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Connecticut’s Indian casinos set slots record in October

Nov 19, 2002 7:53 AM

   The two Native American casinos in Connecticut were on a roll again in October, especially with their slot machines that showed an increase of 5.4% over the same period of a year ago.

   Foxwoods Resort Casino, believed by many in the industry to be the most profitable casino in the world, and its neighbor, Mohegan Sun, reported total win from slot machines of $124.8 million. They said the slots drop for the period amounted to $1.54 billion, or approximately $50 million a day.

   The report spelled good news for the state since Connecticut receives 25% of the total amount of money “won” by the two casinos. In this case, the state received $31 million.

   Officials said they expect that the final tally for the year will enhance the state’s tax coffers by more than $400 million.

   Since the two casinos started contributing part of their slots earnings to the state, first Foxwoods and later Mohegan Sun, Connecticut has received about $2.3 billion from the dual enterprises.

   Over the course of the years, the two properties have expanded their operations so that presently they operate about 12,584 gaming devices. Not reported to the state is the amount of money won by the casinos’ other gaming activities, such as table games or racebook betting.

Company outlook

   Solid 2003 growth of between 20% and 25% was forecast Monday morning by officials of Shuffle Master Inc. (SHFL).

    In a forward looking statement, the company said it expects earnings for fiscal 2003 to be in the range of $0.91 to $0.95 a share.

   Although the company has yet to report its experience for fiscal 2002 which ended on Oct. 31, officials said they expected the earnings to be in line with the previous guidance. This would make per shares earnings of between $0.76 and $0.77.

   Addressing the situation, Dr. Mark Yoseloff, chairman and CEO of the company, said, “Fiscal 2003 promises to be another strong growth year, with new product revenues expected to augment continuing core growth. We are pleased with the substantial progress in all of our product lines in fiscal 2002 and look forward to continued excellent results this fiscal year.”

Financing arranged

   Lim Kok Thay, the Malaysian billionaire who financed the construction of Foxwoods Resort, announced last week that his casino company, Genting, will provide $80 million to the Seneca Indians to construct their New York State casino.

   The construction will take place under an agreement between the Senecas and Trader Cove Associates.

   It was the Trader Cove Associates, half owned by South African gaming czar Sol Kerzner, that supervised the construction of the Mohegan Sun Resort.

The Insider

   Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) might encounter competitive problems for its Blue Chip casino in Indiana. A court decision will permit the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians to build a casino about 15 miles away from the Blue Chip which has been one of Boyd’s most successful operations.

   Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) says it will take a charge of some $5 to $6 million because of the demise of National Airlines. Harrah’s had provided the airline with a letter of credit that National used to satisfy vendor billings.

   GTECH Holdings Corp. (GTK), the world’s largest supplier of lottery equipment, has won the bid to provide an online gaming system and related lottery services to the George Lottery Corporation. The contract is expected to generate $275-$300 million over its seven-year life.

   Casino City Press has released its latest edition of the Gaming Business Directory, considered the gaming industry’s most comprehensive and up-to-date business directory. The new directory is a 700-page reference covering gaming in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Caribbean.

   GameTech International Inc. (GMTC) reported it has received approval for its electronic bingo unit from the gaming regulators of Mississippi.

   London Clubs International, an original participant in the construction of the Aladdin Hotel/Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, has announced that it plans to sell its prestigious 50 St. James Casino in London in order to raise cash to pay down its debt believed to be about $500 million. The casino will have a price tag of about $75 million.

   Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) said it expects to take a non-cash impairment charge of about $50 million. The charge deals with the asset value of land that separates The Borgata Resort in Atlantic City from land that was expected to be used by MGM MIRAGE for a mega-resort.

   The Isle of Capri Inc. (ISLE) is suing its former president, Ed Ernst, for allegedly trying to lure ISLE executives to Casino Magic Corp., a company he had joined after leaving his ISLE post. The suit is being heard by a jury in Biloxi, Miss.

   Directors of Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) have approved an annual dividend of $0.50 per share to be paid on Jan. 17 to stockholders of record on Dec. 31.

   Following his reelection, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who strongly opposed any expansion of gambling during his first term, admitted that he would consider gambling in order to raise more tax revenue.

   Also taking a close look at expanded gambling is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where a 19-member task force has been formed to prepare a report on the impact gambling would have on the state. The task force will file its report by Dec. 31.

   Alliance Gaming Corp. (ALLY) announced its subsidiary, Bally Gaming and Systems, had acquired CMS LLC, a company whose software solutions focuses on player database management and player tracking.