Aristocrat lands huge
video slot deal with Harrah’s

Jan 13, 2004 7:02 AM

Aristocrat Technologies Inc., the Las Vegas based division of one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of gaming devices, has announced an agreement with Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) to supply up to 1,000 video gaming machines at Harrah’s properties nationwide.

The Australian parent company of Aristocrat Technologies has had difficulty reorganizing since its chief executive officer and other company leaders departed early last year.

The deal with Harrah’s is one of the largest completed by Aristocrat since the new company leadership was established.

"This agreement with Harrah’s is very significant for Aristocrat," said Vagin Isaacs, president of Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.

"It allows us to expand our video slot games throughout Harrah’s widespread casino operations and provides us with the opportunity to supply games to a highly regarded casino operator known for providing innovative games and outstanding entertainment for the player."

Under the terms of the agreement, Aristocrat began installing the first order of games last month at Harrah’s and Rio in Las Vegas; Harveys in Lake Tahoe and Showboat in Atlantic City.

"The Aristocrat games already on our casino floors have proven to delight players," remarked John Boushy, Harrah’s senior vice president for operations, products and services. "If the Aristocrat games perform as well as we anticipate, we would expect them to maintain or enhance their position as one of our key suppliers of games on Harrah’s slot floors."

Condos for the Strip

A giant leap southward is being made by luxury apartment developer Turnberry Associates to join with its new partner, MGM MIRAGES Inc. (MGG) in the creation of the first condominium-hotel complex on the Las Vegas Strip.

The two companies plan to build six 40-story luxury condominium-hotel on land being contributed to the partnership by the 5,000-plus room MGM Grand. The project will be located on the northeast end of the MGM Grand’s 116-acre property.

"The MGM Grand project is a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with one of the country’s most recognized hotels," said Turnberry Principal Jeffrey Soffer. "We plan to draw on our expertise in the Las Vegas and condo-hotel markets to build one of the most desirable places in the world to live and vacation."

Since coming to Las Vegas, the Florida-based developer has built three high-rise condominiums on land bordering the former El Rancho Hotel/Casino in a community called Turnberry Place.

Recently, the partnership opened a sales and information office in MGM Grand’s Studio Walk. The office features a designer-furnished two-bedroom model residence.

"The opening of the sales center for The Residences at MGM Grand marks yet another significant milestone as we move forward on our plan to provide guests with the opportunity to own a piece of the Las Vegas experience," said John Redmond, president and chief executive officer of MGM Grand Resorts."

Groundbreaking for the first of the six towers will take place later this year.

Among the amenities to be offered will be a fitness center, concierge, fully staffed lobby, swimming pool and 24-hour security. The units will be priced from $350,000 to $1.5 million.

Digital deal

Looking to provide his patrons with cutting edge consumer electronics Steve Wynn has put together a deal with Gateway Inc. to provide Wynn Resort Inc. (WYNN) with the latest digital gear.

Gateway will supply approximately 7,000 customized Gateway-branded plasma and LCD television sets as well as hundreds of DVD players and other products to outfit the $2.1 billion hotel/casino’s 2,698 rooms that are scheduled to open in April, 2005.

According to a company announcement, Gateway and Wynn’s staff have been collaborating for months to customize products that "will best accommodate the rooms ”” each of which is slated to be equipped with between two and four Gateway digital television sets among other equipment.

Standard rooms are planned to include a 30-inch Gateway LCD TV on a sleek swinging arm in the living room and a 13-inch Gateway LCD TV mounted in the bathroom wall. Some of the suites, the announcement indicated, will have a 50-inch Gateway plasma screen that will appear to "float" in the living room.

Across the pond

Alliance Gaming Corp. (AGI) has reached out to the United Kingdom to acquire one of its largest distributors of gaming and amusement machines.

The company announced it has acquired Crown Gaming from Crown Leisure Limited and has formed Bally Gaming and Systems UK Limited to be headquartered in Manchester, England.

Bally Gaming and Systems previously purchased Honeyframe Software Development Limited and with its Crown Gaming acquisition now has the ability to directly offer a full range of both gaming and systems products to casino operators both now and in the future.

"Alliance Gaming continues to focus on building a foundation for the future growth project in the UK," said Robert Miodumski, president and CEO of Alliance Gaming. "We are now uniquely positioned to offer a complete package, both games and systems, to existing casino, bingo and arcade operators, along with operators who plan large Las Vegas-style casinos when new legislation is projected to open up the market."

Casino investment

If the Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin need advice or help in planning or operating a new casinos, they need only look eastward to Connecticut where the Mohegan Tribe runs one of the world’s most successful casinos.

Beyond that, the Mohegans have already sent the Menominees $1 million to help them get started and are prepared to invest more as the development matures.

The Menominee National has purchased an unsuccessful dog track in Kenosha, Wisc., about 50 miles from Chicago, Ill. Plans call for the construction of a Las Vegas-style casino that would attract patrons from a wide area.

However, owners of the Dairyland Greyhound Park say that even though they have agreed to sell the facility to the Indians, they will still pursue a lawsuit that claims the Wisconsin Constitution, as amended in 1993, outlaws casino gambling. The only gambling permitted, says the suit, are bingo, raffles, pari-mutuel on-track betting and the state-run lottery.

THE INSIDER: With the approaching season of earnings reports, four gaming companies have scheduled conference calls. The first will be Alliance Gaming Corp. whose conference call will be held at 10 a.m. (PST) on Thursday, Jan. 15. Next will be MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) that will report on Wednesday Jan. 28 at 8 a.m. (PST). The other companies chose Jan. 29 for their calls. They are: Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR) at 8 a.m. (PST), and Station Casinos Inc. (STN) at 9 a.m. (PST).

GTECH Holdings Corporation (GTK) has signed an agreement with the national lottery of Spain to replace 2,500 existing online terminals with new terminals. Also, the company announced it will pay a cash dividend of $0.17 per share on Jan. 30 to shareholders of record on Jan. 16.

Mikohn Gaming Corporation (MIKN) says it has provided an exclusive arrangement with Isle of Capri Casinos for its new Garfield video slot game.

A California court ruling has helped pave the way for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians to begin construction of a casino near Sacramento. The casino will be built and operated by Lakes Entertainment Inc. (LACO). Inc. (UBET) announced it had retired a $2 million note it had privately placed last February.

Midway Games Inc. (MWY) has named Steve Allison its new chief marketing officer, and Greg Mucha, director of channel marketing. Other appointees included Reilly Brennan, director of media relations; Brad Wildes, director of sales, and Paul Regional sales manager.

Developers of a casino site in D’Iberville, Miss., have been given environmental approval for the project.

Ventures LLC, operator of SunCruz VII out Myrtle Beach, S.C., has filed for bankruptcy and has placed the company’s assets, including a cruise ship, up for sale.

Isle of Capri Casino has begun site preparation for a new hotel tower at its casino in Biloxi, Miss.

Despite a lot of inclement weather, casinos in Atlantic City won $320.4 million during the month of December. That was 2.8% higher that a year earlier. Helping boost the amount was The Borgata that won $37.9 million during the period.

In Iowa, the gaming properties won a record $529 million over the past six months. This represented an increase of 9% over the previous year.