How did Macau ignoreCaptain Kirk’s billions?

February 12, 2002 8:21 AM
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WHERE’S THE BEEF? Gamers are astonished at the results of the license selections in Macau. Officials there chose Stanley Ho, as expected since he has been operating casinos in that area for two decades; Steve Wynn, the guy who will always be remembered for his Las Vegas Strip creations, and Sheldon Adelson, who transformed the old Sands Hotel into The Venetian.

But, observers are asking: “How could they ignore a guy like Kirk Kerkorian who has satchels full of cash in favor of two developers who just might have the shorts right now?”

Adelson has delayed the start of The Venetian’s Phase 2, particularly in light of a weaker than expected fourth quarter which saw net income drop from $5-plus million to $1 million.

And, Wynn, whose next project has been dubbed, “Le Reve.” French for “The Dream,” has been postponing groundbreaking while attempting to put together the necessary financing on Wall Street.

Said one wag, “Kerkorian probably could have funded a Macau casino out of his petty cash account!”

TALK ABOUT YOUR BAD BEAT! The bad beat of the year has to go to Nick Bogdanovich, who had to resign his post as sports book director at Mandalay Bay.

“Nick was asked to resign after he took a huge Super Bowl bet from Charles Barkley, without collecting any money for the bet!” reports a Strip insider. “Basically, Nick took a sports bet on credit, which is a no-no in this town.”

“According to people close to the situation, a Mandalay Bay casino host walked Sir Charles over to the sports book, where he asked to place a $500,000 bet on the Patriots plus the 14 points, plus another $50,000 on the Patriots money line. For whatever reason, Nick didn’t collect the money ”” either cash or chips ”” before punching out Barkley’s tickets. Moreover, he didn’t get Barkley to sign a marker, which didn’t matter anyway since you can’t place a sports bet with a marker.”

There was still a chance to void the tickets, but that didn’t seem to be an option.

“They tried to get Barkley to sign a marker, but heaven knows why Nick didn’t simply void the ticket, after, of course letting Gaming Control know what’s going on. His job was on the line, and probably a lot more. We’ve yet to hear from Gaming about this issue.”

Rumor has it that regulators may soon be involved, especially if Mandalay Bay refuses to cash Barkley’s ticket. A potential fine could also reach six figures.

By the way, Nick reportedly won a big bet he took from financier Carl Icahn, who sources say bet $1.6 million on the Rams’ money line.

Despite the $1.6 million win, Nick apparently couldn’t overcome the marker snafu with Sir Charles.

A DECADE OF GROWTH: Happy Anniversary wishes to Foxwoods Resort Casino, probably the world’s most successful gaming establishment that this week will observe its 10th birthday celebration.

Who would have thought 10 years ago that this little bingo hall would be transformed by the Mashantucket Pequot Indians into a world-class gaming property. Statistics show that 37% of all adults from northern Maine to northern New Jersey have gambled at either Foxwoods or nearby Mohegun Sun.

That’s an amazing statistic considering that a number less than 20% is believed to have visited Las Vegas on at least one occasion.

And, congratulations to the State of Connecticut and its citizens whose gaming compact with the casinos generates huge tax dollars. Last year alone, the casinos coughed up $335 million to the state’s treasury.

We also extend our congratulations to Foxwoods president and CEO Bill Sherlock who learned his craft as a gaming executive here in Las Vegas.

GAMING TO THE RESCUE: It will not come as a surprise to Las Vegas gaming executive Larry Woolf that Casino Niagara is saving that part of the Province of Ontario from a massive economic slowdown.

Woolf’s Navegante Group built and operated the temporary casino, cited as one of the most successful operations experienced in Canada. In agreeing to hold the temporary license, Woolf agreed not to bid on the permanent facility. That went to Hyatt Corp.

Last week, General Motors announced another layoff, some 932 jobs, bringing the total employment level to 3,200 people from a high of 11,000. Yet, the community is expected to see a rise in employment of 3.9% this year, primarily due to the opening of an $800 million casino complex that will include a 368-room Hyatt Hotel.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING: That’s what Bill Boyd is telling the people of Rhode Island and particularly the members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe.

Boyd, chairman and CEO of Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD), has been jetting around the country of late looking after company business. And, apparently, it’s paying off. The company just shocked Wall Street with a solid quarter of earnings. This week, Boyd will launch its slot machine operation at Delta Downs Racetrack, and next year will open the first gaming resort ever for the Atlantic City market.

But, New England is still an attractive venue and the fact that Boyd Gaming failed to win legislative approval for an Indian casino two years ago, hasn’t dimmed Boyd’s enthusiasm. Last week, Boyd told a cheering gathering that “this time we will prevail.”

Plans call for a $500 million casino in a West Warwick, R.I., industrial park.

Joining his boss was Don Snyder, company president, who warned: “If Rhode Island doesn’t move now, it will find itself competitively challenged. “

IT’S THE “FOUNTAINS 11”: National publicity of late has been on the Las Vegas-based movie, “Oceans 11,” but in Lowell, Mass., the center of conversation has been on the “Fountain 11” group.

Seems that 11 Lowell city officials recently spent $6,500 on a trip to Las Vegas so that they could get a closer look at the Bellagio Hotel fountains, made famous, of course in the Oceans 11 movie.

Although the city manager approved the trip, one city councilor remarked, “ I get the distinct impression it was a junket ”¦ I don’t think the fountain has much to do with it.

But, the city manager countered that a copy of the Bellagio fountain, “would be a huge draw to the (Lowell) downtown.”

AN HISTORICAL RE-ENACTMENT: Noting that London’s St. Michael’s Church originally occupied the site of a popular betting shop, the current vicar has invited his congregation to join him in a worship service at a William Hill bookmaking establishment.

Planned by the vicar will be a service that will include prayers, hymns and Holy Communion, according to press reports.

Needless to say, William Hill officials were dumbfounded by the request, saying it certainly ranks among the oddest ever received.