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Vacationers shun Paradise Island following 9/11 attacks

Nov 6, 2001 5:32 AM

Las Vegas hotel/casinos were hard hit following the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., which significantly curtailed air travel, but an even greater impact was felt by Sun International Hotels Limited (SIH) and its property on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Reporting Monday, the company said September occupancy at the Atlantis Resort averaged 35% compared to 68% in the same month last year. September, following Labor Day, is normally a slow month in the Bahamas, the company said.

Fortunately, the company said, the in-house tour operator found that the number of calls being received on a daily basis, that had plummeted by more than 70% following the attacks, “have improved quite significantly, although remaining below year ago levels.”

On a positive note, the company said that revenue from the Mohegan Sun operation in Connecticut had increased substantially. The developer of the property, Trading Cove Associates, has an agreement with the Mohegan Tribe, to receive 5% of the property’s gross revenues. Sun International is a 50% partner in Trading Cove Associates. For the reporting quarter, Sun International’s net income from the Mohegan Sun was $7.1 million, up from last year’s $5 million.

Sun International has been granted an operating license for an Internet site from the Isle of Man and hopes to be operational later this year. Since July, the company has operated its AmbassadorCasino.com web site in a test mode. The site is designed to exclude play from countries where Internet gaming is unlawful, including the United States, and to prevent under-age access to the site.

In other financial reports, MTR Gaming Group, Inc. (MNTG) said it had experienced record financial results for the third quarter ended on Sept. 30. Net income was up 28% to $16.3 million or $0.63 per diluted share. And, Hollywood Casino Corporation (HWD) reported earnings per share of $0.04 compared to last year’s $0.16 a share.

Aristocrat score

Randy Black, owner of three of Mesquite’s casinos, has signed a multi-million dollar contract with Aristocrat Technologies Inc. for the installation of its OASIS casino management system in all three properties.

According to the announcement, the OASIS system will be installed at the Casablanca Resort Hotel & Casino, the Virgin River Hotel & Casino and the Oasis Resort & Casinos. The first installation is expected to be completed by year end.

Black said that before choosing Aristocrat’s OASIS system, “we evaluated a lot of casino management systems. Each system has its advantages, but we found the features in this particular system met our specific needs.”

“As this contract underscores,” said Mark Newburg, president of Aristocrat Technologies, Inc., “OASIS is deployed not only for accounting and other administrative functions, but also for player marketing solutions.”

Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. is a U.S. subsidiary of Australia-based Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ARLUF) that recently acquired Las Vegas-based Casino Data Systems.

Mexican license?

Las Vegas auctioneer and gaming entrepreneur Eric Nelson found out quickly how valid, or invalid, a Mexican gaming license is.

Through his Phoenix Leisure Corporation (PLS) and its investment in Viva Gaming & Resorts (VIVA), Nelson had a license to operate a lottery entertainment center at the Gransur Parque Comercial mall in Mexico City and opened the facility last Thursday evening.

It immediately was shut down by order of the Secretaria de Gobernacion.

There was no indication whether Viva had been forewarned about the activity or about the validity of its license.

“Of course, we’re disappointed by this action which we believe was executed without legal basis or a fair review of our operating system,” said Nelson, adding, “We apologize to our customers and employees for the confusion caused by this unnecessary action.”

The Insider

Last Wednesday, Donald Trump said he was going to put the squeeze on his lenders to effect a more favorable rate, particularly in light of the announcement that New York State would approve casinos. On Friday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the debt of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. (DJT) to default grade.

Steven Kent, gaming analyst for Goldman Sachs, reduced his earnings estimate for Mandalay Resort Group (MBG) from $1.14 to $1.00 for fiscal year 2003.

Just how art work sales will be taxed remained unresolved last week when the state tax authorities failed to adopt a permanent regulation after the temporary regulation had expired. The temporary regulation went into effect when Steve Wynn developed his art collection for display at the Bellagio. He since has sold his company and part of the art to MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG).

Global Cash Assess of Las Vegas says it has signed 16 gaming properties to contracts for its products and services.

International Game Technology (IGT) has acquired Tennecom Gaming Solutions OOC of Nashville, Tenn., a maker of casino player tracking systems.

A company owned by Australian publishing mogul Kerry Packer will soon establish an Internet gaming operation in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu. The site will be aimed at Asian gamblers.

Shareholders of Alliance Gaming Corp. (ALLY) will meet for their annual meeting at 10 a.m. Dec. 11, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas.

Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) President and COO Kevin DeSanctis will make a presentation at the Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown 2001 Hospitality Conference on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Danny Davilla of Hibernia Southcoast Capital in New Orleans has lowered his earnings forecast for MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) for fiscal 2002 from $1.45 to $1.15.

Station Casinos Inc. (STN) and International Game Technology (IGT) will report their quarterly earnings on Tuesday, Nov. 6.