Station continues to impress analysts

Feb 25, 2003 7:27 AM


NO END FOR THIS WINNING STREAK: Analysts, pleased with Station Casinos investor meetings last week, report a rosy future for the Las Vegas-based gaming giant.

"Stations has a clear growth path that should drive earnings per share higher through at least 2005," said an insider on Wall Street. The in-the-knowster added that Stations is the only gaming company rated as "outperform."

Among the reasons for Stations’ high marks are a solid business strategy, a low dependence on an economic recovery and the good chance that estimates will move higher.

One of the pluses working in Stations’ favor is its California project, the Thunder Valley tribal casino, which should open later this spring or summer. "I’ve discovered that there’s a chance the casino will renegotiate the number of slots, making it more lucrative," a pipe predicts.

Moreover, Stations will soon start receiving distributions from its 7% ownership of the Palms, and it could break ground on Red Rock Station, its latest project slated for Summerlin.


PASSING BAD PAPER: Vinnie Pazienza — who has legally changed his name to Vinnie Paz — took home some nice paychecks from Nevada appearances, but according to the Clark County D.A.’s office, he passed seven checks with insufficient funds.

So, the D.A. filed a warrant for his arrest.

The warrant was noted by the State Police of Connecticut and Vinnie was taken into custody at Foxwoods Resort last week. He was charged with being a fugitive from justice.

That makes for a lot of bad publicity for a guy who was the IBF lightweight champion in 1987-88 and the WBA super welterweight champion in 1991.

Connecticut authorities said Vinnie posted a cash bond of $75,000 and was released pending further info from Nevada.


NO APPOMATTOX FOR LEE: Don’t expect Dan Lee, the new CEO of Pinnacle
Entertainment Inc., to express business fears over an invasion of Iraq. Just the opposite.

"Less than 2% of our customers fly to our casinos," Lee told analysts last week. "Yesterday, I was at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, waiting in line for security for more than an hour and a half. I was the only person in line happy about it, because the more screwed up air travel gets, that makes it better for our business."

Pinnacle operates casinos in Reno, Nev., Biloxi, Miss., New Orleans and Bossier City, La., and the Belterra riverboat in Indiana. It also has a casino interest in Argentina and two card clubs in California.

Lee can sympathize with the travel requirements of Las Vegas visitors. During the 1990’s, Lee was chief financial officer for Steve Wynn’s Mirage Resorts.


JUST A MISUNDERSTANDING: That’s how Phil Satre, recently retired CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., described the controversy regarding the allegation that N.J. Gov. Jim McGreevey has asked Satre about the possibility of Harrah’s managing the Meadowlands slot machines should such legislation get passed.

A Harrah’s official, not Satre, had leaked the information that McGreevey had made the inquiry. The governor’s office vehemently denied his having said that.

Last week, in a somewhat apologetic letter to the governor, Satre said he recalled talking about the proposal for a gaming tax increase and the possibility of racetrack slots but "neither of us made any offers to each other on either issue. There was no negotiation."

Meanwhile, the political debate regarding the track slots continues hot and heavy with A.C. casino supporters insisting it will never happen, and track supporters suggesting the casinos "not put their heads in the sand."