UNITED KINGDOM — As reported by the UK Financial Times: “To gamblers losing thousands of pounds betting on blackjack and poker, the prospect of one of Britain’s most established casino chains collapsing seems as unthinkable as a reality- defying run of wins on the roulette wheel.
“But unless London Clubs International, which operates some of the most prestigious casinos in the UK capital, manages to sell some of its assets or finds a partner to invest funds in the group, an ignominious exit from the gaming sector may happen sooner rather than later.
“Several parties have considered a bid for LCI: they include Kerry Packer, the Australian tycoon; Sol Kerzner, the gaming entrepreneur who created South Africa’s Sun City; and some of the international casino operators such as Las Vegas’ Park Place and MGM Mirage.
“…LCI’s debts of more than £230m (US$360 Million) have scared off several potential suitors, although it has now reached agreements with its lenders to extend existing debt facilities and reduce interest rates on some of its borrowings for a further two years.
“…How will LCI raise the money? A sale of some assets is one possibility, as LCI operates some of London’s plushest casinos, including Les Ambassadeurs, The Golden Nugget and 50 St James.
“A joint venture is another, with a new Togel Hari Ini investor putting fresh capital into the business. But it is likely that the company would be very wary of a joint venture after the disastrous repercussions of an ill-advised gamble in the US.
“…The company has privately suggested it would be prepared to sell a number of its UK casinos. `The problem is the ones they want to sell are not the ones people want to buy,’ says one banker…”
Analysts Optimistic About MGM Mirage’s Online Casino
LAS VEGAS–Most Wall Street experts see MGM Mirage’s playmgmmirage.com as a plus for the company, with its brand-building and business-growing prospects outweighing concerns that a security lapse could jeopardize the company’s relationship with regulators who police its land-based casinos in Nevada and elsewhere.
McDonald Investments casino industry analyst Harry Curtis said: “It makes sense for MGM Mirage to stick its toe in the water. $15 million isn’t that much. It’s really just research and development spending. As long as they stay on the right side of regulators, and I think they will, there’s no worry for shareholders.”
Deutsche Banc Securities casino debt analyst Andrew Zarnett said he thinks it may not take long for the site to contribute profit to MGM Mirage’s bottom line.
“The upside is fantastic,” Zarnett said. “This gives them a chance to capture business in Europe, and if and when the U.S. decides to allow Internet gambling they’d be years ahead of their competitors.”
Fellow Deutsche Banc analyst Marc Falcone said MGM Mirage is using superior technology and will use the site to attract new customers and improve its brand recognition.
“They can’t go after the whole world market, but initial results from the United Kingdom suggest that MGM Mirage will be tapping into a deep European market,” Falcone said.
Bear, Stearns & Co. casino industry analyst Jason Ader took a different approach from his Wall Street colleagues and said he thinks the MGM Mirage Web operation is more pie in the sky than a significant part of the company’s business.
“There’s a lot of ‘if, if, if,’ ” Ader said. “It’s a lot of energy and publicity for what will be a very small part of their business for a long time.”