Regulators laud Herbst Boys

November 22, 2000 10:00 AM
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Members of the Herbst Family were lauded by the Nevada Gaming Commission Monday after receiving approval to operate Terrible’s Hotel and Casino at the intersection of Flamingo and Paradise roads, and to acquire the slots route from Jackpot Enterprises Inc. (J).

"This to me," said member Arthur Marshall, "is a great example of the American Dream."

And, Commission Chairman Brian Sandoval added, "You (The Herbst Family) should be applauded for the investment you are making in this community."

Participating in the venture, as E-T-T Inc. are Edward Herbst, president, director, and shareholder; Timothy Herbst, vice president, director and shareholder; and Troy Herbst, secretary, treasurer, director and shareholder.

They were granted approval to have non-restricted gaming; an off-track pari-mutuel race wagering book, and were licensed as managers, members or key employees.

The Herbst brothers indicated that there are 50 service stations with slot machines operating in the area and that they all will be linked into a progressive promotion.

The commission met on Monday because the usual meeting day, Thursday, will be Thanksgiving Day.

On the matter proposed by American Wagering Inc., which sought a one-time waiver of a condition in the order of registration to permit the company to receive $600,000 in payments from the Tijuana, Mexico-based Caliente company, as part of an on-going software license agreement, the commission was unanimous in its approval.

The company had explained that with the commission’s approval, it would receive four equal payments of $150,000 from the Mexican-based company that had originally received the software from Autotote Inc. (TTE). American Wagering Inc. received the agreement as part of its purchase of Autotote’s activities in Nevada.

During the hearing before the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Member Bobby Siller opposed the waiver, saying, in effect, that it would give the appearance of approval to the Caliente group, which is not licensed in Nevada.

In other action, the commission approved:

The sale of the Fiesta Hotel/Casino by the Maloof Family to Station Casinos Inc.;

A non-restricted gaming license to the Oscar Green and Tarra Green Jackson as operators of Ultra New Town Tavern;

Transfer of interest in Colony HCR Voteco LLC, owners of Harveys Casino Resorts, from Kelvin Davis, 60%, to Colony HCR Voteco LLC;

Application for a race book at New York-New York Hotel/Casino, operated by MGM MIRAGE;

Application by Alliance Gaming corp. (ALLY) to operate, as United Coin Machine Co., the slot machines at the Convention Center Drive Hotel & Casino.

European group backs AGA

The American Gaming Association’s Global Gaming Expo has received the endorsement of the European Gaming Organization, Europe’s only official and internationally recognized gaming association.

The Global Gaming Expo, known as G2E, will debut Oct. 1-3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Earlier this year, V2E received the support of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers.

"This European endorsement from EGO is an important step in bringing the industry worldwide together with a single goal in mind: to create a show that is by the industry and for the industry," said AGA President and CEO Frank Fahrenkopf.

"Whether you’re an operator or manufacturer, small or large, national or international, G2E will maximize the benefits for all those participants," he added.

Partnering with AGA in the Expo is Reed Exhibition Companies, a world leader in trade show management.

Solid month at Foxwoods

Foxwoods Resort Casino generated a slots win of $65.3 million during the month of October. This resulted in a payment to the state of Connecticut of $16.3 million.

The property, considered the most successful casino in the world, is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

"We had a solid month that essentially kept pace with the same period in 1999," said Bill Sherlock, the president and CEO of Foxwoods. "We had one less gaming weekend and that is significant in terms of business impact. Our overall level of play was good and we were busy. We had about $5 million growth in our slot handle, but our customers won and took home a greater percentage of our handle in October," he added.

Sherlock said the average win per unit per day was $360.42 compared to $360.23 a year ago.

Station acquires real estate

Hopes of Station Casinos Inc. (STN) to dispose of their two Missouri casinos moved forward last week with the announcement that the company had settled a lawsuit involving the real property underlying Station Casino Kansas City.

Owners of the Missouri property, First Holdings Company, had alleged that recent controversy involving Station Casinos and state regulators had amounted to a breach of contract and had sought to dissolve the partnership.

Following the settlement, the terms of which were not released, a spokesman for First Holdings said that all issues had been resolved.

Cherokees to expand

A 60,000-square-foot casino in the Great Smoky Mountains has become so successful that its owners, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, are planning to double its size.

Last week, North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt approved a plan by the Cherokees to increase the property’s size so that it will accommodate 5,000 slot machines.

"Right now, we have so many people that’s coming in, and we have to turn ‘em away because we don’t have any space," said a tribal spokesman.

The casino is managed by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET). It is located 180 miles northwest of Charlotte. Last year it drew 3.2 million visitors.

Big bucks on the line

Autotote Inc. (TTE) joined an English partnership that hopes to win the horseracing media rights in the United Kingdom. Their bid is for 750 million pounds, roughly $1.07 billion.

Known as the Go Racing joint venture, with partners Arena Leisure, satellite TV group known as British Sky Broadcasting, and Channel Four Television, the group is being opposed by Carlton Communications. Involved are the exclusive rights to television, Internet and interactive relationships with the Racecourse Association which represents 59 racecourses.

The winner is expected to be announced this week.

THE INSIDER: A development group is suing Park Place Entertainment Corp. (PPE) for $6.3 billion, charging that PPE got the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Nation to stop doing business with the group in favor of PPE. The group, which includes Catskill Development, Mohawk Management and the Monticello Raceway Development Company, said it spent four years on a plan to put a casino at Monticello Raceway for the Mohawks, but that the plan was scrapped because of PPE’s ability to induce the tribe to abandon the plan.

There is no legal gambling permitted in Hawaii, but a prominent state politician wants to end that. House Speaker Calvin Say foresees a serious problem within 10 years when a third of the state’s population become retirees. He would like casino gambling introduced so that the proceeds could be used to pay for "free long-term" care insurance for Hawaii’s elderly.

Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) has begun a cash tender offer for all of the $100 million of its 10½% senior subordinated notes due 2004 in Series B. Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Services has confirmed the company’s existing debt ratings.

Casinovations Inc. of Las Vegas says it has installed 160 Random Ejection Card Shufflers at the newly-opened Greektown Casino in Detroit.

Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) has declared an annual dividend of 50 cents a share to be paid on Jan. 19 to stockholders of record on Dec. 31.

Harveys Casino Resorts, working to acquire Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK), has announced the private offerings by its subsidiary, PHCasino Resorts, of $575 million of senior subordinated notes, and $100 million of senior exchangeable PIK Preferred Stock. The proceeds will be used in the acquisition.

The American Stock Exchange has halted trading in JCC Holding Co. (JAZZ), the owner of Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, because the company suggested it might seek a Chapter 11 filing. JAZZ finally traded before the halt at 3/16th a share.

Mandalay Resort Group (MBG) has set up a conference call to be held Tuesday, Nov. 21, at which time the company’s executives will discuss the financial report for the quarter ended on Oct. 31.

Shares in Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) had a quick flurry upward last week when the company was added to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Directors of the Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (ISLE) have approved the repurchase of 1.5 million shares of the company’s common stock.

Bill Schmitt, gaming analyst for CIBC World Markets, has reiterated his rating of a "strong buy" for the shares of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. He has set a 12-month price target of $33.