CEO: Cosmopolitan to open in December; rooms to be delayed
The CEO of the new $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas casino says it will open in mid-December with about one-third of its rooms delayed until July 2011.
It is likely to be the last major new hotel-casino likely to open on the struggling Strip for at least a few years.
Cosmopolitan CEO John Unwin said the hotel’s amenities, including 13 restaurants, a spa, nightclub, 150,000 square feet of meeting and convention space and retail stores, would open in mid-December with the casino and the bulk of its 2,995 rooms.
Las Vegas Sands to resume work on unfinished hotel
Las Vegas Sands Corp. said Wednesday that it will resume construction next month on its unfinished 300-room hotel at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
The hotel is expected to open in May 2011. Las Vegas Sands halted work on the hotel in late 2008 as the economy soured.
Sands Bethlehem opened in Memorial Day weekend with 3,000 slot machines and several restaurants on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel Mill. The casino received a three-year renewal of slot operator license from Pennsylvania gaming regulators Wednesday and was also approved to operate 100 table games in the casino once the state approves the new gaming regulations.
Sands Bethlehem executives expect table games to be available by July.
Prosecutors indict 38 people in sports gambling ring
New York prosecutors say they’ve indicted 38 people in two sports gambling rings that spanned from Arizona to New York and Costa Rica and made $178 million. The rings are accused of operating from Nevada and four other states.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday that bookies used Web sites to collect wagers on professional and college basketball and football and professional baseball and hockey.
Investigators, lead by the New York Police Department’s organized crime division, arrested the defendants on enterprise corruption charges. Three of the defendants are New York City employees: a firefighter, a sanitation worker and a highway repairman.
Besides Nevada, they are accused of operating in Arizona, New York, Florida and Louisiana.
Henderson resident pleads guilty in mortgage fraud case
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s office said Tuesday that Jeffery Tye Brown, a 50-year-old Henderson resident, has pleaded guilty to felony mortgage fraud in connection with the operation of DB Financial Services, a Henderson-based foreclosure rescue business.
In a statement, Masto’s office said the crime carries a potential jail sentence of one to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
The state charged Brown with falsifying loan applications that he submitted to lenders by inflating the incomes of his victims. In other cases, he misled customers into believing that, for a fee, he would guarantee resolution of a victim’s pending mortgage foreclosure.
State office warns of scams tied to health care reform
Nevada Insurance Commissioner Scott Kipper’s office on Wednesday warned Nevadans to beware of scammers who are trying to use the recently passed federal health care reform legislation to commit fraud.
In a statement, the office said the Division of Insurance recently received reports of people in other states going door-to-door trying to sell fake “federal policies.” The office said Nevadans should be watching for similar forms of fraud.
The office said consumers should especially look for:
■Policies that are time limited
■Policies that offer limited benefits
■Products advertised as being necessitated by health insurance reform
■Anything that looks “too good to be true.”
To verify whether a company, agent, broker or plan is legitimate, the office said, consumers can use the license look-up tool on the Insurance Division’s Web site, http://doi.nv.gov, or call 702-486-4009 for help.
Consumer borrowing falls
by $11.5 billion in February
Consumer borrowing fell again in February, reflecting weakness in credit cards and auto loans. Analysts said the sharp reduction showed that the weak economy is still making consumers hesitant to take on more debt.
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that borrowing declined by $11.5 billion in February, surprisingly weaker than the small $500 million gain that economists had expected. The February decline was the 12th decrease in the past 13 months as consumers slash borrowing in the face of a deep economic recession and high unemployment.
Analysts said consumer borrowing is being held back by lingering fears about job security with unemployment still near 10 percent and a move by banks to tighten credit standards following the severe financial crisis of the past two years.
General Motors shows signs of returning to fiscal health
General Motors Co., steadily returning to health after its near-collapse in 2009, said Wednesday it plans to pay off its government loans by June — five years ahead of schedule — and could report a profit as early as this year.
GM said it lost $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009 on revenues of $32.3 billion. But things are on the upswing. Sales and production have increased and GM has gained U.S. market share since the start of the year.
For the period from July 10, when GM emerged from bankruptcy protection after shedding billions in debt, through Dec. 31, GM lost $4.3 billion on revenues of $57.5 billion. But much of that loss was for one-time items, including a $2.6 billion payment to the United Auto Workers union for retiree health care.
Regulators propose stricter rules for asset-backed securities
Federal regulators proposed new, stricter rules Wednesday for asset-backed securities, the bundles of loans that helped spark the market’s collapse in 2008 and nearly brought down the financial system.
The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 5-0 to propose that Wall Street firms that package and sell asset-backed securities be required in most cases to hold at least 5 percent of the packaged loans — mortgages, credit cards, auto loans — on their own books.
With some “skin in the game” in the form of exposure to risk, the thinking goes, the firms would be more careful to ensure that borrowers are properly screened.
The SEC last year proposed rules designed to stem conflicts of interest and provide more transparency for the rating agencies, in a bid to spur greater competition in the ratings industry and reduce investors’ reliance on the big three.
Updates may let iPhone, iPad users run two programs at once
Topping the wish list for the iPhone and the iPad: broader ability to run more than one program at a time.
Apple Inc. will today unveil updates to the software that powers both devices. Although Apple has provided no details, iPhone owners and computer programmers who write applications for the popular smart phone are hoping the company will address their gripes about limits to such multitasking. The matter may escalate as people with iPads, which have larger screens, try to use them in place of more powerful computers.
The iPhone already allows for some multitasking, but that’s largely limited to Apple’s own programs. One of Apple’s recent commercials shows an iPhone user taking advantage of time spent on hold paying bills, checking e-mail, playing games and then switching back to calling.
But Apple has yet to give users ways to seamlessly switch among all the software “apps” available from outside software companies, the way phones from rivals Palm Inc. and Google Inc. already do.
Apple shares rose $1.06, or 0.44 percent, Wednesday to close at $240.60 on the Nasdaq National Market.