Station Casinos Places $5 Million Bet Money to Be Spent on Legalizing Slots

By Fred Faust Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 5, 1994 | Go to article overview

Station Casinos Places $5 Million Bet Money to Be Spent on Legalizing Slots


Fred Faust Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The chief executive of Station Casinos Inc., whose Casino St. Charles caused the company to lose $7.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, said $5 million will be spent on the campaign to legalize traditional, reel slot machines in Missouri.

Frank Fertitta III said the amount, "plus or minus $1 million," will be raised from several companies with big stakes in Missouri. A favorable vote in November means that the state's casinos could have traditional, reel slot machines.

Station's chief financial officer, Glenn Christenson, said the CEOs of President Riverboat Casinos, Promus Cos. and Boyd Gaming Group, along with Fertitta, will be personally active in the campaign.

Calling the vote an "industry-wide issue," Christenson said there will be more support from more firms than in the past.

"A number of companies in Missouri have sat back and let four or five of us carry the ball there," he said. "There's a lot of money at stake."

Asked what percentage of the estimated $5 million will be borne by Station, Christenson said, "We will pay our share, whatever that takes."

Fertitta and Christenson spoke Thursday in a conference call to discuss quarterly results with gaming analysts. As they had warned earlier, the late opening and weak performance of Casino St. Charles caused the red ink to flow in Station's last quarter.

The company had previously announced an unusually high writeoff for preopening expenses for Casino St. Charles, which began cruising May 27. But in addition to that $11.2 million, Station said Thursday that the project is still losing money.

Operating losses at St. Charles came to $1.8 million for the quarter. The company's goal, Christenson said, is to reach a positive cash flow for the month of September.

After the casino opened, Station spent more than $600,000 in "incremental advertising." But that didn't help much, Christenson said. Admissions and gambling revenue are flat.

"We have to have slot machines," Christenson said. The company admitted that it over-estimated the appeal of video poker machines here. …

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