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Showboat to celebrate opening of 544-room Boardwalk tower

Apr 29, 2003 5:01 AM

There may be fireworks in Atlantic City when that gaming locale welcomes its first destination resort, the Borgata, either just before or just after the Fourth of July but the city’s Boardwalk will get its turn to celebrate on May 21 when Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) opens the new 544-room tower at the Mardi-Gras-themed Showboat Casino Hotel.

Company officials said about 300 rooms in the $90 hotel tower will be opened some time this month into order to prepare the property for a full opening in May.

And Harrah’s will not stop with the hotel tower but already has plans for a $33 million project to improve the Showboat’s frontage, ripping out a showroom and expanding its casino floor. After opening the new area sometime in July, the company is expected to begin other improvements with the addition of a new open-air lounge and a food court.

Growing interest

That elusive racing license for the community of Hobbs, N.M., has attracted another applicant”¦only this time the person involved has some strong political ties.

Gary Peters, a Santa Fe art dealer who has been described as a major contributor to Gov. Bill Richardson’s political campaign and serves on the state board of finance, is the latest applicant for the racino license.

Previous applicants include Las Vegas gaming investor Shawn Scott whose plans include a $30 million facility under the name of Lea Downs; R.D. Hubbard, owner of Ruidoso Downs, who is proposing a $27.5 million facility to be called Zia Park, and Ken Newton, former owner of the failed The Downs at Santa Fe who would name his facility, Saddlebrook Park.

Prior to the Peters application being filed, the New Mexico Racing Commission had planned to hear the presentations of the initial three applicants on May 22-23 but now these hearings have been postponed until sometime in June.

Last week, two executives of the Riviera Holdings Inc. (RIV) ”” Ron Johnson and Bill Westerman ”” reportedly joined Newton in his bid for the license. Johnson said he and Westerman know a great deal about casinos which would complement Newton’s knowledge of horse racing.

The Insider

Shuffle Master Inc. (SHFL) says it has completed the recently announced acquisition of certain assets from Sega Gaming Technology Inc.

Privately-held RaceTech has received approval from the Oregon Racing Commission to install Instant Racing, a pari-mutuel video lottery game currently offered in Arkansas, at Multnomah Greyhound Park and Portland Meadows horse track.

Casinos operating on the Mississippi Gulf Coast saw their gaming winnings increase a modest 2% during the first months of the calendar year. Colorado Casinos recorded gaming win of $57 million during March, a decrease of 6.94% from the $61.2 million won during March 2002.

Indiana lawmakers have approved permitting the state’s riverboat casinos to stay open 24 hours each day.

Isle of Capri Casinos (ISLE) and its joint venture partner, Nevada Gold & Casinos (UWN) have purchased two Colorado casinos, the Colorado Central Station in Black Hawk and the Colorado Grande Casino in Cripple Creek.

Louisiana gaming authorities reported the state’s licensed casinos won $179.3 million March, up from $171.7 million won in February.

A federal appeals court in Florida has affirmed a lower court decision that allows SunCruz Casinos gambling boats to use Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway.

A shareholders class action lawsuit against PDS Gaming Corporation (PDSG) has been dismissed, according to a company announcement.

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority will host a conference call regarding its second quarter fiscal year 2003 operating results on Monday, May 5 at 11 a.m. PDT.