Issue 313
September 11 - September 17, 2006
Volume 6
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News

Casino City's September Sweepstakes

Pinnacle Purchases New Jersey Sites

Paragon Buys Vancouver Casino

Sportingbet Chairman Arrested at New York Airport

Casino Windsor Bets on Detroit Bettors

Show Time Gallagher performs at the Foxwoods Resort Casino's Fox Theatre.

Column Judy, Judy, Judy by Barney Vinson.

Check out our entertainment highlights & upcoming tournaments

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eCOGRA Runs Survey

Press Release

NEW YORK – eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance), the player protection and standards authority of online gambling, announces the launch of its much anticipated Global Online Gambler Survey. As of today, millions of poker and casino players worldwide will be offered the opportunity to have their say, in what has been widely reported as the largest research initiative ever undertaken into the behavior and attitudes of online gamblers.

Covering areas such as poker, casino, player protection, responsible gambling and luck, the survey will be promoted to players via an unprecedented show of support from leading software providers, operators and portals, as well as through eCOGRA's own contact database.

The results are expected to create a better understanding of players' needs and concerns and to hear directly from players as to what makes rewarding and safe online gambling experience.

eCOGRA members 888, Microgaming and Ongame, whose software together handles the majority of the online casino industry's turnover, are supporting this survey together with many of their operators that have been awarded the eCOGRA "Play It Safe" seal. In addition, more than 30 top online gambling portals and other leading operators will promote this survey through hyperlinks on homepages, and outreach to the online gambling community.

Andrew Beveridge, CEO, eCOGRA comments, "Our aim all along has been to maximise participation in this groundbreaking project, one of the largest of its kind undertaken in any field. Very few players on reputable sites will remain unaware of the survey in the coming weeks and we would urge everyone to complete it in full. The results will give gamblers and organizations a better understanding of how this rapidly expanding industry has developed and where it might be heading, informing future decisions that we hope will ultimately lead to a greater improvement of standards across all aspects of the industry."

Devised by the leading gambling research team from Nottingham Trent University and supported by the University of Nevada (Las Vegas), the survey will be supplemented by qualitative focus groups in six of the industry's major markets - US, UK, Japan, Canada, Germany and Sweden - due to take place from October.

The resulting 'eCOGRA Global Online Gambler Report' is due to be launched to the public in January 2007.

"This survey comes at a critical time in the United States," said Frank Catania, board member of eCOGRA. "By working with two universities that are experts in this area, we're able to offer online gamblers a chance to express themselves, and tell us about their experiences with the online gaming industry."

Players can find the survey at eCOGRA.org/playersurvey and anyone wishing to promote the survey can contact eCOGRA directly for the hyperlink.


Pinnacle Purchases New Jersey Sites

Press Release

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: PNK) and Atlantic Coast Entertainment Holdings, Inc. ("ACE Hi") today said they have signed a definitive agreement under which Pinnacle agreed to purchase the entities that own The Sands and Traymore sites in Atlantic City, N.J. from entities affiliated with financier Carl Icahn for approximately $250 million, plus an additional $20 million for certain tax-related benefits and additional real estate. Together, the land being acquired comprises approximately 18 contiguous acres at the heart of Atlantic City, with extensive frontage along the Boardwalk, Pacific Avenue and Brighton Park. Pinnacle plans to design and build an entirely new casino hotel on the site, which would be among the largest and most spectacular resorts in the region.

As part of the agreement, Pinnacle required that the sellers proceed to close the existing hotel-casino, which is anticipated to occur within approximately 70 days of the signing of the agreement. The closure will facilitate the construction of a new, much larger facility as quickly as possible. The 26-year-old Sands, which was one of the first gaming resorts to open in Atlantic City, is one of the city's smallest properties.

"Atlantic City is one of the top U.S. gaming destinations, and we're looking forward to being a part of the world-famous Boardwalk," said Daniel R. Lee, Pinnacle's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "This major new resort will be a key component in our plan to build a national network of gaming properties. It will also help extend our development pipeline and our Company's growth through 2010 and beyond. In connection with our longstanding interest in Atlantic City, we submitted our initial license application in New Jersey several months ago. The regulatory investigation is ongoing.

"The success of recent Atlantic City developments has proven that customers in the Northeast respond positively to state-of-the-art gaming resort design and amenities," Mr. Lee continued. "While we regret the necessity of closing the Sands to create an exciting new resort, we look forward to working with gaming regulators, state and local authorities on this project to create more jobs, tax revenues and other lasting benefits for the region."

Under Federal law, employees soon will receive 60 days' notice of the expected closing. Among its provisions for employees, the agreement provides for severance benefits in accordance with union agreements, as well as severance pay for nonunion employees who stay through the 60-day closing period.

Mr. Icahn stated, "After spending many months reviewing various projects for this property, it became patently clear that a shutdown of The Sands was necessary and inevitable to make room for a great new casino. We also concluded that this was the most propitious time to undertake this shutdown given the robust employment environment in Atlantic City. This new casino will be a great plus for Atlantic City and the state of New Jersey." Mr. Icahn has seen to it that ACE Hi, the parent company of The Sands, although not legally required, will fund an additional one week of severance for eligible employees for each year of service over two years. In addition, through his negotiations with Pinnacle, Pinnacle has agreed that full-time employees who have been with The Sands for at least six months will be eligible for two weeks' severance funded by Pinnacle. Pinnacle also has agreed to provide outplacement services to all Sands employees, and those willing to relocate will be considered for positions at other properties operated by Pinnacle or Mr. Icahn.

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. The transaction is not subject to financing. The majority stockholder of ACE Hi, AREP Sands Holding, LLC, which owns approximately 58% of the outstanding stock of ACE Hi, has delivered a stockholder written consent approving the sale of The Sands. AREP Sands is a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Real Estate Holdings Limited Partnership ("AREH").

The acquisition agreement contains non-solicitation, fiduciary out and termination fee provisions. ACE Hi is not permitted to solicit other acquisition proposals, but for 45 days may negotiate with anyone that submits unsolicited proposals if the ACE Hi board believes that such a proposal is, or is reasonably likely to result in, a proposal that is more favorable to the ACE Hi stockholders. If within such 45-day period, the ACE Hi board determines that an alternative proposal is more favorable to the ACE Hi stockholders, ACE Hi is permitted to terminate the acquisition agreement with Pinnacle upon payment of a $10 million termination fee. In addition, entities affiliated with Mr. Icahn, including AREH and AREP Sands, have agreed to pay to Pinnacle all of any additional value received by such entities through an overbid.

Pinnacle expects to close its purchase of The Sands/Traymore site by the end of the year.

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