Stations to lift anchor on Isle of Man deal?

Aug 20, 2002 10:35 AM

OPTION PLAY ”” Is Station Casinos back-paddling on the Isle of Man? A week after reporting that the company was pushing forward with its joint e-casino venture with Sun International, GamingToday has learned that Station converted its purchase agreement into an option.

"There’s a degree of uncertainty [about e-gaming],’’ a well-connected source said. "It seemed like the wisest course for the shareholders.’’

So, instead of paying $5 million for a 50 percent stake in, Station will shell out $4.5 million to keep its option open.

The move looks prudent to skeptics who point out that Internet gaming suffered a couple of big hits this year. First, a U.S. court fined a New Jersey financial services firm was fined $734,000

for processing bets from British-based books. Then, several credit card companies announced they would no longer handle online wagering transactions.


FLAT OUT WRONG! ”” Rumors that Irish jig-meister Michael Flatley is buying the Aladdin are a pipe dream, the hotel says.

"We don’t know anything about that,’’ one exec said. "There’s nothing to it. We don’t know how this got started.’’

The London Express floated the story earlier this month. But no one, including Flatley, has publicly put any credence in the speculative report. The closest the Aladdin has gotten to Flatley was a brief stage stint last February by "Spirit of the Dance," one of the many knockoffs of Flatley’s "Lord of the Dance."

But tongues have been wagging ever since Flatley was quoted last year as saying that he would like to own a casino some day. Musing about opening a gambling hall as a permanent residence for one of his dance productions, the now-retired dancer said, "It’s strange that no one has exploited the Irish American theme in Las Vegas.’’


VOLCANIC ERUPTION SOON TO FOLLOW: If Nevada does an about face and permits rebating by race books to horse players ”” currently banned by state law ”” look for a war to break out with our California neighbors.

It won’t be the first time, a similar row caused Hollywood Park, then operated by R.D. Hubbard, to withhold its signal from Nevada racebooks a few years ago. Also, part of the dispute regarded the amount Nevada would pay for the use of the Hollywood Park racing signal.

More recently, rebating has been the marketing tool employed by a few select locations. These include off-shore bookmakers, some of whom have worked out arrangements with legitimate U.S. racetracks to funnel their bets through their tote systems.

Eliminating rebaters, racing industry officials feel, would be nearly impossible. The answer may be for the individual tracks to get regulatory approval to establish some kind of reward system for their own players. Competition for the big player might be healthy for the industry.


THE MAGIC MAN RETURNS: Got to give credit to Steve Wynn who was dubbed the "Magic Man" when he shocked staid old Wall Street investors in the late 80’s and generated enough capital through Michael Milken’s "junk bonds" to build the beautiful Mirage Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. The move started the Strip development trend that is unequal in hotel construction anywhere in the world.

Since moving his brilliance to the fabled Desert Inn, Wynn has spent more time on the drawing boards than in the limelight but now he’s ready to make his move.

Beginning next month, Wynn, accompanied by his financial advisors, will hit the road to convince investors that his plans for both Le Reve in Las Vegas and his Macau Casino provide a "make-money" opportunity during a period when the nation’s economy has Wall Streeters scratching their heads.

Few entrepreneurs have had the courage to bring an IPO (initial public offering) to Wall Street this year. That’s the kind of stuff that separates Steve Wynn from the crowd.