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Gaming Briefs

Apr 20, 2004 6:23 AM

Venetian mulls public offering

Las Vegas Sands, Inc., which owns the posh Venetian resort in Las Vegas, may make an initial public stock offering, late this year or early next year, according to company officials.

"The markets are extraordinarily friendly right now toward casino operators like ourselves," said William Weidner, president and CEO of Sands Inc. "And we would look to try and take advantage of that."

Although no further details on a possible public offering were released, Las Vegas Sands is betting on a spike in earnings from its Macau casino, which is scheduled to open next month.

"Vegas is a mature market with single-digit growth, whereas Macau grew more than 25 percent last year," Weidner said. "I expect it to surpass Vegas in the next two to three years."

Weidner added that he expected the $260 million Sands Macau casino to add to the company’s earnings from "day one," and forecasted a return of more than 30 percent on the company’s investment.

Macau, with $4.2 billion in gambling revenue last year, is a former Portuguese territory on the south China coast.

Hard Rock to hold celebrity poker tourney

Does poker madness ever end? Apparently not, as the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas announced a Celebrity Poker Tournament, scheduled for May 14.

Designed unlike "standard" poker tourneys, the Hard Rock event will feature Tips and Tells, which will give amateurs and celebrities alike the ability to learn insider tips to level the playing field.

The tournament is open to the public but closed to poker professionals. The buy-in is $500, and players will compete for a top award of $50,000.

Harrah’s employees search for treasure

Twenty-three Harrah’s employees will be roaming the desert outside of Las Vegas in SUVs on Tuesday in search of $15,750 in prize money.

The Employee’s Treasure Hunt serves as a prelude to Harrah’s May 4 Treasure Hunt, in which a lucky Harrah’s customer will uncover a grand prize of $1 million.

But this week, employees will head to a "base camp" about 40 miles out of town, then follow maps that will hopefully lead to treasure chests. Each chest will contain at least $250 in prize money, with one chest containing $5,000.

"By giving our employees a chance to experience the same level of excitement we offer our guests, we create not only successful marketing programs, but a truly great place to work," said Ginny Shanks, Harrah’s senior vice president of acquisition marketing.

MGM Mirage to report diversity results

MGM Mirage on Tuesday will report the 2003 results of the company’s Diversity Initiative regarding advancements in the areas of employment, purchasing, marketing, sales, construction and philanthropy.

Also on Tuesday, the company will host a Supplier Diversity Expo aimed at providing suppliers and vendors the chance to showcase their products and services to MGM Mirage’s purchasing professionals.

The company’s diversity program (gaming industry’s first such program) was launched in 2000, and this marks the third time MGM Mirage will report on its efforts. It is committed to providing opportunities for minorities, women and disadvantaged businesses in the areas of employment, purchasing and construction.

The program must be working as MGM Mirage was named in 2003 by Fortune magazine as one of the "50 Best Companies for Minorities."