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News & Notes

MGM Mirage has hired five banks to help it raise money for a Hong Kong initial public offering of part of the company’s Macau operations. The company named BNP Paribas, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, HSBC, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley as the preferred partners in the plan. The IPO is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2010 and raise more than $500 million. It follows similar successful public offerings in 2009 by SJM, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts.  • Estonia-based casino and online gaming operator Olympic Entertainment Group has agreed with lender Swedbank to a change in terms for its existing €17.6 million loan. The current floating interest rate will change to a fixed interest rate 5.45 percent. OEG will make a premature repayment of €6 million. Final term of the loan, December 25, 2013, does not change.  •  Harrah’s Entertainment is increasing its sale of new debt by 50 percent to $750 million, and also is offering a 13 percent yield on the notes, which will come due in 2018. The terms of the sale are not yet in place, though the company said the funds from the sale will go toward paying down debt due in 2011 and repaying loans to the company’s banks.  •  Clark County, Nevada’s largest taxpayers lost $12.5 billion in combined appraised property value in 2010. Only MGM Mirage‘s appraised value increased, due to the addition of CityCenter to the rolls.  • Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas Strip has gained a new owner but is losing two of its nightclubs. The Privé and Living Room clubs have lost their leases in the resort. Privé owes Planet Hollywood more than $300,000 in back rent and other expenses, and decided to reject its lease in the terms of its bankruptcy.  • The Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. predicts that Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax will see a decline in 2010-11 due to a gaming complex slated to open in Moncton in May. Moncton is expected to attract potential visitors from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.  Site work, including demolition, has begun at the location of the old Delphi auto parts plant in Columbus, Ohio, where Penn National Gaming Inc. hopes to build its Hollywood Casino Columbus if voters in May approve moving the location from the city’s Arena District to the defunct factory. Columbus and Franklin Township, where the land is actually located, are moving closer to an agreement on allowing the land to change jurisdictions, so it will be inside of Columbus when the casino opens in 2012.  • Bally Technologies has sold its Rainbow Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi to Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. for $80 million. Bally, which once the purchases closes on June 30 will own no casinos, says it will concentrate on developing gaming technology.  The casino has 831 slots, 10 gaming tables and a hotel. Isle of Capri opened the first casino in Vicksburg in 1993. •  The Maryland legislature has passed a bill lowering the proposed tax rate for a slot casino at Rocky Gap Lodge and state park. The bill reduces the total effective gaming tax from 67 percent to 64.5 percent, and allows the purchase price of the lodge to be covered as part of the license fee. The estimated cost of the run-down lodge is $25 million. The measure is designed to entice bidders to seek the license, which has seen no suitors since Empire Resorts, whose application was rejected when it failed to deliver the up-front license fee. There are currently no bidders for the Baltimore city license either. Critics cite the suffocating tax rate as the main culprit. •  A permit was issued last month for new construction at the Palace Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The $36 million expansion is intended to restore the casino to its former condition before Hurricane Katrina struck the region. Construction will be done in phases over the next 20 months. The Palace will remain open. •  The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved table-game petitions of three casinos last month, approving tables for Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Mount Airy Casino Resort and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. The approvals bring the total to five casinos that have cleared the first hurdle of table game approval. Tables were approved in March for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and the Parx Casino at Philadelphia Park Racetrack, and the baord will consider Harrah’s Chester at its meeting in May.  •  Officials of Las Vegas-based Riviera Holdings Corporation, while acknowledging that the company is in talks with creditors about restructuring its debt, refused to respond to press inquiries last month concerning reports that the operator is about to be acquired by Starwood Capital Group LLC through a prepackaged bankruptcy. Starwood chief Barry Sternlicht was reported to be interested in taking over Riviera, whose assets include the Riviera hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip and the Riviera Blackhawk in Colorado. However, a statement from Riviera said only that the company will consider Chapter 11 bankruptcy if it is unable to restructure its debt. The statement did not mention the reported talks with Starwood.

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