The question circulating in Ohio last week didn’t center on the merits of the state adding 17,500 video lottery terminals to racetracks. Folks wanted to know whether regional casino giant Penn National Gaming was secretly trying to kill the deal.
Hours after an Associated Press story claimed the gaming company was underwriting an effort to overturn racetrack slot machine legislation approved by Ohio lawmakers and the governor, Penn National quashed the notion.
The company, which owns Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio, and would benefit from the VLT expansion, denied the article’s statements.
“Penn National fully supports the authorization of VLTs,” the company said, adding it normally doesn’t comment on media speculation. Penn called the article’s statements “patently false and potentially libelous.”
VLTs are similar to slot machines, except they are connected to a central computer system that determines the outcome.
Gaming expansion is a hot issue in Ohio. An anti-gaming group wants to voters to reject the VLT matter in November 2010. Separately, a voter referendum this November would allow Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo to each add a Las Vegas-style casino.
Penn National supports the casino vote, even though competition in Cincinnati could draw customers from its riverboat casino in Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Union Gaming Group principal Bill Lerner said Ohio could be a gaming bonanza.
“There is nothing structurally to prevent the VLT plan and casino initiative from both passing,” he said.
Frank Mugnolo is persistent. The gambling inventor has come up with another add-on for a popular table game. Mugnolo, who created options for blackjack and craps, has designed a wager for roulette.
Colors, the add-on, was unveiled recently at The Orleans. The game uses normal roulette rules, but a side wager allows players to bet that the roulette ball will land on either red or black on three straight spins. If the color hits three times in a row, the player is paid 8-to-1.
A 13-acre parcel west of McCarran International Airport that was eyed by casino rivals Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn may be back on the market.
Clark County terminated a lease agreement with Rightpath Ltd. of Phoenix, nearly two years after the developer outbid Adelson’s representatives at an auction.
Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., wanted the site for his private aircraft, but lost to Rightpath. The price of the 30-year lease went from $620,000 a year to $4.4 million a year. Wynn, chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd., submitted a written bid but didn’t take part in the auction.
Howard Stutz’s Inside Gaming column appears Sundays. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-477-3871. He blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/stutz