Issue 260
September 5 - September 11, 2005
Volume 5
page 2

Churchill awaits reports of Fair Grounds damage
As reported by

Louisiana - As Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans on Monday, a skeleton crew of security personnel remained at Fair Grounds to guard the facility and provide early damage reports to parent company Churchill Downs Inc.

"Most of our staff followed the instructions of Mayor [Ray] Nagin and evacuated the area," Churchill spokeswoman Julie Koenig Loignan said Monday afternoon. "We had a small contingent of our security staff stay at the racetrack, and we do know that there's some damage, but we don't know for sure how much until the storm completely passes."

Fair Grounds also controls ten off-track betting parlors in the area, including one in St. Bernard Parish that was hit particularly hard by the storm and could be completely underwater.

"Right now, our primary concern is the state of our employees and making sure they have homes to come back to," Koenig Loignan said. "We're watching the images on TV-that's our eyes and ears right now. It'll be at least a day or two before we have any sense of the structural damage let alone the damage to the infrastructure such as electric or water."

Churchill carries insurance on Fair Grounds covering natural disasters and acts of God and damages to the facility from Hurricane Katrina would be covered by its current policy.-Ed DeRosa




Internet casino firm 888 plans $500 mil. IPO damage

As reported by the Bloomberg News

888 Holdings Plc, the world's largest Internet casino operator by number of visitors, plans to sell about $500 million of stock in an initial public offering as its owners cut their stakes and tap demand for online gambling companies.

The casino and poker gaming company has hired HSBC Holdings Plc to manage the sale, 888 said today. The Gibraltar-based company may be valued at about $1.5 billion when it sells shares in London this month, bankers said.

The online gaming industry may double revenue to $24 billion in 2010, from $12 billion this year, 888 estimated, citing gaming consultancy Christiansen Capital Advisers LLC. Investors are betting that growth will outweigh regulatory concerns in the United States, where the Justice Department considers online gambling illegal.

"It is unlikely that the U.S. will be able to stop people from gambling," said Julian Easthope, analyst at UBS AG in London, who advises investors to buy stock of rival PartyGaming Plc.
Shares of PartyGaming have gained 36 percent since its IPO in June through Wednesday's close, valuing the company at 6.3 billion pounds ($11.4 billion).

888, which said it may use its listed stock to pay for acquisitions, reported a 30 percent gain in first-half profit to $24.5 million. Revenue rose 48 percent to $123.7 million.
The company seeks "to become the market leader in the global online gaming entertainment industry," Chief Executive John Anderson said in a phone interview. The IPO will "increase further our brand profile, recognition and credibility."

Marketing and advertising 888's brand cost the company $51 million in the first six months of the year, said Anderson. Founded in 1997, 888 operates the Casino-on-Net and PacificPoker Web sites. Casino business accounts for about two-thirds of 888's sales.

Anderson plans to reduce the company's reliance on the U.S., which accounts for about 55 percent of sales, to concentrate on Europe and the Far East.

"No one country should account for more than half of our sales," he said.

The company, which has never made an acquisition, is also seeking takeovers, said Anderson, without giving details. The online gaming industry will consolidate from more than 1,000 global players to less than 100 over the next five to six years, he added.

888 founders, brothers Avi and Aaron Shaked, have a combined stake of 70 percent, and a family trust controlled by Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak holds about 20 percent. Employees of the company own the rest.

CEO Anderson, former property director at Ladbroke Plc, now Hilton Group Plc, said he will receive about 1 percent of 888's shares at the time of the IPO, part of which he may sell.
Shares go on sale to money managers around mid-September and the offering runs until the end of the month, bankers said.

Mono Wind Casino Re-Opens
As reported by

An exciting night for gamblers in the foothills on Thursday, as Mono Wind Casino re-opened its doors.

The casino voluntarily closed last week after Fresno County Sheriff's deputies collected $170,000 for a judgment owed to former manager Michael Troilo.

Under a compromise reached Thursday, the tribe will get back $70,000.

Troilo has also agreed not to seek the rest of the $700,000 judgment until a mid-October hearing.
Both sides say they're satisfied by the deal.

"He's truly satisfied. I think it's a sign of good faith by the tribe, that they are truly trying to take care of the judgment," says Troilo's attorney, Andrew Jones.

"This is a good day for the Mono Wind Casino. And in the future, we hope to fully resolve our differences with Mr. Troilo and today was a step in the right direction," said the tribe's attorney, Paul Marks.

Despite the week long closure, all 89 casino employees will return to work

Tony Danza

Sands Casino Hotel: Singer, dancer, actor and comedian brings his talent to the Copa Room October 7 and 8.

Date: October 7 & 8

Time: October 7, 9pm October 8, 10pm

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