Woman seeks ‘Fortune’ from Binion’s Horseshoe

Dec 10, 2002 7:25 AM

   A $7.7 million dispute between a Las Vegas woman and Binion’s Horseshoe is getting an extra-close look from state regulators.

   Stephanie Kremer claims she won a $7,748,687 Wheel of Fortune jackpot. But the Horseshoe ruled Kremer was not entitled to the progressive payoff because the machine didn’t display the required three Wheel of Fortune symbols.

   Contending that language in the pay table entitles her to the full amount, Kremer took her case to state regulators. After a hearing officer rejected the claim, Kremer charged that she had been blocked from presenting evidence and witnesses to substantiate her case.

   Neither John Bailey, IGT’s attorney, nor Binion’s would comment on the case. Kremer and her lawyer could not be reached.

   Hearing examiner Rick DeGuise noted that a similar claim had been made in a Wheel of Fortune dispute at another casino and that it, too, was rejected.

   Board member Scott Scherer recommended that tapes of the Kremer-Horseshoe hearing be reviewed and that the matter be reconsidered at a future meeting.

   “If there’s merit to her case, she’s entitled to put on evidence,’’ he said.

   Noted one observer: “If she wins, that would be enough to break Becky (Behnen),’’ the Horseshoe’s owner.

   In other action, the board:

 ”¡ Recommended re-opening of the Regency Casino in Laughlin. The club, founded in 1979 by gaming legend Irwin Spencer “Bud” Soper, fell on hard times after his death and closed in June 2001.

   Claudia Denise Wichinsky and Glenn Ellis Wichinsky have remodeled the casino and are purchasing slot machines from their father, Mickey, of Game Master. The club will resume operations with 75 slots, but no table games.

 ”¡ Recommended approval of an international gaming salon at Mandalay Bay. A section of the five-room enclave is accessible only via restricted elevators connected to 160 executive suites. Opening is set for Dec. 23.

   In related news, Art Rodriguez, games manager for the hotel-casino, noted that business from Latin America has yet to return to pre-Sept. 11 levels. “They feel there’s a safety issue with U.S. airlines, so they’re going to London and Australia. But (the terrorist attack at) Bali is changing that,’’ he said.

 ”¡ Heard a request from IGT to purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds to fund time-deferred payments on jackpots. Effective Nov. 1, the U.S. Treasury Department stopped selling 30-year bonds, forcing IGT and others to seek alternative sources of funds.

   Through Sept. 30, IGT had secured $25 million in funds with T-bonds. Since T-bonds are still available on the open market, the board took the request under consideration.

 ”¡ Announced it will solicit public comment on Nevada’s request for an exemption to new federal cash reporting rules at its Jan. 8-9 meeting in Las Vegas.

 ”¡ Received news that Alliance Gaming goes on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. Executives for the company, currently listed on the Nasdaq, will have the honor of ringing the opening bell at the venerable Wall Street trading house that morning.