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No slots (yet) at Churchill, but simulcasting expands

Apr 30, 2002 7:40 AM

Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) failed in its cooperative effort with other Kentucky racetracks and horsemen’ alliances to get state approval for slot machines but that hasn’t discouraged investors.

In fact, the cost per share has stayed in the mid-to-high $30 range, closing Monday at $36.25 with a moderate 16,800 shares changing hands. Many believe that slot machines are still a possibility although it likely won’t happen until next year.

Meanwhile, the company is planning to expand its simulcasting operation with the creation of a new internal operating unit called Churchill Downs Simulcasting Network. The unit will focus on national and global Âí­simulcast wagering opportunities, as well as oversee the marketing, sales, operations and data support efforts related to its multiple racetrack simulcast system.

Earnings reports

Even eliminating the benefits of cash-cow Empress Casino in Joliet, Ill., sold in July 2001 for $465 million, Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corp., the company formed and operated by former Las Vegas gaming executive Jack Binion, reported increases in revenue of 8% and cash flow of 23%.

Total cash flow for the company’s remaining three riverboats totaled $61.8 million on revenues of $211.8 million for the quarter ended on March 31.

In other financial reports, Aztar Corporation (AZR) reported earnings per share of $0.35, up from $0.28 last year; Las Vegas Sands Inc., the company, owned by Sheldon Adelson, and operator of The Venetian Casino Resort, showed net income of $5.1 million compared to last year’s net loss of $0.4 million; Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment Inc. (DVE), earnings per share of $0.19, down from last year’s $0.22; Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. (DJT), loss of $0.21, or better than last year’s loss of $0.77.

The Insider

Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) has completed its purchase of Bullwhackers Casino in Black Hawk, Colo. The company paid a subsidiary of the Hilton Group $6.5 million for the property.

The Southern Gaming Summit, produced by GEM Communications, will be held at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi, Miss., May 8 and May 9.

The most recent rejection by the Illinois Gaming Board of a buyout offer for the troubled Emerald Casino project has substantially reduced the possibility that the state’s final riverboat will be berthed in the Chicago-suburb of Rosemont.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. has been ranked 41st among all companies named to the Barron’s 500.

Recent notices to the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that three Station Casinos Inc. (STN) executives plan to sell some of their shares in the company. Planned sales involve Chairman and CEO Frank Fertitta, III, 682,000 shares; President Lorenzo Fertitta, 682,000 shares, and CFO Glenn Christenson, 149,290 shares.