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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Inside gaming: Sands bets against paying settlement

2 September 2008

Las Vegas Sands Corp., faced with paying a lawsuit judgment of $58.6 million to a Hong Kong businessman, told investors it hasn't recorded any reserves or contingencies for the legal matter.

Why? The casino operator doesn't think it will ever have to settle up.

"The company believes this potential loss is not probable or estimable," Las Vegas Sands said in a 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month.

A Clark County District Court jury on May 24 awarded Richard Suen a $43.8 million verdict following a six-week trial. The trial judge tacked on $14.8 million in interest.

Suen said he was stiffed by the casino operator when he sought payment for helping the company win a Macau gaming license. Las Vegas Sands is appealing the verdict.

The company's stance shouldn't be a surprise. In its May 2007 10-Q, Las Vegas Sands told investors Suen's chances of winning the lawsuit were "remote."

***

Bally Technologies' recent fourth-quarter earnings conference call took on a United Nations feel.

Company Chief Operating Officer Gavin Isaacs hails from Sydney, Australia. Ramesh Srinivasan, executive vice president of Bally's systems division, is a native of India. Both noted the international flair.

"Overall, the team is learning the finer points of cricket and are being educated in the art of Australian slang," Isaacs said.

Added Srinivasan, "Between listening to Australian slangs and the thick Indian accents, people are going crazy here. Bally is becoming a global corporation, for sure."

***

Oppenheimer analyst David Katz believes slot machine giant International Game Technology is facing tough times.

"We expect market share dynamics to continue favoring Bally Technologies and WMS Industries at the expense of IGT," Katz told investors.

He said casino operators outside the Strip will modestly replace older IGT games with Bally and WMS products.

***

"Soundstage" might be a good addition to Red Rock Resort's name. Nearly a dozen movies, television shows and music videos have been taped at the Station Casinos property since it opened in April 2006.

Episodes of the Bravo Network's "Real Housewives of Orange County" were taped in August and will air this year.

In the past, Red Rock has been the setting for segments of Craig Ferguson's "Late Late Show," "Hell's Kitchen," the music video "Body on Me" by hip-hop artist Nelly that featured Ashanti and Akon, and VH1's "Rock of Love with Bret Michaels."

The movie "21" gave Red Rock a big-screen profile.

Howard Stutz's Inside Gaming column appears Sundays.