American Wagering moves to
resolve eight-year litigation

Sep 14, 2004 5:52 AM

A dispute that has been in litigation for more than eight years between American Wagering Inc (BETMQ) and M. Racusin & Co. appears to be on the road toward settlement.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, American Wagering said that an agreement has been negotiated that will provide one of four final settlements to the lawsuit that Michael Racusin brought against the company claiming monies due for his involvement in the company’s initial public offering.

A court judgment in Racusin’s favor for $1,328,764.14 was rendered on June 20, 2003. That judgment is being appealed by both Racusin and American Wagering. These appeals will result in one of the following resolutions, the company said in its filing:

l. Racusin wins the 9th Circuit Appeal and wins the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel appeal. In this event, Racusin will receive the lesser of the amount awarded by the 9th Circuit or $2.8 million.

2. Racusin loses both of these appeals. In this event, Racusin will receive $1.3 million.

3. Racusin wins the 9th Circuit Appeal but loses the APL appeal. Then, Racusin will receive 250,000 shares of BETM’s common stock.

4. Racusin loses both appeals, he then will receive 200,000 shares of the company’s common stock.

At the conclusion of the appeals, regardless of outcome, Racusin has agreed to support the company’s Restated Amended Bankruptcy Plan. The company has agreed that Racusin will be employed by a subsidiary of BETM in order to provide consulting services to that subsidiary company at a salary of $7,000 per month.

A.C. strike?

This year’s contestants in the Miss America Pageant may be biting their nails wondering whether this year’s renewal, scheduled for Saturday night, will be held in light of the possibility of a strike affecting all Atlantic City casinos except the Borgata.

Negotiations continued on Monday between leaders of the Local 54, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union and representatives of the various casinos. The Borgata, the hotel destination resort owned jointly by Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD) and MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) that opened 14 months ago, has a contract that lasts until 2007.

Last week, members of the union, representing 17,000 workers, voted overwhelming to strike at midnight Wednesday if negotiations are unsuccessful. Outsourcing of food and beverage to subcontractors and health coverage costs reportedly are two of the items involved in the negotiations.

Should union leaders detect some improvement in the talks, they have indicated they would not rule out signing a short-term contract extension.

Opposition grows

A growing list of opponents to a proposed Indian casino in Anthony, New Mexico, has appealed to Interior Secretary Gale Norton to reject the plan that they believe would set a "horrible precedent that would cause irreparable damage to New Mexico."

The opposition includes House and Senate members from both sides of the aisle.

The plan to build a casino near Sunland Racetrack and Casino was filed by the Jemez Pueblo Indians and Santa Fe Businessman Gerald Peters.

Reno casino sold

A father-son partnership from New Jersey has bought Fitzgeralds Casino-Hotel in Downtown Reno for $9.9 million. The property has been available for sale since its owner, Fitzgerald Gaming Corp. filed for bankruptcy.

The new owners were identified as Wolf Lichten, 60, and his son, David, 39, both employees of the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City.

The sale is subject to the approval of both Nevada gaming regulators and the bankruptcy court.

First anniversary

Casino Fandango, a privately owned casino in Carson City, Nev., has become one of the leaders of the smaller gaming properties in Northern Nevada and recently celebrated its first anniversary.

Operated by Larry Woolf’s Navegante Group, the organization that set Casino Niagara in Ontario, Canada, on the road to success, Casino Fandango features 600 gaming machines, a race and sports book, a poker room, a buffet, a 24-hour grill, and a New York Deli.

All of its slot machines are ticket-in, ticket-out and offers a variety of choices relative to denominations. The property expects to soon open a "Volcano Slots" to join its current "Storm Slots" attraction.

Others joining with Larry Woolf in the operation are Garry Goett, Peter Wilday, and General Manager Steve Forester.

Blackjack course

Two of the country’s best-known gambling authors will be in Las Vegas on Sept. 25 and 26 introducing a new approach to playing blackjack called Gold Touch Blackjack.

Henry Tamburin and Frank Scoblete say they are teaching players to apply "Speed Count" to their play. "Speed Count" was developed by blackjack software developer Dan Pronovost and it represents what the authors describe as "a breakthrough in allowing average players to learn in just two days a simple card assessment method that will give them the mathematical edge over the casinos when they play blackjack."

Says Tamburin, "Speed Count is not a card counting system in the traditional sense."

The system has been taught in Atlantic City, Chicago, and the Memphis, Tenn., Tunica, Miss., area.

Further information is available from Tamburin, a Henderson, Nev., resident, at 1-866-WIN-BJ21.

THE INSIDER: Shuffle Master Inc. has appointed Richard Baldwin as its new chief financial officer. Baldwin, who leaves his post with International Game Technology (IGT), will fill the position formerly held by Gerald Koslow.

MTR Gaming Inc. (MTNG) has agreed to purchase a 90% interest in Jackson Trotting Association, the company that operates Jackson Harness Raceway in Jackson, Mich.

A proposal to amend the Michigan state constitution will appear on the November ballot. The amendment would require voter approval of any form of gambling authorized by law and certain new state lottery games with the exception of Indian casinos and the three Detroit casinos.

Golden Gaming Inc., the company formed by Blake Sartini to operate three-dozen taverns and a 2,000-machine slot route in Nevada, has agreed to acquire Golden Gates Casino and Golden Gulch Casino in Black Hawk, Colo.

Nevada Gold & Casinos Inc. (UWN) has expanded its stock repurchase program for an additional 100,000 shares.