JIMMY LANDS IN PARADISE! Our old friend Jimmy Vaccaro has surfaced in the Bahamas. The pioneering Vegas bookmaker just took over the reins at the new Pegasus Race and Sports Book at the Atlantis resort casino on Paradise Island.
The newly-opened sports shop offers sports betting on major events plus satellite wagering on U.S. racetracks.
"The new sports book is actually state-of-the-art," reports our pipe in the Bahamas. "The book has the feel of an elegant living room, with comfy chairs and plasma monitors for easy viewing of the action."
Our pipe adds that Pegasus has five teller-manned betting windows, as well as IPT’s — individual player terminals — on which bettors can place their own bets.
Incidentally, the software for the new operation was provided by Virt Game, which is making inroads into the sports book technology business. Actually, Atlantis is the first international licensee for Virt Game.
Even though Jimmy will be "languishing" in Paradise for most of the year, he will be in town on Halloween, oddly enough, to participate in the Stardust Invitational Handicapping Contest.
NO FOOL-ING AROUND HERE! "Better check out Motley Fool’s Jeff Hwang and his comments today about Mandalay and its top execs," advised a Wall Street pipe.
We took his advice and found the writer suggesting that stockholders in Mandalay Resort Group (MBG) "cash in your chips and look elsewhere."
The writer was concerned that the top two execs — Mike Ensign and Bill Richardson — "have dumped more than $600 million worth of stock" since March 2002 and have not given any reason for their actions.
He questioned the company’s recent financing activities noting that instead of reducing its $3 billion debt, it has used cash to repurchase shares and "pay an unnecessary dividend." At the same time, Hwang wrote, the company had used a convertible bond offering to refinance its debt.
"How can you pay a $60 million cash dividend when you’re issuing stock to refinance debt?" he asked rhetorically.
"Why even worry?" he added, while suggesting that it was time to sell the shares.
FAT LADY HASN’T CROONED YET! That gambling probe of the Husky athletic department at the University of Washington hasn’t ended yet. And even Barbara Hedges, the athletic director at the school, has been mum on the subject.
But, it’s common knowledge that football coach Keith Gilbertson still hasn’t been cleared of gambling charges, even as his predecessor Rick Neuheisel sits on the sidelines. Neuheisel was fired for participating in high-end neighborhood basketball pools during the Final Four tournaments.
It’s been acknowledged that Gilbertson and others had an office pool going on during 1999, but investigators are trying to determine whether there was more gambling happening within the university’s football office.
"It may be that all this negative talk is affecting this year’s football team," suggested a Las Vegas player as he crunched up his parlay ticket.
"Just look at Washington’s horrible performance last weekend as a big favorite at home against a much weaker UNR (University of Nevada, Reno) team. They got clobbered."
ADD TO THE ZILLION OF SHOE STORIES: One thing Bill Shoemaker never did was let his small (four feet, 11 inches tall) size interfere with anything he wanted to do.
This was obvious in a story related by a reader:
"One night we went to Chasen’s Restaurant in Beverly Hills for dinner. The place at that time was a major draw for the Hollywood personalities. It also was one of The Shoe’s favorite restaurants.
"This particular night our attention was drawn to the bar where all we could see were hands placing glasses on the bar. But, it appeared that the hands were not attached to a body.
"Then out stepped Bill Shoemaker, owner of the hands that had been preparing drinks. We later learned that he was a close personal friend of the bartender and just loved going behind the bar to lend a hand."