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Caesars wants slice of Chicago!

Aug 5, 2003 6:29 AM

TRADE WINDS IN WINDY CITY? Maybe Caesars will succeed where others have failed, but on Monday Park Place Entertainment (PPE) revealed it was submitting a bid to embattled Emerald Casino Inc. to acquire both the company and its Illinois gaming license.

A successful bid would result in PPE seeking permission to build a riverboat casino in Rosemont, just a stone’s throw from O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

Company plans call for a Caesars-branded casino resort comprising 40,000 square feet of gaming space, more than 1,100 slot machines and 34 table games, four restaurants and four bars or beverage lounges. The project also would include a covered parking facility with more than 5,000 spaces.

Financial terms in the bid were not disclosed.

Several months ago, when it appeared that Emerald Casino would be barred from completing a riverboat casino project it began in Rosemont, MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) offered to buy the company for some $675 million, with nearly half to be turned over to the state. The proposal was withdrawn when regulatory officials said the acquisition was not acceptable.

Since then, attempts have been made to resolve the Emerald Casino differences between stockholders and the state but without success. Also, the legislature passed a bill that would permit the state to issue an 11th license for a casino in the city of Chicago.

For now, we’ll see how the Caesars bid plays out.


THREE MEN ON A HORSE: And what a trio it is: Terry Lanni, chief honcho at MGM MIRAGE; Bernie Schiappa, chief honcho at the Las Vegas Mercedes Benz sales office, and their newest partner, Joe Torre, chief honcho of the New York Yankees.

The three are the proud owners of a three-year-old French-bred filly called Cellamare. She made her U.S. debut last Saturday in the San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar, finishing a tired seventh.

Asked in a pre-race interview how the successful partnership of Lanni/Schiappa (you remember the Breeders Cup winner Silic, and the multiple stakes winner Lady’s Din) came up with Torre as the third member of the triumvirate, Schiappa said merely that he met Torre while playing golf in Hawaii and the friendship developed from that moment on.

Although Cellamare’s debut was less than outstanding in the San Clemente, observers suggested that she be given a little time in the hands of Trainer Frank Monteleone and good things could be coming her way.


BRANCHING OUT: The Nevada Gaming Control Board will have a familiar face before them on Wednesday Aug. 6 when they meet for their monthly meeting in Carson City. The face belongs to Harvey Whittemore, managing partner of the Reno office of Lionel Sawyer & Collins law office, and the man who is considered the voice of "gaming" in the legislative halls of Carson City.

Whittemore and his wife, Annette, will be the recipient of a 10% option for the stock of Nevada Casinos Inc., also known as Wendover Casinos Inc. Seeking permission for the option are William Paganetti Gaming Trust Agreement, which will offer 5.3%, and Natale A. Carasali Gaming Trust Agreement, the other 4.7%.

Whittemore had to work overtime during the most recent session of the Nevada legislature, attempting to get the best deal possible for his gaming clients as lawmakers struggled to put together a budget for the next two years.