INTEL: Cabbie’s fame, eye center acquisition and regional gaming woes

The publicity gusher about cabdriver Gerardo Gamboa returning $300,000 in cash that a passenger left in his cab was too high for employer Yellow Checker Star to quantify. Instead, Bill Shranko, the company’s chief operating officer, collected a sampling of about 200 stories from more than 40 countries.

Starting with the Review-Journal’s account on Dec. 23, the list of places that ran their own stories included Great Britain, France, Jamaica, the Philippines (Gamboa’s native country), Israel, Jordan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“It just went like wildfire all over the world,” Shranko said.

The encore came Dec. 27, when the unidentified poker player who claimed the money gave Gamboa a $10,000 reward. With that came some offers of smaller stipends, including a $50 check from a woman in Quebec.

• • •

NVISION Laser Eye Centers made its first Nevada acquisitions by purchasing two practices of the Las Vegas-based Nevada Eye Care. With this purchase, the company owns 17 centers.

Nevada Eye Care is comprised of five board-certified physicians: Paul Casey, Stewart Park, Emil Stein, Loren Little and Archana Reddy.

• • •

Wall Street is warning the investment community that regional gaming markets aren’t looking so healthy.

Gaming revenue has been down in recent months, which led to a stock sell-off by some shareholders in companies tied to regional gaming — such as riverboat casino and race track casino jurisdiction.

Others are looking to buy.

“With earnings season upon us and the bulk of regional gaming and gaming supplier stocks selling off year to date, the question we have heard from value investors is, ‘Is it time to invest?’ ” Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon said. “At this point, we are holding a wait-and-see approach.”

That is, other than two Las Vegas-based companies. Beynon likes the long-term prospects of Pinnacle Entertainment and Bally Technologies.

“At this point, we recommend that investors do the work on companies experiencing transformative acquisitions, where cost-cutting and synergies will be borne out in fiscal year 2014,” Beynon said.

In 2013, Pinnacle spent $2.8 billion to purchase Ameristar Casinos, while Bally spent $1.3 billion on SHFL entertainment.

• • •

Looking for a little Las Vegas nostalgia?

The Las Vegas Mercury’s website is still up at The alt weekly that was folded into the now-defunct Las Vegas CityLife still has a web presence, even if it’s frozen in time.

On the site, readers looking for past Mercury-isms can access the paper’s archives from 2003-05. Want to read a review of Method Man or Nas? They’re on there. Maybe reminisce with an old Buffalo Jim column? They’re on there too.

• • •

Firearm owners, this one’s for you.

In honor of its two-year anniversary, Gun Garage is offering two hours of free range time from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays until the end of February for all locals who own a firearm.

All shooters must have valid photo ID and the offer is open to pistols and pistol caliber rifles only, no shotguns. No steel core, steel cased or exotic ammo is allowed. Finally, all firearms and ammunition must be in separate cases upon entering the range at 5155 S. Dean Martin Drive.

Ladies also receive free range time from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. every Tuesday.

• • •

Towbin Fiat of Las Vegas sold 690 units in 2013, according to Chrysler Corp. sales reports, making it the top Fiat dealership in the western U.S. in terms of sales and customer service.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.

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