Rumors of Vinion’s sale

The place that made poker famous is rife with rumors of a possible sale, but its owners are still not reaching out.

Vinion in downtown Las Vegas has been the subject of buying and selling speculation for months, and recent comments from the chief executive of the West Virginia company that owns the historic casino have added fuel to rumors.

But so far, neither Edson Arnaud nor anyone else at MTR Gaming Group’s headquarters, W.Va. Chester, has declined to elaborate on plans for the struggling casino, bringing in millions of dollars and raising poker’s profile worldwide.

That left 850 employees, investors and downtown enthusiasts wondering about the future of one of Las Vegas’ most successful and infamous casinos at one point.

“I’ve heard rumors since I’ve been here. And companies have expressed interest in the property,” said Bill Robinson, Vinion’s chief operating officer since May 2006. “No one in the company has talked to me about this.” 온라인카지노

Robinson was responding to remarks by Arneault, president and chief executive officer of MTR Gaming and chairman of the board, on a conference call in May to discuss the company’s bottom line.

“We see it as an investment property rather than one of our strategic properties,” Arnaud told investors, and MTR Gaming has suggested it wants to sell Vinnion’s assets, which had negative cash flow of $3.3 million last year.

MTR Gaming has already agreed to sell Speedway Casino, another Las Vegas property in North Las Vegas, for $18.2 million, with investor conference calls focusing more on racetracks and casino operations in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio than on issues in Nevada.

“You’re not investing in Vinion’s MTR,” said Justin Sebastiano, chief game analyst at Nolenberger Capital Partners, which follows the company.

Sebastiano said the future of MTR Gaming lies in slot machines in Pennsylvania and the possibility of approving table games at racetracks and West Virginia.

Sebastiano said MTR Gaming has been a drag on MTR Gaming’s stock since its acquisition from Harrah’s Entertainment in 2004 for about $20 million.

“I don’t think it’s going to get better anytime soon,” Sebastiano said. “We’re estimating negative cash flow for years to come.”

Neither Arneault nor Steven Overy, MTR Gaming’s vice president of business and legal affairs, answered several calls to comment or elaborate on the remarks.

Robinson said, as far as he is concerned, the company plans to continue investing in Vinion to correct its listing work.

Recent improvements include a club that operates at night on the 24th floor of the hotel tower in the Ranch Steakhouse in Binion, a space previously used in the evening.

The casino renovations include new carpets and decorations and 200 new slot machines. And in an attempt to “see what the price resistance is,” Robinson said, plans are being made to upgrade at least one floor of hotel rooms and attract higher-spending customers.

Vinion is not the only casino operating in downtown Las Vegas in an uncertain atmosphere.

Tamares Group recently put Gold Spike on its list for sale at a price of $15 million (W150 billion). The smoky, downmarket property reportedly caught the attention of many potential buyers, including the operator of Sapphire Gentle’s Club near the strip.

Tamares also recently parted ways with Navegante Group, a company that has operated Gold Spike, Plaza, Las Vegas Club and Western Hotels. Company officials have indicated through representatives that they are willing to make changes but have so far declined requests to elaborate on their plans.

The owners of Golden Nuggets and El Cortez are investing about $100 million and $20 million in their properties, respectively.

Gaming revenue continues to decline at downtown casinos. Gaming sales in March were $55.3 million, down 7% from $59.5 million a year ago. The market has been on a losing streak for 10 consecutive months.

“It’s not a Vegas strip,” said Sebastiano in Vinion and downtown. “I don’t think it’s such a great asset.”

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