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March 2000
North America

31st March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release
   
Biometrica Systems a subsidiary of Nasdaq quoted Viisage Technology, announced on the 29th that including the Mirage in Las Vegas, they now have installed their 50th casino facial recognition system. The system is used by surveillance to identify known cheats and undesirables in the Casino Information Database that is part of the package. A distinct advantage is that it may also be used to spot VIP's on the Gaming floor who may also have gone unnoticed by Pit staff or management.
Viisage Technology and Biometrica Systems Achieves 50th Facial Recognition Installation at Mirage Resort, Las Vegas
 

31st March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    Shuffle Master have announced that their patented table game "Bahama Bonus" has been approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The game will now be competing directly with Caribbean Stud in the state. The company also announced three other new table games including 3 Way Action, also approved by the NGC. It is a combination of War, Blackjack and Seven Card Stud Poker played with the same hand.
 

30th March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    Casino Journal Publishing Group have announced 1999 results that show revenues up from just over $9 million in 1999 to $13.4 million in 1999. There were increases in each sector of the companies operations, advertising, subscriptions, trade shows and consulting. Titles in the CJPG group include for the gaming industry - Casino Journal, National Gaming Summary and Gaming Industry weekly. For the customer -Casino Player and Strictly Slots.
 

28th March  Baton Rouge  Source: AP/Yahoo News


   The trial of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards has heard testimony from the former San Francisco 49'ers owner Eddie DeBartelo Jr. DeBartelo testified that a day before the license for his Riverboat was unanimously approved he handed $400,000 in cash to Edwards at San Francisco airport.
    The Associated Press has detailed coverage of the story that centers around illegal payments made to the Governor and family to secure riverboat casino licenses in the state.
Yahoo Full Coverage - Edwin Edwards Trial
 

28th March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    The Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Bureau have released visitor numbers for January 2000 that show an increase of 7.2% to 2,795,788 compared to January 1999. Hotel and motel occupancy rates in the city being down 1.1% to  82.6%. This drop no doubt being as a result of increased capacity after the 4 recent new openings on the Strip.
 

28th March  Connecticut  Source: Press release


    Trump Hotels and Casinos have announced that they have entered into an agreement to develop and manage a casino on behalf of the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut. The deal is subject to the tribe getting federal recognition from the US Department of the Interior.
    There are presently two casinos in Connecticut, Foxwoods (Pequot Tribal Nation) and the Mohegan Sun, both pay 25% of slot revenues to the state. Foxwoods is the worlds largest casino with 6,000 slots and 350 table games. The smaller Mohegan Sun announced in February an $800 million expansion programme and averages a daily attendance of 18 to 20,000.
 

27th March  Detroit/Ontario  Source: Detroit Free Press


    Ontario's Casino Windsor has seen a 13% drop in revenues and a 9% drop in visitors for the last quarter of 1999. The fall follows the openings of the Detroit MGM Grand and the MotorCity Casino. Windsor presently averages a daily win of $1.4 million (down from $1.6 million), in a  market that has grown significantly and is presently worth some $4 million per day. Windsor's daily attendance is around 17,000.
    The Ontario Government owns 3 casinos, Windsor, Niagara & Rama. The average daily attendance for Niagara is 22,000.
New Detroit casinos hurt Windsor's take
Ontario Casino Corporation - Performance statistics
 

24th March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    Slot Manufacturer Casino Data Systems has been awarded a patent on its Automated Tournament Gaming System by the US Patents and Trademarks office. The system will allow for slots to be played in regular mode with a countdown to the slot tournament start. The advantage is that roped off areas whilst organisation is in progress, that presently results in considerable machine downtime will be reduced or eliminated.
 

23rd March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    Las Vegas based World Gaming Network that provides pre-screening checks for US gaming and hospitality companies has announced that it has added several new services to its portfolio. Among the new products on offer are International Criminal Record and All-County Criminal Record Searches. Employers may also make checks on SS Number, wanted persons, employment history, and the 20/20 criminal records database.
 

23rd March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    The acquisition by Harrah's Entertainment of Players International for $425 million has been completed. Following the deal Harrah's will have 21 casinos in 17 US different US markets. The two Players riverboats in Lake Charles, Louisiana and Metropolis, Illinois will be converted to the Harrah's brand. The Maryland Heights, Missouri operation will be incorporated into the companies existing St. Louis operation.

22nd March  Chicago  Source: Press release


    WMS Industries Inc. has announced that Brian R. Gamache will become President and Chief Operating Officer as well as Chief Operating Officer of the Company's gaming unit, WMS Gaming Inc. Effective April 10, Mr. Gamache will assume the Chief Operating Officer positions from Kevin L. Verner who has served as WMS' Vice President and Chief Operating Officer as well as Chief Operating Officer of WMS Gaming Inc.
WMS Industries Names Brian R. Gamache President and Chief Operating Officer
 

21st March  Atlantic City  Source: Press release


    Players International has announced that the Illinois Gaming Board has given the go ahead for the company to merge with Harrah's. Players operates riverboats in Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri.
    In December 1999 the Associated Press detailed that Players would have to pay at least a $7 million fine regarding payments made to former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards to help secure riverboat licenses in the state.

21st March  New Orleans  Source: Press release


    Jazz Casino Company LLC that owns the New Orleans casino has revealed that revenues for February were $20.4 million a 6% rise over January. The 100,000 square foot casino opened on October 28th and is managed by Harrah's and employs approximately 3,000 people. As part of the operating agreement a minimum payment of $100 million per annum is required to New Orleans parish.
 

20th March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    Gamma the Gaming Manufacturers Association has announced that following its AGM that operators as well as manufacturers will be represented on the Board. The organization exists to promote standardization of communication protocols for gaming equipment and has a total of 33 member companies. During the year GAMMA also plans to spend $200,000 on increasing the scope of research and development projects.
 

14th March  New Jersey  Source: Press release


    Visionics Corp. and Griffin Investigations have jointly announced that four top casino resorts including the Mirage and Bellagio have begun using their facial recognition technology to identify casino cheats and card counters.
    The Griffin Gold (Griffin On-line Database) system utilises constantly updated information from over 30 years of world-wide intelligence & information on known cheats and their associates. Used in conjunction with the Visionics' FaceIt® facial recognition software engine, live pictures can be relayed via the Internet to a remote location for immediate identification of suspects listed in the database.
 

14th March  Richmond.BC  Source: Press release


    Great Canadian Gaming have announced that Peter Clark has been appointed Executive Director of the Casino Management Council of British Columbia. The council oversees community casinos that have been operating since the early 1980's. The beneficiaries are charities municipalities and the Province of B.C.
   Presently the casinos employ over 3,500 people and are expected to generate C$235 during the fiscal year 1999/2000. GCG operate 7 of the 16 member casinos in the Province.
 

12th March  Las Vegas  Source: AP/Canadian Press


    Some background on the MGM-Mirage deal. The Associated Press reports the initial $17 per share offer for Mirage was followed up by Kirk Kirkorian personally visiting Steve Wynn at the Bellagio and offering $19. Wynn replied with $21 and the total $6.4 billion deal was virtually concluded. The official announcement being made on Monday 6th.
   Analysts including Jason Ader from Bear Stearns are also predicting more mergers in the US gaming market. Harvey's Casino Resorts last week also making a $25 per share bid for Pinnacle, the former Hollywood Park.
Analysts say more U.S. casino mergers on the way as the big get bigger
 

11th March  Ottawa  Source: Canadian Press


    The surge in the popularity of casino gambling in Canada is confirmed with figures released from Statistics Canada. During 1998 casinos contributed 38% of the total gambling revenue. Lotteries stood at 35% and Video terminals 28%.  In 1992 lotteries accounted for 90% and casinos just 1%. Gamblers in British Columbia parting with an average of A$445 per adult during the year.
Casinos have outstripped lotteries
 

9th March  Los Angeles  Source: Press release


    The funding for the $21 per share MGM Grand offer for Mirage Resorts will be provided by Bank of America. B of A have allotted $4 billion for the payment to Mirage shareholders and as agent for both companies had provided a letter of commitment in support of the merger.
 

8th March  California  Source: Press release


    Hot on the heels of the MGM Grand bid for Mirage Resorts comes an offer from privately owned Harveys Casino Resorts for Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.(formerly known as Hollywood Park Inc.). The bid at a healthy $25 per share has forced the company to postpone its annual Shareholder meeting to give the offer time for consideration.
   Pinnacle operates 8 casino properties in the US and two in Argentina that trade under the Casino Magic name.
 

7th March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    Innovative Gaming Corp. based in Reno that develops and manufactures multi player electronic table games, has announced sales to Native Indian casinos in Arizona. Machines on order including the fully trademarked BJ Blitz, Hotshot Dice and Lightening Strike Roulette. Following negotiations with the state the games were classed as one gaming device. Casinos will be allowed to devote up to 2.5% of total gaming floor to the machines.
 

7th March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


    Mikohn Gaming has revealed profits for the year ended December 31st of $3.7 million on turnover of $107 million. The company now has 400 of its Yahtzee branded video slots installed and total contracts for 1,000.
    In 1999 the company had previously released two spinning reel slots based on the popular dice game. The TableLink table game management system has so far had installations at two major operators. On the table games side, also in the Mikohn portfolio are the Monopoly Poker Edition and Yahtzee table game both under excusive contract from Hasbro Inc.
 

6th March  Las Vegas  Source: Press release


Mirage and MGM Grand announce largest casino merger ever.
  An upped bid of $21 per share from the original $17 made by MGM Grand for Mirage Resorts has been approved by both companies Board of Directors. The deal values Mirage at $6.4 billion, broken down as $4.4 billion equity and the payment of some $2 billion in outstanding Mirage Resorts debt.
   The closing of the acquisition will be dependent on the approval of Mirage shareholders and also from gaming and state regulators. MGM will subsequently have outright control of 5 of the Las Vegas Strip's most desirable and profitable properties.
    In a financial release from Mirage Resorts in mid February the company showed gross revenues of $2,650 million during 1999 (not including results from the 50% owned Monte Carlo). This translates to an average daily win of $7.25 million. The Bellagio is the star performer in the group and during the year had an average daily win of $3 million. It was followed by the now 10 year old Mirage that still chips in $1.75 million.

* The previous highest value deal and another that saw a large consolidation of the ownership of Las Vegas casinos and hotels was the puchase of Caesars Palace and Caesars World by Park Place Entertainments from Starwood Hotels in during 1999 for some $3 billion.
 

3rd March  New Jersey  Source: Press release


    Gaming Laboratories International has announced that Christine Gallo has been promoted to Director of Quality Assurance. GLI presently has four testing facilities 2 in the US, Holland and Australia with plans also for South Africa. The company presently provides more than 30,000 certifications per year and employs approximately 120 people world-wide.
Gaming Laboratories International, Inc. (GLI) announces the promotion of Christine Gallo to Director of Quality Assurance
 

2nd March  Paradise Island  Source: Press release


    The proposed acquisition of the Desert Inn by Sun International has been terminated by mutual agreement with owners Starwood Hotels. The former home of Howard Hughes at the north end of the Strip was originally going to be bought by SI for $275 million. The two companies have agreed to share any surplus or shortfall on that price 50/50 when the property is eventually sold. SI being liable to a maximum of $15 million should the price be on the low side.
 

2nd March  Texas  Source: Press release


    Las Vegas based Viva Gaming & Resorts has received the go ahead to place an 860 slot and 50 table day ship at the Port of Corpus Christi.
   The company will be initially planning 2 six hour cruises daily and hoping for passenger numbers of 1,500. The project is expected to create 350 to 500 full time jobs.
 

2nd March  California  Source: Press release


    Global Cash Access, formed in 1998 as a joint venture between Bank of America and First Data Corp has announced  9 further contracts for its financial transaction software and casino based ATM machines. Included in the list are Foxwoods, Gold Strike in Tunica and the Eldorado Hotel and casino in Reno. The company operates cash access services in more than 1,200 gaming locations in the US.