DON’T BE SURPRISED
if The Venetian hotel and casino announces soon that it plans to go
“Monies raised in the sale would be
used for future expansion plans, which include a new tower,” said a well-known
gaming executive who asked for anonymity.
“It would also go towards beefing up
some plans that haven’t met expectations,” he continued. “The Guggenheim
Heritage Museum cost The Venetian $30 million. It has yet to attract the
anticipated standing room only crowds.”
It also cut its exposure to high-end
play. The casino reportedly discounted high roller losses by as much as 20 cents
on the dollar. Slot win slipped from $140 a machine to $132.
Cash flow at the Strip resort fell
nearly 15% last year causing the company to post a loss of $1.26 million as net
revenue slid nearly 10%. As a result, plans to expand by adding 1,000 rooms atop
The Venetian’s parking garage have been put on hold. Ditto a second 3,000-room
But, all the negativity evaporated
almost immediately when The Venetian was named as one of the three finalists to
receive preliminary approval for a Macau gaming license.
A casino in Macau figures to bring
major revenues to the company.
It should work. And, when it does,
don’t be surprised to see the IPO come out.
SUNSHINE FOLLOWS RAIN! During my
rainy days a few weeks back I was able to do a little research.
I smoked out a few gaming stocks that I
plan to put in my portfolio. One is Magna Entertainment Corp. (MIEC).
Frank Stronach, the company’s
founder and chairman, who also happens to be the world’s largest and most
diversified supplier of auto systems and components, has victory in his eyes.
The Austria-born Stronach is buying up racetracks the way kids buy hotdogs at
His portfolio is impressive. It
includes Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, home of the Florida Derby; Bay
Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Thistle Down, Remington Park,
Portland Meadows, Multnomah Greyhounds, The Meadows and Great
Lakes Downs. There is also a pending agreement to acquire Lone Star Park.
Why am I interested? Because Frank
Stronach wants to do what I dreamed of doing ”” get simulcast rights at
racetracks and offer them on a betting network.
But, good ideas are often shared by
others. The others become known as rivals. In this case, Stronach’s opposition
includes Tom Meeker and his Churchill Downs network.
Why do I favor Stronach? Seldom, if
ever, do I bet on the fave. Churchill is a favorite to get the best network in
the game. It has TV Guide as a driving force, thus the name TVG
Network. Nearly everyone knows that the future of horse racing will depend
on who has the best simulcast chain in its network.
The match up between Meeker and
Stronach and his XpressBet, which will conduct account betting in
California, will be a tough one.
But, Magna, currently selling for less
than $10 a share, is worth a few of my bucks.
YOU GOTTA HAVE HEART! And, MGM
MIRAGE President and CFO Jim Murren and his wife, Heather,
have plenty of it. Murren will sell 200,000 shares of his personal holdings in
the company mainly to finance the development of a cancer research and treatment
center in Las Vegas.
MGM MIRAGE stock closed Monday at
$36.67, up $.92. Multiply 200,000 shares by the price it was when sold. It’s
easy to see the couple cares a lot. Cancer claimed the lives of family members.
pleasure in accenting the positive in gaming.