Issue 186
April 5 - 11, 2004
Volume 4
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News
Sam's Town Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Trophy Life of Donald Trump

Caesars Contributes $60,000 for Tutoring Program

Odds on the move

$1 billion complex will be largest gambling attraction in Canada

 

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Paul Anka, one of the most successful songwriters in history, performs at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

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Surfin' the Slots with Frankie and Annette By Pam Droog

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Sam's Town Celebrates 25th Anniversary
As reported by the Las Vegas Gaming Wire

LAS VEGAS -- The locals market in Las Vegas is so hot today, it's sometimes hard to remember the pioneers who got that segment of the gaming industry started.

When it opened a quarter of a century ago, Sam's Town was a pioneer out on what was then the dusty edge of Las Vegas but on the cutting edge of the gaming industry.

"The idea of a locals casino off-Strip unassociated with downtown Las Vegas or Henderson was a gargantuan leap at the time," University of Nevada, Las Vegas History Department Chairman Hal Rothman said. "Others said it was an idea whose time had not come, but they were all proved wrong."

Boyd Gaming Corp. Chairman Bill Boyd said the Boulder Strip landmark was built on 13 acres of desert out in the middle of nowhere, the intersection of Boulder Highway and Nellis Boulevard, when it opened and his friends asked if he'd lost his marbles.

But Boyd said Sam's Town was well received by residents who lived in the area from its opening day, very much unlike the opening of some locals casinos today which often draw protests and demonstrations.

With its hotel complex on top of the casino and other attractions, Boyd said Sam's Town has also always succeeded in drawing drive-in visitors, especially from California, many of whom return year after year.

While the spirit has stayed the same, the technology and amenities have changed with the times.

Rothman said Sam's Town and its owner, Boyd Gaming Corp., have made innovation their creed in the intervening 25 years, and helped define the locals gaming market.

Sam's Town, the dream of the father-and-son team of Sam and Bill Boyd that founded Boyd Gaming, opened at a time when hotels just were not being built, especially out in the desert, he said.

"Their innovation, then and now, is understanding the changing market. (Sam's Town is not) for a downscale gamblers market, but a premier place featuring country music, NASCAR culture and down-home friendliness.

They're pioneered in a lot of ways, and that is an indication of the vision of the owners, top managers and staff," Rothman said.

Sam Boyd, a bingo operator in California and Hawaii, came to Las Vegas in 1941 and worked his way from dealer to investor in Nevada casinos, eventually purchasing shares in the Sahara and the Mint.

He invested in the Plaza downtown. He built the California Hotel downtown and the Eldorado in Henderson. But Sam and his son, Bill, who spent 15 years as a Las Vegas attorney, wanted a second property to bear their family name, revolutionize the industry and create a third major gaming area on the Boulder Strip.

The result was Sam's Town, which today has more than 3,000 slot and video games, more than 70 table games, a race and sports book with 60 big screen televisions and daily bingo in an 111,641-square-foot casino.

Its hotel has 650 rooms and suites, each decorated in a 19th century, Southwestern theme, 1,000 valet parking spaces, and three self-park garages with more than 2,500 parking spaces.

The hotel-casino features Sam's Town Live, a 1,100-seat theater, Century 18 Sam's Town movie multiplex, Roxy's Lounge, a 56-lane bowling alley and an amusement arcade.

Boyd Gaming completed an $86 million, 200,000-square-foot expansion and casino remodeling in 2000.


The Trophy Life of Donald Trump
As reported by Fortune

NEW YORK -- How much is Donald Trump really worth? The answer is impossible to know - and it doesn't matter, reports FORTUNE. In a FORTUNE cover story, senior editor Dan Roth spent several weeks with Trump for an inside look at the man and empire behind The Apprentice. What he finds is a crumbing casino business where Trump's stake, and role, could soon diminish, and enough self-promotion to make the truth about his net worth nearly irrelevant. Roth's story, "The Trophy Life," appears in the April 19 issue of FORTUNE, available on newsstands April 12 and at www.fortune.com today.

Trump's casino trouble is certainly no secret, but Roth reports that under a Credit Suisse First Boston offer, Trump's stake in the company could drop dramatically to 20% and he could lose his CEO title (though he would remain chairman.) It's a move that could cost Trump more than his $1.5 million-a-year CEO salary. Over the past three years, Trump has paid himself $1.6 million to entertain high-rollers at his personal properties, and $5.6 million in consulting fees. The new owners, reports Roth, aren't likely to be as generous.

What is the total value of Trump's empire? If you believe Trump, $6 billion. But few people actually believe him. "And there's good reason," writes Roth. "Trump is the Reality Tycoon. He lives straight out of the Survivor handbook: Start with the truth, then add enough drama, celebrity, sex and what might very charitably be called creative editing to make something outlandish." But outsiders have never gotten to the bottom of his finances, and weeks of digging by FORTUNE yielded only murk. "All his deals are buried in layers of corporate names, partners, and either debt or not debt, depending on whether you are talking to Trump or not," reports Roth.

The bottom-line? Self-promotion trumps any truth about Trump's worth. "The endless self-promotion and the larger-than-life persona earns him deals that other real-estate developers never see, allow him to get financing where most would have long been cut off, and win him friends among people who are prepared to be his enemy."

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