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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Inside gaming: Fertittas are latest Forbes cover boys

22 April 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Pop Quiz: Can you name the first Las Vegas casino executives to be featured on the cover of Forbes magazine since 2001?

Steve Wynn? Guess again. Sheldon Adelson? That answer is only partially correct. Terry Lanni or Kirk Kerkorian? No on both accounts.

Station Casinos bosses Frank Fertitta III, 46, and brother Lorenzo Fertitta, 39, grace the cover of the May 5 issue of Forbes, which will soon be available on Las Vegas newsstands.

The lengthy article, titled "Ultimate Cash Machines," primarily focuses on the Fertittas' 90 percent ownership of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which they purchased for $2 million in 2001. The brothers told Forbes they have rejected offers exceeding $1 billion to sell the mixed martial arts empire.

The Fertittas also discussed the future of locals gaming giant Station Casinos, which they took private in February after 15 years as a publicly traded company. Forbes said each Fertitta brother has a net worth of $1.3 billion, placing them 380th on the Forbes 400 list.

The cover article by Forbes writer Matthew Miller is the first to profile Las Vegas casino executives since 2001, when former MGM Mirage Chief Executive Officer Alex Yemenidjian made the cover. The story primarily focused on Yemenidjian's stewardship of MGM Studios on Kerkorian's behalf.

Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., was one of a collection of billionaires pictured on a 2005 Forbes cover story about the world's richest people.

***

Gaming analysts and slot machine experts believe International Game Technology leads the competition in the race to unveil server-based gaming technology. IGT announced a deal last week to install server-based gaming at MGM Mirage's CityCenter development in 2009.

Macquarie Capital gaming analyst Joel Simkins, however, thinks Bally Technologies might be jumping in front. In a note to investors, Simkins said IGT may be encountering challenges in launching its newest server-based platform.

"Bally also could be pulling ahead in the arms race," Simkins said.

Casino operators, he said, want a cost-effective way to deploy server-based gaming technology.

"We believe Bally's solution is more of a Chevy than a Ferrari," Simkins said.

***

A 12-foot statue of Julius Caesar is being removed from outside the Caesars Indiana casino. The 750-pound likeness of the Roman leader will be given to Harrison County. The banishing is part of a makeover for the riverboat casino, which will be renamed Horseshoe Southern Indiana.

Harrison County Councilman Carl Mathes says he will store the statue on his farm until commissioners can figure out what to do with it.

Inside gaming: Fertittas are latest Forbes cover boys is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.