Alliance Gaming boosts technology with two acquisitions

December 24, 2001 12:53 AM
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Alliance Gaming Corp. (ALLY) has agreed to acquire all the stock of Advanced Casino Systems Corporation, a full-service technology company providing integrated solutions for software, hardware and other services for the gaming and hospitality industries. The purchase price was given as $14.6 million.

The announcement came on the heels of the recent action by an Alliance subsidiary, Bally Gaming and Systems, which acquired Casino Marketplace Development Corporation, a leading supplier of player marketing, bonusing and promotions software.

In announcing the acquisitions, Robert Miodunski, Alliance president and CEO, said, “ACSC is widely respected throughout the industry and its systems products are known as among the best available. Along with our flagship systems product SDS and the extension of our product line provided by Casino Marketplace, we believe the acquisition of ASCS will take our systems leadership position in the industry to a new level.”

ASCS is a subsidiary of Greate Bay Casino Corporation, which plans to use the proceeds of the sale to assist in the company’s bankruptcy restructuring plan. Greate Bay said it was working with Hollywood Casino Corporation in resolving its $63.5 million indebtedness.

As for Alliance Gaming, whose share price has grown tremendously during the past year, the company said it has been selected to be listed by the Chicago Board Options Exchange for options trading. The CBOE is the world’s largest options marketplace with current listings covering more than 1,600 companies.

N.J. subsidy

Financial pressure to maintain the quality of their racing product caused the N.J. Senate last week to authorize an $18 million infusion in purse subsidies for the state’s racetracks.

By a wide majority, the solons approved $11.7 million for thoroughbred racing and $6.3 million for harness racing. The state’s Assembly Appropriations Committee is slated to take action on a similar bill soon.

Nearby states whose purses have been inflated by revenues from slot machines have been draining the horse quality in the Mid-Atlantic states. “Without it,” said a representative of the horsemen’s association, “thoroughbred racing will die and all those horse farms will disappear.”

The legislation is being pushed to have it ready for the signature by Acting Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco Democrat Gov.-elect Jim McGreevey takes over in January.

Payment negotiated

According to information filed with regulators, Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) negotiated the payment of $5.1 million in order to eliminate Shawn Scott from any remaining interest in Delta Downs racetrack in Vinton, La.

Scott, who paid $10 million for the track in 1999, sold the property to Boyd Gaming as a potential site for slot machines for $125 million with the provision that additional funds would be paid depending on the number of slot machines installed at the track.

The possibility of additional payment to Scott was the argument used by a nearby riverboat operator, which suggested that Scott should be licensed by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. A judge agreed and issued an injunction prohibiting Boyd Gaming from going forward with the slot machine installation. That action has since been nullified.

It was reported that Boyd could have been liable for as much as $27 million in additional payments to Scott but the company was able to get Scott to agree to the $5.1 million payment to completely eliminate him from any future involvement.

Scott, a Las Vegas former casino operator whose license was withdrawn by gaming regulators in the past, recently purchased Vacation Village Hotel/Casino at auction. If he is to continue the property’s gaming activities, officials said, he must find a licensed operator.

No vote needed

If the Rhode Island Lottery Commission votes to approve the requests for more video lottery terminals at two current pari-mutuel operations, no voter approval is needed said the state’s attorney general in an advisory opinion.

The requests for more machines submitted by Lincoln Greyhound Track and Newport Grand Jai Alai will be heard by the Lottery Commission on Jan. 7.

Opposing the move are leaders of the Narragansett Tribe that has been petitioning for a casino but has been rebuffed by the communities of West Greenwich, Providence and West Warwick. Additional gambling, they fear, will make it more difficult for them to find a suitable location for a casino.

Meanwhile, Narragansett officials have been meeting with representatives of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) to discuss their casino goals. However, following the initial talks, it was unknown whether the casino giant would continue to work with the tribe.

Competitive fear

Now that New York has approved slot machines for five of that state’s racetracks, the operators of Capital Off Track Betting have started beating the drums for permission to have slots as well.

“If Saratoga (harness) gets VLTs (video lottery machines),” said Tom Cholakis, who heads the 16-county off-track betting operation, “you could probably kiss goodbye the kind of handle we do at the Teletheater in Albany.”

Of course, the people of Saratoga haven’t decided yet whether they want to have slot machines in their community. Strongly opposed are the operators of Saratoga, the thoroughbred track that runs during the summertime only.

And, even those who are thinking of putting slots on their tracks are having second thoughts. “The economics as they are presently contemplated by the Division of Lottery do not seem to work,” remarked Bob Galterio, general manager of Yonkers Raceway.

But, the folks at Capital OTB just don’t want to get left at the post so they’ve hired a high-price lobbyist to work in their best interest.

Getting short-changed

The taxpayers of Connecticut must feel awfully satisfied that former Gov. Schweiker and Atty. Mickey Brown, then head of Foxwoods Resort Casino, struck up such a fortunate deal regarding slot machines. Fortunate for the state, that is.

Brown agreed that Foxwoods would turn over to the state 25% of the casino’s slots revenues for exclusive rights to operate slot machines, which, until then, had been banned by state law.

The deal was modified a bit when the Mohegan Sun Casino was built but the state still gets 25% of the slots revenues from both properties.

Now, look at New Mexico where gaming compacts have just been re-written. The regulations provide that the tribes will pay to the state eight percent of their slot machine revenues. Big difference from 25%.

The Insider

Florida Gaming Corporation (BETS) has entered into a loan agreement with CIB Bank of Frankfort, Ill., for $4.6 million. The money will be used to pay off existing debt. The company operates jai-alai facilities in Miami and Ft. Pierce, Fla.

Nevada Gold & Casinos Inc. (UWN) said its Black Hawk gaming market grew by 10% during the month of November. Revenues were at $38.4 million, compared to $35.1 million in November, 2000.

Mandalay Resort Group (MBG) says its Excalibur Hotel/Casino is suing an Internet company for trademark violation. The Internet company, International E Gaming of St. John’s, Antigua, has been using the Excalibur trademark.

Midway Games Inc. (MWY) has completed its public offering of 4.5 million shares of its common stock at a price of $15 per share.

Three Las Vegas-area casinos have installed QuickCredit, the credit extending machines operated by Global Cash Access.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) has entered into a charter flight agreement with Allegiant Air Inc. of Fresno, Cal.

Isle of Capri Black Hawk LLC has redeemed all of its outstanding 13% mortgage notes in the principal amount of $75 million.

Fitch Rating Service has affirmed the debt ratings on Mandalay Resort Group (MBG).

PDS Gaming Corp. says it has agreed to resolve its claims against the former Regent Las Vegas with the payment of more than $19 million.

With improving business being noted at casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, two properties ”” Beau Rivage and Casino Magic ”” have begun lining up 500 temporary workers to begin work in March, 2002.

Although no figures have been made public, the operators of casinos in Deadwood, S.D., say there has been a considerable jump in table and slot revenue since the bet limit was increase from $5 to $100.

Louisiana gaming regulators say revenues at the state’s riverboat casinos increased by 16% in November over the same period last year.