Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Big News Tuesday

It must have been all that money going to Connecticut...

Twin Rivers finally files for bankruptcy.

The filing reflects a consensual structured bankruptcy agreement hammered out in round-the-clock negotiations in recent days between the state, the lenders group led by Merrill Lynch Capital and the consortium that owns the sprawling Lincoln gambling hall that is home to 4,751 video-slots and a greyhound racetrack.

It says: "As successful as [Twin River's] operations have been, their revenues cannot support the substantial demands imposed by the state tax rate and the debtors' debt services obligations'' on $589 million in loans.

The interesting thing about this is, if you or I go to a casino and get in over our heads in debt - it's entertainment! But no, there will be no collection agencies or finger breakers for Twin Rivers. It's a tragedy. Quick - someone get them a bailout!

Twin Rivers may have been the State of Rhode Island's third largest source of income, but for me it will always be the place where one Middleboro man lost his money, then hope, committed suicide and left his pregnant wife to raise their son alone.

But stories like those get lost, don't they?

So, what does Rhode Island learn from this? That gambling revenue didn't pave the roads with gold? That they shouldn't put so many of their eggs in one basket? That casino interests won't hesitate to manipulate State leadership in order to gain concessions in their favor?

I don't know but I'm certain that the Massachusetts pro-slots lobby will use this bankruptcy to claim there is now LESS competition for Massachusetts dollars. Whoo Hoo! Stay tuned.

Splendor in the Bluegrass...

Following in the footsteps of New Hampshire, Kentucky votes down slots at the tracks.

The Senate budget committee rejected a controversial bill Monday night that would have allowed slot machines at racetracks as a way to shore up Kentucky's beleaguered racing industry.

The 10-5 vote against sending the bill to the full Senate appears to kill the bill for the special session.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the bill's sponsor, said the issue could surface in a conference committee, "but I don't think it's likely." And Senate President David Williams ruled that possibility out.

Folks, I'm not sure, but if horse racing in Kentucky isn't making it these days, I think this industry is going the way of Betamax and whale bone corsets. It happens.

Let's just be honest, OK. Slots are ultimately meant to replace, not shore up the animal racing industry.

Reading Between the Lines...

Today, as required by Section 2710 of the IGRA, the National Indian Gaming Commission published it's list of 301 tribes with "Approved Class II and III Tribal Gaming Ordinances".

It's a long list so let's just skip to the good part, shall we?

135. Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut
136. Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan
Nope. No Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. No Massachusetts tribes. No class II. No class III. Nada. As in Nadathing about gambling.

But don't just take my word for it...


Bellicose Bumpkin said...

I have serious doubts that Kerzner is such a screw up that he's in any financial trouble. I think it's all engineered to cut a better deal with RI.

Everyone is bucking for a better deal these days:
Middleboro->Mashpee Wamps
Mashpee Wamps->Kerzner
Kerzner->Rhode Island

Seems vaguely circular.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Good observations.

But seems to me that Rhode Island is in financial trouble - what with Twin Rivers providing 1/3 of their budget.

The investors don't care. They play games with people/communities/legislators/States...

I can't think of these guys without being reminded of how my cat bats around a mouse in the backyard.

Manipulation by billionaire casino investors:
Just one of many reasons to KEEP THESE VAMPIRES OUT OF MASSACHUSETTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This sentence alone seems to define the goal --
"The Carcieri administration would be required to authorize or if necessary back legislation to allow overnight gambling seven days a week, and agree to pay up to $11 million in "annual support,'' including a new management fee of up to $1.4 million and a share of the annual marketing costs."

Remember when the economy was still blazing ahead, Kerzner pushed for 24 hours gambling on weekends? At the time, he wanted 24/7.

It looks like he'll get his wish with the blessing of a federal bankruptcy court and much else.

Kerzner bought out Chicago Strather to squash the Mboro deal, prevent competition and get what he wants from RI. He was never serious about Mboro. Smell the coffee, proponents? When you get in bed with felons, do you expect honorable dealings?

Anonymous said...

If Kentucky racetracks are dead, why is Beacon Hill trying to save them? Maybe I mean why is Senator "But For" Pacheco trying to bail out George Carney? Voters voted 55% to let the tracks die. If that vote were taken today, you'd find an even larger percentage that want to see them gone before they support slot machines at tracks.
Keep blogging, Gladys! You're always right.

Let tracks die said...

Have you seen the latest fraud being perpetrated by dog track allies claiming voter fraud?
Horse and dog tracks are dead businesses that just won't go away quietly.
If horse racing can't survive in Kentucky, it's time to say "Bye Bye" !

wondering said...

In the Boston Globe article this morning, they make a point of saying that the host community opposes 24 hour gambling.

We should remember all the promises Beacon Hill makes about local control when we look at RI and see that it goes out the window when you have slick partners who eventually get what they want.

What are your thoughts?

Gladys Kravitz said...

Anon. 10:30, I don't know about always being right - but it's becoming clear that we, RI, the tribe and now MA are pawns in a casino investors board game.


Not only do casino investors demand concessions, but in bad times, States have lowered the gambling age to 18 and removed smoking bans.

Obviously, something is motivating Sen. Pacheco to defend the track. Hmmm. Voter fraud? Maybe people just understand these days that jobs and companies come and go. And few employees get 2 years of re-training.

(I wish Pacheco would have defended K-mart with that level vigor so I could still buy my Martha Stewart housewares at the one in Raynham! I mean wow - a local business I actually spent money at!)

Slot Parlors and casinos are unhealthy revenue streams. They never give back to communities as much as they take - and now we've seen how they just become ways for investors to twist our arms.

The older I get.... said...

the more jaded I become.

Twin River investors got exactly what they wanted all along.

They got rid of the dogs - a money loser for them.

First they got weekend 24 hours.

Carcieri agrees to 24 hours 7 days a week that needs approvel by a bankruptcy judge.

There was no way the RI pols would have voted for either.

This is a shrewd maneuver to get what they want.

Next they'll get the RI percentage down and they'll push to expand to a full casino.

Just watch!

They screwed the Mashpee Wamps and would have screwed Mboro too but they didn't plan to build in Mass.

They're not rookies and they're not stupid. They played this according to their script.

Watch out Beacon Hill because if you'll smart, you'll see that they're smarter than you are.

a dog lover said...

If you watch the articles and listening closely, you'll hear contradictory tales of the numbers of employees we're protecting with slots at the tracks.

The most recent Brockton Enterprise article puts the number at 200 to 400 now.

If the number is really 200, those workers could be retrained for other jobs.

Why is Pacheco jumping through hoops and discrediting himself for 200 jobs?

Gladys Kravitz said...

Dear "Older",

No one has said it better!