PH top bidder for Atlantic City Trop

Apr 22, 2008 7:00 PM

Gaming Insider by Phil Hevener | Planet Hollywood appears to be the top bidder for the Atlantic City Tropicana with an offer of about a billion dollars, according to sources in a good position to see what’s happening at the troubled resort.

There are believed to be three other bidders – Colony Capital and the Maryland-based Cordish Company that developed the Hard Rock casinos for the Seminoles. The fourth apparent bidder is New York developer Joseph Palladino, about whom little is known.

The state-appointed conservator in charge of handling the Tropicana sale has said he hopes to have a purchase agreement within a month, but transactions such as this have a way of taking sudden, unexpected turns.

Planet Hollywood has hung its marquee at the former Aladdin on the Las Vegas Strip. As the Aladdin, the hotel and casino had a contentious relationship with regulators who kicked out the owners in 1979, ordered the place sold and finally closed it in 1980 for a number of months as it became apparent the owners were not making a good faith effort to find a buyer.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission decided late last year that Columbia Sussex, the owner of the Las Vegas and Atlantic City Tropicanas had violated its mandates. The Commission jerked the Sussex license in Atlantic City and put a conservator in charge.

Nevada authorities said they would consider possible action here against Sussex, but appear to be delaying action, possibly waiting to see how the situation plays out in Atlantic City.

Wireless set for
The Venetian 

Gaming technology is taking a sharp turn toward a new era on at least two levels in terms of what will probably soon be coming to a casino floor near you.

We’ve got the first test of wireless wagering expected to begin this week at the Venetian and server-based slots on tap at MGM’s CityCenter.

As UBS analyst Robin Farley notes, the agreement that will have IGT sending the first big shipment of server based games to the new CityCenter casino by late 2009 gives the industry an "arrival date" for the start of a replacement cycle based on technological advancements (see page one story).

We first noted the CityCenter agreement a couple weeks ago, just as we are now the first to report the long awaited start of testing at the Venetian for Cantor Fitzgerald’s wireless wagering system.

Sources familiar with the Venetian tests who asked for anonymity since they are not authorized to release such news, say the wireless devices will be tested with a basic assortment of games that include blackjack, roulette and video poker.

The Fitzgerald device is out of the Gaming Control Board lab months later than expected, but, hey, this is a new creation, as far as the gaming industry is concerned, and the Board’s technicians were not about to let it go until they were comfortable with everything.