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His honor Oscar Says no, for now

Feb 26, 2002 9:25 AM

HIS HONOR ISN’T TALKING! Deflating reports that he’s ready to ink an Internet deal, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman says he has “no comment” on plans to sign a licensing agreement for a gaming website.

Unconfirmed news reports have hinted that the city has hooked up with casino groups to parlay the Las Vegas moniker into online wagering. Big-name gamers, including MGM Mirage and Station Casinos, have been mentioned as partners.

But Goodman, who irked industry leaders this month when he criticized their “eerie silence” on Yucca Mountain, is keeping his cards close to the vest.

“I can’t comment right now,” Hizzoner told GamingToday Monday evening. “Anything said at this point would be premature.”

Enough said, but stay tuned!

Icahn going shopping? “That’s hard to believe and I doubt it,” said an industry insider.

“I could be wrong, but I never knew Carl to lead with his chin and tip his hand.

However, Chuck Davison, one of his assistants in Las Vegas, suggested just that in off-the-cuff remarks in a speech for Working in Communications, a professional group in town.

“Davison made a bunch of ”˜what ifs’ and suggested Icahn and Kirk Kerkorian could buy anything they want. He was quoted as saying Icahn has looked at more than 50 casinos within a hundred miles of Las Vegas.”

More insider: “That doesn’t sound like the Icahn I know. Anybody who might suspect Icahn has an interest might up the ante. The sale would probably not go through. It might even drive up the price. That’s why I call Carl the cat. He slides in and out, you never know he’s there.”

AH, FRANK, WHERE ARE YOU? No, not Frank S., but Frank De Francis, the man who regenerated racing in Maryland. Sadly, he departed this world at too you an age and left the tracks in the hands of his son, Joe. Anyone who follows the racing scene knows that Maryland racing is just a shade of what it was a little more than a decade ago.

“Everyone cheered last week when they heard that Churchill Downs’ Tom Meeker was talking with Joe about buying both Pimlico and Laurel. But those cheers turned to groans when Joe announced that he wasn’t selling,” said an East Coast racetracker.

“Joe just won’t give up the reins, even though he, more than anyone, is responsible for the decline of the sport and the deterioration of the properties. Sure, we’d all benefit from slot machines but politically that’s not going to happen at least in the short term. So, the prospects of having a classy outfit like Churchill running the operation really had everyone excited.

“Maybe the deal isn’t dead, yet. Miracles have been known to happen,” he said.

TYSON RETURNS TO MOUTHPIECE!  Las Vegas attorney Jim Jimmerson with a reputation as a “tough guy in court” is back in the corner of another tough guy, Mike Tyson.

Why?

To see if Nevada will consider a second run at trying to get his boxing license back.

Who know? Metro police gave him a pass on two separate sexual assault charges.

OVERWHELMED! Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD), which recently took over Delta Downs for its slot operation, has good news and bad news.

First the good news: business volume at the track has been 10 times greater than expected. The company was overwhelmed by the amount of business.

The bad news: Louisiana State Police temporarily shut down the slot operation after citing violations.

There are 1,500 slot machines in operation at the property. They fixed the problems, however, and the coins began dropping again.

INVESTORS CAN HEAR “K-CHING, K-CHING” Once the word got out that Churchill was sniffing around the Maryland Jockey Club, Wall Street reacted by strongly supporting Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN). Although only 70,000 plus shares were traded Monday, the price was driven up $3.10 a share to $39.20. That was very near the stock’s 52-week high of $39.68 a share.

Apparently the prospects of having Churchill with its Kentucky Derby also having the Preakness Stakes in its stable got the investing community pretty excited.

Of course, Wall Street also is looking forward to having Kentucky lawmakers approve the installation of slot machines at the racetracks. What a bonanza that would be for CHDN stockholders.

INTERNET OR TELEPHONE, THERE’S A DIFFERENCE: Efforts by some Congressmen to influence credit card companies from dealing with illegal online gaming companies seems to have been a factor in California’s attempts at fostering advanced deposit wagering.

California law permits both telephone and Internet betting on horse racing but an attempt by a L.A. Times reporter to open an account with a licensed betting company was thwarted when he attempted to establish an Internet account with his credit card. The Visa card was not accepted for the transfer of funds.

But, when he used the card to establish a telephone account, the funds were transferred. Bottom line, said one banking official, was that an Internet account was “too risky.”

SUMMIT: STOCK PRICES TOO HIGH? Attendance at last week’s American Gaming Summit was down about a third from last year, according to observers. Some suggested that it was just a matter of thin budgets at some gaming companies.

But, a comment that stood out was the one from an analyst from Credit Lyonnais Securities who said, “many investors were avoiding this year’s show because they believe gaming stocks have less upside following a recent run-up in the stock markets”¦I don’t know that the value proposition is in the stocks like it was four months ago (following the September 11 attacks.)”