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Another windfall for L.V.’s Scott if Maine license granted

Oct 12, 2004 5:57 AM

No one expected that Las Vegas investor entrepreneur Shawn Scott would financially equal in Maine the score he made in Louisiana where he bought Delta Downs for $10 million and later sold it to Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) for $130 million.

But, now that the numbers have been reported, it appears that he is on the road to a substantial score with the sale of Bangor Raceway in Bangor, Maine.

According to records, Scott bought the defunct trotting track for about $1.05 million in December 2002. He then went to work on getting the Maine electorate to approve installing slot machines at the historic track. During that effort, he reportedly spent $149,000 on the local election and another $1.5 million on a statewide campaign.

Scott then sold the track to Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) for what was revealed last week as $51 million.

True, the money hasn’t been paid as yet. It is contingent on the Maine Harness Racing Commission and the Maine State Police completing their investigations and eventually granting a racing license to Penn National. Following that regulatory procedure, Penn National will petition the Gambling Control Board for an operator’s license.

If all goes well, as expected, since Penn National is a reputable gaming company with racing and gaming licenses in several jurisdictions, the company has said it will spend $74 million to build the Bangor racino.

"We think it’s a good investment for the company," said Eric Shippers, Penn National’s spokesman. "We think that Maine represents an excellent opportunity," he added.

So does Scott.

Detroit decision

It appeared obvious following the announcement that MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) would acquire Mandalay Resort Group (MBG) that as part of the acquisition the parent would sell off MotorCity Casino in Detroit, Mich.

Michigan law prohibits one company holding more than one casino license in Detroit and MGM MIRAGE already has a casino in that city.

In fact, Terry Lanni, MGM Mirage’s chairman and CEO was quoted as saying as much during last week’s Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center. However, the company’s spokesman, Alan Feldman, agreed that, "we have to sell one of them," but added that "we haven’t made a decision because we’re not in a position to."

He was referring to the fact that the merger requires a number of regulatory approvals all of which are still forthcoming.

President Casino

There’ll be no bidding contest for the St. Louis, Mo., riverboat casino owned by bankrupt President Casinos Inc. (PREZ).

Columbia Sussex, a privately held company, last week offered $57 million for the riverboat that only has a five-year life span remaining.

The bid easily topped two competing bids, including Penn National’s $28 million offer.

Group bargaining

When the ongoing strike of Atlantic City casinos began last week, each casino company appeared to be bargaining individually. This resulted in contracts being signed by the three Trump casinos and the Sands Hotel/Casino.

That ended over the weekend when it was announced that the owners of the affected casinos had formed a bargaining group to negotiate a contract. These were the casinos owned by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET), Caesars Entertainment Inc., and Colony Capital.

Not affected by the work stoppage called by the hotel and restaurant union was the Borgata Hotel/Casino that negotiated a contract that doesn’t expire until 2007.

Negotiators say the main issues are outsourcing food outlets, health insurance payments and the length of the contract with the hotels favoring five years and the union wanting a three-year contract.

Viacom meeting

Efforts by Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone to have the company buy out his majority interest in Midway Games Inc. (MWY) haven’t succeeded, as yet, but there may be more clarity on Wednesday when Midway’s CEO David Zucker meets with the board of directors of Viacom.

There were no comments from either side when the meeting was announced but it was generally believed that Zucker planned to discuss what has been described as a long-term strategy for Viacom in the growing video game industry.

One problem has been Midway’s inability to show a profit. The company has reported losses for the past 18 quarters.

Lottery purchase

Officials of Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) announced they purchased all of the outstanding shares of Printpool Honsel GmbH, a German company that is the supplier of instant tickets to all of the 16 lotteries currently operating in that country.

The purchase price and other details relative to the acquisition were not disclosed.

As part of the transaction, Jan and Klaus Honsel, the principal shareholders and managing directors of the company, will enter into employment agreements so that they remain with the German company after the closing.

Patent lawsuit

Shuffle Master Inc. (SHFL) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against VendingData Corporation’s new PokerOne card shuffler. The suit alleges that the use, importation and offering for sale of the PokerOne shuffler infringed on Shuffle Master’s intellectual property.

The company said it had filed patent infringement lawsuits against VendingData two years ago. At that time, Shuffle Master charged that VendingData violated two of its patents with its Random Ejection shuffler. That suit is being aggressively pursued, the company said.

"Now that VendingData has chosen to market its PokerOne shuffler in the United States," Shuffle Master CEO Mark Yoseloff said, "we have brought this new lawsuit against VendingData. Shuffle Master will continue to protect and preserve its patent rights against anyone who infringes or violates those rights."

Earnings reports

Now that the fiscal third quarter is over, some of the major companies have scheduled conference calls to report their earnings.

Among these are:

Station Casinos Inc. (STN) on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 9 a.m. PDT.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 6 a.m. PDT.

Aztar Corporation (AZR) on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at l:30 p.m. PDT.

Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR) on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 8 a.m. PDT.

Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 6 a.m. PDT.

Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 7 a.m. PST

Mikohn Gaming Corporation (MIKN) on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 8 a.m. PST.

THE INSIDER: Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (ISLE) says it will replace its Biloxi, Miss., casino with a new $90 million state-of-the-art casino.

Midway Games Inc. (MWY) has acquired the privately held Inevitable Entertainment Inc. for 218,421 Midway common shares.

The Lower Lake Rancheria Koi Nation has made public plans to build a casino near the Oakland International Airport in California.

Jeffrey Logsdon, a gaming analyst for Nesbitt Burns, has raised his stock price target for Station Casinos Inc. (STN) from $51 to $62 per share.

A federal judge has blocked plans by the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma to reopen a Downtown Kansas City, Kan., casino that was shut down earlier this year by state authorities.

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma has purchased 150 acres of land off Interstate 75 in Monroe, Ohio, that they hope to utilize for a casino after negotiating a state gaming compact.