IN BRIEF

WASHINGTON

Harrah’s Entertainment will settle case over sports betting

Harrah’s Entertainment will pay $100,000 to settle a complaint filed by Nevada gaming regulators over sports wagering issues at its Harrah’s Las Vegas sports book.

The Gaming Control Board said a sports book supervisor rescinded three professional basketball wagers totaling $1,650 from a customer in April 2008. The wagers were made on "overnight lines on professional basketball." After the wagers were accepted and betting tickets were issued, a supervisor took back the wagers and refunded the patron’s bets.

The patron was told he could make the wagers the next day at Caesars Palace, which is also owned by Harrah’s.

Gaming regulators said the move violated a gaming commission regulation that says a sports book may not unilaterally rescind a wager without the Gaming Control Board chairman’s prior written approval.

In a stipulated for settlement signed Thursday, Harrah’s admitted to the allegations in the complaint and agreed to pay a fine of $75,000 and reimbursement costs of $25,000.

The Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to vote on approving the settlement later this month.

 

Red Rock Resort club closed; more focus on locals sought

The Cherry Nightclub at Red Rock Resort has been permanently closed by the resort’s owners, Station Casinos.

Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson confirmed the club’s closing, saying it has run its course and that the company wanted to bring in something more focused toward locals.

The 8,500-square-foot oval space was designed by nightspot entrepreneur Rande Gerber and opened with the resort in April 2006.

Gerber and Red Rock Resort parted ways in early 2007.

Nelson did not know how many people were let go with the clubs closing. The employees were told Wednesday.

WASHINGTON

Treasury chief to face inquiry about suppressed AIG details

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will face a congressional grilling this month about the suppression of details on deals that funneled billions to big investment banks while he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Lawmakers reacted angrily Friday to revelations in e-mails sent in late 2008 and early 2009 between lawyers for the New York Fed and American International Group Inc. The exchanges show the New York Fed wanted AIG to withhold information about deals that sent billions from the taxpayer bailout of AIG to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Societe Generale and other major banks.

"The lack of transparency and accountability is disturbing enough, but the outstanding question is why the (New York Fed) didn’t fight for a better deal for the American taxpayer," said Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who first obtained the e-mails.

Committee Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., said Friday that the e-mails would prompt a review of AIG’s rise and fall and its relationships with the banks that benefited from its bailout. He scheduled a hearing for the week of Jan. 18 and requested appearances by Geithner and New York Fed General Counsel Thomas Baxter.

 

Americans’ borrowing shrinks for 10th consecutive month

Americans borrowed less for a 10th consecutive month in November, with total credit and borrowing on credit cards falling by the largest amounts on records going back nearly seven decades.

The dramatic declines raised new worries about whether consumers will cut back further on spending, making it harder for the economy to mount a sustained rebound.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that total borrowing dropped by $17.5 billion in November, a much bigger decline than the $5 billion decrease economists had expected.

ST. LOUIS

Ex-BetOnSports boss sentenced to prison for racketeering

A man who helped build one of the world’s largest Internet gambling companies, only to see it crumble after an indictment by U.S. prosecutors, was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Friday on federal racketeering charges.

David Carruthers pleaded guilty in April to racketeering conspiracy. Authorities said Carruthers is cooperating in the case against others associated with his company, BetOnSports, and has agreed to testify against them if necessary.

Carruthers, 52, was director and chief executive officer of BetOnSports, an offshore sports wagering business based in Costa Rica. His conviction and 33-month prison sentence "should send a message to any foreign business conducting illegal activities in the United States, that geography does not render it untouchable," said Steven Holtshouser, an assistant U.S. attorney based in St. Louis.

WASHINGTON

Wholesale inventories show strong increase in November

Inventories held by wholesalers posted an unexpectedly strong gain in November while sales shot up by the largest amount in 10 months.

The Commerce Department said Friday that wholesale inventories rose 1.5 percent in November, a much stronger showing than the 0.2 percent drop that economists had expected. Sales jumped 3.3 percent, far better than the 0.9 percent rise that had been forecast.

It was the eighth consecutive month that sales at the wholesale level increased and was the largest gain since last January.

The inventory report Friday showed that wholesale inventories increased 0.6 percent in October, double the estimate the government made a month ago. That increase was the first rise in inventories after a record stretch of 13 straight declines as businesses slashed the amount of inventories they were holding in an effort to trim costs.

The November rise in wholesale inventories pushed them to $386.26 billion, still 11 percent below where they stood in November 2008. The ratio of inventories to sales dipped to 1.14 from 1.17 in October. That means it would take 1.14 months to deplete inventories at the November sales pace.

NEW YORK

Florida cold sends futures for orange juice higher

Orange juice futures contracts surged to a new two-year high on Friday following fresh concerns that cold weather in Florida could wipe out parts of the citrus crop over the weekend.

March contracts for frozen orange juice concentrate rose 10 cents, or 7.1 percent, to settle at $1.5115 a pound, marking the second time in three days the price reached two-year highs. Prices retreated Thursday after a bout of cold weather earlier in the week had minimal effect on the crop.

Orange juice prices have risen 17 percent during the past week.

Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing again in parts of Florida tonight and Sunday night, bringing concerns to farmers and commodities traders.

Orange fruit still hanging on trees can be ruined if temperatures fall below 28 degrees for at least four hours.

The severe chill in Florida came at the peak of the orange harvest and could cause severe damage to the crop if temperatures remain low.

NEW YORK

Owners of biggest New York apartments miss payment

The partnership that paid a record $5.4 billion for two of New York City’s biggest apartment complexes is having money problems.

The group led by Tishman Speyer and BlackRock Realty says it wasn’t able to make a full $16 million loan payment that was due Friday.

The companies say the missed payment won’t affect the 25,000 tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan.

Analysts have been expecting the group to default on the loan for several months.

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