All articles by Cornelius Gatt

Profit soars 50%

Profit at MGM MIRAGE more than doubled in the first quarter as the improving economy and special events including Chinese New Year and the Super Bowl boosted results at the company’s resorts in Las Vegas, the company reported today.

Company officials said they still don’t know what caused two of the Bellagio Casino’s main power cables to fail April 11, which led to a blackout at the casino resort for more than three days. Mirage Casino Resorts Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Bobby Baldwin said the resort continues to investigate the cause of the failure. The company’s emergency systems “worked flawlessly” during the incident, however, he said.

MGM MIRAGE CASINO previously said the blackout could cost the company about 2 to 3 cents per share in the second quarter and today said it would shave about 1 cent per share from earnings after it recovers from its insurers.

Meanwhile, construction is continuing on a roughly 930-room hotel tower adjacent to the Bellagio Casino that is due to open by mid-December, officials said.…

Online gambler bets on Israeli software

Gaming Corporation, the online casinos group which owns the website, is in talks to buy an Israeli software house that would give it the technology to launch a wide variety of new interactive casino games.

According to industry gossip, the UK tiddler has put in an offer in the hope of sealing a deal that would allow it to offer new poker games and diversify its product offering, which currently relies on software the company has licensed from Sweden’s Boss Media. These internet casino gamers really can tell the difference, apparently.

Gaming has L500,000 of cash in the bank, but any takeover would probably be funded, in the main, with new equity.

The software expansion plans come after Gaming announced, last week, that it was launching a whole range of new websites, with themed casinos linked to sporting events such as the World Cup and Formula 1 racing. Justin Drummond, the chief executive, said: “Our business model has a fixed cost base and as such future growth will be driven by our ability to recruit next casino players with innovative new products.”…

Slots Opponent says:

“We should be saddling horses, not taxpayers,” said Martin Cothran, spokesman for Say No To Casinos. Cothran charged that taxpayers were being saddled with over a billion in debt to bail out wealthy horse racing tracks.

“At a time when many Kentucky taxpayers are struggling to pay their mortgages, state lawmakers in the House just voted to saddle taxpayers with the biggest mortgage since 1990 to bail out wealthy horse tracks, some of which pay their top executives millions of dollars in wages and benefits. There is no guarantee that we can pay this back.”

“State lawmakers just foreclosed on common sense,” said Cothran. “Unless the Senate stops this, financial irresponsibility will be Kentucky’s signature industry.”

The comments came after the House approved slots legislation with just 1 vote over the needed 51 votes – 52 to 45.…

Texas Casino Slots

AUSTIN, Texas –Allowing video slots gambling at horse and dog racing tracks would create rural jobs and boost Texas’ position in the national horse racing scene, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs testified Monday.

Both Rep. Ron Wilson, D-Houston, and Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, laid out separate proposals to a House education committee that would allow the state to tax video gambling at horse and dog tracks to help pay for public education. Republican Gov. Rick Perry detailed a similar proposal as part of larger package earlier this month.

Lawmakers, called back into session last week by Perry, are looking for ways to replace decreased property taxes in the state’s public education budget.

While some have argued that video gambling is not a stable source of revenue, Combs told the committee that the proposal would be a huge economic boon to the state’s equine industry.…