Microsoft device destined for casino tests

Computing giant Microsoft Corp. dominated technology news last week, announcing the first commercially available surface computer.

Although the computer is expected to have applications in restaurant and retail, Microsoft officials said one of the initial target markets is the hotel-casino industry.

Harrah’s Entertainment properties in Las Vegas will test the devices for use as a virtual concierge service.

Also, slot machine giant International Game Technology signed a distribution and development agreement with Microsoft for the device.

“We think IGT could see the device fitting into the company’s server-based gaming platform,” Bear Stearns gaming analyst Joe Greff said.

A stock analyst gave the company that owns Binion’s high hopes for the future. Unfortunately, it was for the prospect of live table games in West Virginia, not anything happening downtown.

In a note to investors, Justin Sebastiano said MTR Gaming could add $9 million to $10 million in cash flow to its bottom line if voters in West Virginia approve table games June 30.

The company is also a prime candidate for a takeover, the note added. But good news for MTR Gaming stock isn’t helping Binion’s. The casino posted more than $3 million in negative cash flow in 2006 and analysts have suggested MTR Gaming should unload the casino.

Miami-based developer Masoud Shojaee obtained use permits from Clark County in May to build a large mixed-use development north of McCarran International Airport on the site of the former Tropicana Mobile Home Park.

The yet-to-be-named project is approved for a hotel-condominium-casino with five towers ranging in height from 240 feet to 500 feet.

The 37-acre site on Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane was bought in May 2005 for $120 million by Shojaee through Alkimya Investments, his Nevada holding company. Shojaee is president of Shoma Development Corp., a residential builder in south Florida.

Depending on your point of view, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman used a clever or unfortunate play on words describing the renovation of the historic post office on Stewart Avenue into a mob museum.

“When that mob museum opens up, it is going to be a blast,” said Goodman, whose earlier career as a defense lawyer included representing Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a former bookmaker, casino operator and mob associate who was the victim of an attempted car bombing in Las Vegas in 1982.

The Inside Gaming column is compiled by Review-Journal gaming and tourism writers Howard Stutz, Benjamin Spillman and Arnold M. Knightly. Send your tips about the gaming and tourism industry to insidegaming@reviewjournal.com.

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