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Gaming Guru

Kevin Rademacher

Binion's Horseshoe Owner Negotiating Power Bill

21 November 2003

LAS VEGAS -- Binion's Horseshoe is behind on its electric bill.

The downtown Las Vegas hotel-casino is past due on bills with Nevada Power Co., and utility executives said Thursday that they are negotiating a settlement with Horseshoe owner Becky Behnen.

If an agreement is not reached, the property could have its power shut off, said Pat Shalmy, president of Nevada Power.

"There is a process for that," he said. "We are in that process."

Shalmy said it is not the first time the Horseshoe has built up a past-due balance with Nevada Power, and he said he expects the current matter to be resolved without any interruption in service.

"We're working with them," Shalmy said. "(Behnen) has advanced a check to us. It's not for the total amount, but I think it's a gesture of good faith. ... I am confident we can work this out."

Citing fair credit reporting rules, Nevada Power spokeswoman Andrea Smith said the company could not reveal the dollar amount of the Horseshoe's past-due bills. Smith did say that negotiations between the utility and the casino were "amicable."

Shalmy said Nevada Power executives were meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss the issue and he expected a company executive to be in contact with Behnen following the meeting.

Behnen could not be reached for comment.

The situation with Nevada Power is just the latest financial dispute for the Horseshoe.

In March the Horseshoe settled charges from the National Labor Relations Board that the Horseshoe had failed to sign a collective bargaining agreement reached with the Culinary and Bartenders unions nine months earlier.

During those nine months, the NLRB claimed the Horseshoe failed to make contributions on behalf of 500 workers to the respective unions' health and welfare funds for medical insurance and pension plans.

In September 2002 state gaming regulators shut down several games at the Horseshoe, saying the casino's bankroll fell below levels required to pay off gamblers. That issue was resolved quickly.

The Horseshoe also has faced allegations that it owes the Fremont Street Experience $1.9 million. That dispute is being argued in court.