HE LEARNED HIS LESSONS WELL: Few in the gaming industry are probably aware that Phil Satre, who recently retired as CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) and was honored last week at the American Gaming Summit, was a running back on a Stanford University football team that made two appearances in the Rose Bowl.
But, what Satre got most out of his football experience, was guidance from his coach, John Ralston, who impressed upon him the importance of surrounding himself with the best possible assistants.
Among Ralston’s assistants were famed football coaches Dick Vermeil and Bill Walsh.
"As an adult," Satre said in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, I often think of what (Ralston) did well at Stanford. He had an unrelenting desire to surround himself with the best assistants he could find. He really identified talent and that’s one of the jobs that I’ve learned."
HE’S ROLLIN’, NOT RUMBLIN’ Las Vegas boxing fans have become accustomed to having ring announcer Michael Buffer sing out his famous, "Let’s Get Ready to Rumble" announcement before introducing the fight participants. So, they won’t be surprised to see him tooling around in his new $110,000 Mercerdes SL500.
According to an item in the New York Post, Buffer was seen with his wife, Alina, pulling up for lunch at a Los Angeles restaurant.
When Buffer’s famous phrase began to catch on, he trademarked it to limit its use by others. Smart move!
By the way, the car’s registration plate reads: "Mr. RMBLE"
GOOD NEWS FOR MIDWAY & REDSTONE: Based on a recent announcement by Midway Games Inc. (MWY), the company has another game winner in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. Since it was launched on Nov. 22, 2002, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance had sold through more than one million units.
The announcement had to bring a smile to the aging face of Wall Street investor Sumner Redstone since he is the largest single stockholder in the company.
Ever since he was granted approval by Nevada regulators that he could be a passive investor in WMS Industries, Redstone has purchased several millions shares both in WMS and its spinoff MWY.
Redstone is better known for his investment in Viacom.
A NEW RACETRACK FOR MOTOR CITY? A Downriver businessman who bid to build a Detroit casino six years ago and is in the running to redevelop the Pontiac Silverdome wants to build a $200 million horse racetrack and convention center on 300 acres in Van Buren Township.
Sam Danou, chairman and CEO of Trenton-based Triple Creek Associates L.L.C., submitted an application Dec. 6 for a license to construct the track, which would be called Triple Creek Downs. The track is just four miles from another proposed thoroughbred track.
At a Dec. 18 meeting with the Okemos-based Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association, Danou said the proposed project would be worth $200 million, said Larry Mallar, general manager of the association.
MIXED BAG FOR GAMERS IN FOURTH QUARTER: Although not yet out, CIBC’s preview of the Fourth Quarter will send mixed signals to the gaming industry. The strongest segment, it appears, is the manufacturing end, which is "trading at the high end of the historical range."
The problem is that casino operators are not so fortunate. CIBC attributes the problems to a "weak economy, low consumer confidence and the possibility of war."
The result, when audits are released, will be lower-than-expected earnings and muted growth in all markets.
Overall, CIBC predicts lower than anticipated earnings, although the industry "remains fundamentally sound despite legislative uncertainty," which is coupled with a weak economy. The redeeming feature of the state of the industry is the strength of free cash flow, which has been used to repurchase stock or reduce debt. Thus, and this must be good news, "the downside risk to the group is limited."