Sports book ok’d for MonteLago casino

Mar 11, 2003 5:42 AM

The Imperial Palace is off the block, the Golden Gate is now a sole proprietorship and a new Lake Las Vegas casino will be opening its own sports book.

In a flurry of activity this month, Nevada gaming regulators:

”¡ Heard Imperial Palace counsel Owen Nitz report that the late Ralph Engelstad’s Imperial Palace has been taken off the market. "It’s not for sale,’’ Nitz said of the Strip resort that is the second largest sole proprietorship hotel in the world. "We’re operating well and moving forward with improvements." Since Engelstad’s death, general manager has been reporting to the casino magnate’s widow, Betty Engelstad.

”¡ Speaking of sole proprietors, the board recommended approval of Alva Marcus Brandenburg III as the 100 percent owner of the Golden Gate downtown. Brandenburg assumed full control by acquiring the 10 percent share held by Craig Italo Ghelfi.

”¡ Recommended approval of Ciri Gaming’s request to operate a sports book at its upcoming casino at Lake Las Vegas. The Casino MonteLago book will have 10 employees. The company, headed by veteran gaming exec Dan Reichartz, also received preliminary go-ahead to manufacture, license and sell existing gaming equipment.

”¡ Recommended approval of Kurt Thomas Wiesner to assume the position of president, treasurer and director of Big Dog’s Gaming. Praising the late Tom Wiesner, board member Bobby Siller called son, Kurt, "the right person at the right time and the right place.’’

”¡ Reviewed Las Vegas Gaming’s plans to raise $2 million in a public stock offering. The company, which developed the Nevada Numbers linked keno game, said it expects to close eight sales this week and plans to add one Nevada casino and one Indian casino each month. Russell Roth, chairman of the board, predicted that the company would be breaking even by December. Meantime, the firm plans to add a new bingo game to its lineup.

”¡ Heard Ameristar report on its riverboat casino outside St. Louis. The boat, which ranks No. 1 in the market, has 3,300 slot machines ”” 80 percent of which are ticket-in/ticket-out devices. Ameristar exec Tom Steinbauer said the company has a healthy $98 million in cash on the corporate balance sheet.

The board also heard a report on new technical standards for gaming devices. More online metering — or tracking — of slots is scheduled to be implemented in the coming years, with 120 casinos expected to have systems in place by 2005-6.

Some 75 industry executives attended the technology hearing. John Chamberlain of IGT said his company, the world’s largest casino gamemaker, "wholeheartedly supports" the pending regulations.

Older slots will not have to be yanked out at smaller casinos generating annual revenues under $10 million, however. That means about 300 clubs will be unaffected.

Still, some midsize gambling halls will feel the squeeze. At Club 93 in Jackpot, Richard Barrows estimated that a full changeover to the new technology will cost his operation $1.3 million — or about one-tenth of his annual gross gaming revenue.