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Mohawks agree to share
slot machine revenue with N.Y. State

Nov 18, 2003 4:51 AM

Those drums along the Mohawk heard over the weekend were probably the words of capitulation expressed by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal leaders who announced that they would share their slot machine revenue with the state.

Under the agreement, the tribe, whose casino is located on the Canadian border, said they would give the state an 18% cut of net revenue during the first four years, 22% for the following three years and 25% thereafter.

Describing the move as a "good business decision," Chief Jim Ransom said, "There is a significant economic potential if we can offer slot machines. The casino would grow. There would be enough money to share. It’s just a good business decision for the tribe."

The casino has been operating since 1999 but in June the federal courts ruled that a tribal compact was invalid since it had not been approved by the state legislature. Lawmakers will take up the matter when it convenes in January and slot revenue sharing is expected to be a key issue.

As part of the agreement, the state will waive any potential claims against Class III revenues taken in over the past four years. Also, the pact must be approved by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

Online venture

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) plans to launch an online gaming venture with a twist in England during the first quarter of 2004.

Called "Lucky Me," the online availability will be restricted initially to residents of the United Kingdom and will be subscription-based play only. The games will range from traditional bingo-type games to variations of popular games offered on typical "play-for-fun" Internet sites. Participants will pay from $17 to $84 per month, depending on the number of cards players purchase.

The company has teamed up with Revahertz Networks, a private Boston-based software game developer, to develop and market new Internet games.

License resolved

A deal has finally been hacked out that will have the owners of the bankrupt Emerald Casino in Illinois turn over their license for public auction by the state.

Under the plan, all investors accused of wrongdoing will forfeit their investments, totaling more than $1.8 million. Those non-tainted investors will receive their initial investments plus interest.

The license is expected by state officials to bring in about $350 million. After investors are paid, the remaining funds will be added to the state treasury.

THE INSIDER: The U.S. Court of Appeals has reaffirmed the decision of Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton to place lands in trust for the United Auburn Indian Community for the purpose of gaming. The decision had been challenged by two local communities.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) has announced the promotion of three senior executives. They are: Anthony Sanfilippo, president of Harrah’ s Central Division; Tom Jenkin, president of the new Western Division, and Marilyn Winn, senior vice president of Las Vegas operations.

Prior to leading office, ex-Gov. Gray Davis of California eliminated the timetable for talks with Indian tribes relative to renegotiating their gaming compacts.

Analysts at Jefferies & Co. have cut their rating on Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (ISLE) from "buy" to "hold."

Alliance Gaming Corp. (ALLY) announced it would buy Sierra Design Group for $191 million. Sierra Design Group is a leading supplier of gaming devices.

New Jersey casinos won $380.7 million in October. This represented an increase of 9.2% over last year, primarily due to the inclusion of revenues from the new Borgata Hotel Casino.

Wembley PLC, the English company that owns Lincoln Greyhound Park in Rhode Island, says it spent $7.4 million in its unsuccessful effort to get approval for slot machines at its four dog tracks in Colorado.

Park Place Entertainment Corp. (PPE) says it has received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Orlando, Fla., relative to a probe of a former customer of Caesars Palace.