion’s and its World Series of Poker. He was the first one eliminated among the 265 players entered.

Now, as head of Lakes Gaming Inc. (LACO), Berman is returning to his gaming roots by bidding for casinos with Native American tribes like the Nipmuc Nation of Massachusetts, which is seeking federal recognition. No one can measure the stakes and the chances of winning better than a seasoned poker player. As he goes head first with the Nipmucs, it’s a safe bet that Lyle knows his chances of success.

Don’t look for him to fold ’em. I think he’ll hold ’em and succeed.

WHERE THERE’S GOLD, THERE’S KONA! It’s no wonder Las Vegas real estate developer Irwin Molasky wears a happy grin as he drives around town. He and his son, Andrew, are co-owners with trainer Bruce Headley and G. Michael Singh of the seven-year-old sprinter Kona Gold.

No, Kona Gold is no ordinary sprinter. Anyone who saw the gelding decimate the field in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in record time last November is aware that Kona Gold is really something special.

The question on everybody’s mind was whether the speedster could continue his winning ways while adding another year to his racing resume.

No one is questioning Kona Gold anymore. Sunday he won the Bing Crosby Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Del Mar. This was the second consecutive Bing Crosby victory for Kona Gold, a feat that only occurred once before.

So, if you happen to bump into Irwin Molasky’s happy face, you’ll know that it stems from owning a lot of gold . . . Kona Gold that is.

REMEMBERING IKE! There’s a new all-slots casino now operating at the site of the old Debbie Reynolds Hotel/Casino on Convention Center Drive. The new owners, Mark IV Realty Group Inc., have remodeled the property with a Greek isle theme.

A reader who recently visited the property called to advise that “it was awfully nice to see these blackjack machines paying out with Ike silver dollars. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen those and it brought back some happy memories,” said the caller.

The owners have contracted with Alliance Gaming Corp. (ALLY) to operate its 100 slot machines.