Las Vegas gaming giant MGM Mirage is contemplating a wholly owned casino hotel that would be smaller than almost all other casino hotels in Atlantic City, according to a disputed Wall Street report.
“The company has indicated a preference for initially developing an 800-room hotel tower along with the casino (phase I), then later determining whether the market could support another 800-room tower (phase II),” Salomon Smith Barney analyst Michael Rietbrock reported to his clients after meeting Wednesday with company Chairman and CEO Terry Lanni.
If true, such a project would deflate widespread assumptions that MGM Mirage will develop something closer in size to the 2,010-room Borgata, which it and joint-venture partner Boyd Gaming Corp. are building in the Marina District.
“I don’t know where those numbers are coming from. … That’s not right,” John Redmond, CEO of the company’s MGM Grand Resorts division, said after being told of the Salomon report.
“We haven’t made that decision yet,” Redmond said, referring to the hotel size.
Rietbrock said he understood MGM Mirage officials to say 800 rooms, but said he wouldn’t argue the point.
Based on Atlantic City gaming projects now, or soon to be, under construction, 800 rooms would be smaller than all casino hotels except Claridge, Sands and Trump Marina.
“We would not be surprised to see MGM Mirage sell its third parcel at Renaissance Pointe (Marina District) to a company willing to quickly develop a third casino, further increasing the appeal of the Marina relative to the Boardwalk,” Rietbrock reported.
Borgata jumps gun
in latest ad on AOL
The countdown to the Borgata opening has begun.
Or has it?
Ads on America Online read, “Borgata Pre Grand Opening Specials beginning Dec. 1.” The ad offers no more details, but advises AOL members to add the event to their personal online calendar.
Borgata, a $1 billion casino hotel being built in the Marina District, is scheduled to open in summer 2003.
“AOL ran that prematurely. It’s something we were not planning on doing until later this year or the first part of next year,” said Rob Stillwell, spokesman for Boyd Gaming Corp., which co-owns Borgata with MGM Mirage.
Borgata restated the ad after being apprised of it, Stillwell said. Borgata began advertising on AOL three years ago.
GEM to organize first
N.Y. Gaming Summit
In a sign of the times, a major organizer of gaming conferences next month will stage the first New York Gaming Summit. The event is scheduled for April 8-9 in Albany.
A host of gaming executives, Wall Street analysts, lawyers and tribal leaders will address topics such as the impact of proposed casinos and racetrack slots on Atlantic City and Connecticut, the future of Indian gaming in New York, and regulating the new casinos.
The event is organized by Casino Journal publisher GEM Communications, which puts on the American Gaming Summit and Southern Gaming Summit.
Adviser to UBS Warburg
added to Harrah’s board
Harrah’s Entertainment appointed Barbara Alexander, a senior adviser to UBS Warburg, to its 12-person board of directors. She has an extensive experience in investment banking and was once the country’s top-ranked housing analyst.
Pending regulatory approvals, Alexander would be one of 10 outside directors on the Harrah’s board. She and retired Albertsons Inc. Chairman Gary Michael, who was appointed in November, fill the vacancies created by the resignations of Colin Reed and Kell Houssels.
3 A.C. casino figures
make Forbes’ richest list
Three Atlantic City casino figures cracked the 2002 Forbes World’s Richest People list, which ranks the top 500 in net worth. They are:
 Kirk Kerkorian, majority owner of Borgata co-developer MGM Mirage, who ranks 44th with a net worth of $5.8 billion.
 Carl Icahn, majority owner of Sands Casino Hotel, who ranks 55th with a net worth of $5 billion.
 Donald Trump, chairman and CEO of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc., who ranks 234th with a net worth of $1.8 billion.
Donald Snyder, president of Boyd Gaming Corp., exercised options on 95,000 shares and sold 70,000 for $718,000.
Robert Boughner, chief operating officer of Boyd Gaming and CEO of the company’s Borgata joint venture, sold 80,000 shares for $750,006.
William R. Boyd, a Boyd Gaming vice president and director, sold 17,500 shares for $180,250.
Brian Larson, Boyd Gaming secretary, sold 10,000 shares for $95,943.
Daniel Wade, MGM Mirage vice chairman, sold 397,200 shares for $13.4 million.
Marilyn Winn, a Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. senior vice president, sold 20,000 shares for $792,000.
Online Casino Singapore Gaming elsewhere
 FLORIDA: A House committee passed a bill to allow slot machines at the state’s 31 tracks and jai alai frontons, the Miami Herald reported.
 INDIANA: The House passed a bill that would legalize dockside gambling at the state’s 10 riverboat casinos, allow the Lake Michigan riverboat casinos to be converted to barges and allow pull-tab slots at racetracks, the Indianapolis Star reported.
 KENTUCKY: A legislator introduced a bill that would allow the state’s eight existing racetracks to operate an undetermined number of slot machines, the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reported.
 MAINE: The Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes proposed building a $500 million casino resort in Kittery, the Bangor News reported. Gov. Angus King opposes the idea.
 MASSACHUSETTS: House Speaker Thomas Finneran said he would not support an Indian casino proposed by the Wampanoag tribe because it would hurt state lottery revenue, the Boston Globe reported.
 NEW YORK: Racetrack operators told the Lottery Division they need more than the legislated 12.5 percent cut of revenue from proposed slot machines if they’re going to be profitable, the Albany Times Union reported.
 WEST VIRGINIA: The Lottery Commission allowed Charles Town Races to add 1,500 slot machines, giving the track a total of 3,500, owner Penn National Gaming announced.
Quote of the week
“It’s a project that is timely and necessary for this property and, frankly, is timely and necessary for the city. It’s in the interest of Atlantic City to promote economic development.”
Hersh Kozlov, lawyer for Resorts Atlantic City, urging the Casino Control Commission to temporarily allow the casino to operate with fewer than the required 500 hotel rooms so it can add a 459-room hotel tower; commissioners approved the plan.