A top executive at The Venetian and a leading New York time-share developer are partnering in a planned bid for the bankrupt Aladdin, two industry sources said. Time-share developer Ian Bruce Eichner would offer to buy the property, said sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. A second source said David Friedman, assistant to Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson, may be part of an Eichner offer. The Venetian’s spokesman, Kurt Ouchida, refused to confirm or deny Friedman’s interest in an Aladdin bid. “He’s in a high-profile job,” the spokesman said of Friedman, who serves as Adelson’s corporate counsel. “He gets a lot of offers.” Ouchida also declined to say whether Adelson or Las Vegas Sands were involved in a possible bid. Orlando, Fla.-based Planet Hollywood hopes to partner with an unnamed casino operator in a bid for the property, sources said last Monday. If that bid is tendered, Aladdin bankers would likely weigh it against bids from Eichner and any other offers made for the $1.05 billion property.
Harrah’s: Narragansett’s New Partner
Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. is reportedly set to become the Narragansett Indians’ new partner in the tribe’s effort to build a casino in Rhode Island. Sources close to the situation say an announcement was expected this past Monday that Harrah’s will replace Boyd Gaming Inc., also of Las Vegas. Boyd teamed up with the Narragansetts in previous efforts to get a casino referendum on the statewide ballot, but ended its relationship with the tribe last July. Officials for the tribe and Harrah’s are said to have signed a memorandum of understanding last week to go forward together with endeavors such as dealing with the Special House Commission to Study Gaming. Gary Loveman, Harrah’s president, Vice President Jan Jones and attorney David Satz are scheduled to address the gambling commission on Dec. 3. The Narragansetts’ agreement with West Warwick to serve as the host community for a casino recently expired, so the tribe would have to work out a contract with West Warwick or another community to put forward a request to be the site for a casino before a casino measure could go on the ballot.
Sands New CEO Faces IDNPLAY Challenges
Atlantic City’s struggling Sands casino hotel poses challenges for its new president and chief operating officer, Tim Ebling. As Bally’s engulfs the neighboring Claridge, and Resorts opens its new hotel tower in 18 months, the Sands will be the smallest gambling place in the city. And with majority owner Carl Icahn unwilling to expand until the Sands can show bigger profits, Ebling’s challenge is to boost business and improve profit margins. Ebling leans toward making the Sands the intimate casino in a city of big game complexes. “We have to relay on touch, says Ebling. We feel we can touch the customers more than they can be touched by any other property because of our size.” Ebling is a 19-year Sands veteran who in the last five years alone has weathered six leadership changes, two owners, a bankruptcy reorganization, an executive purge and a demoralized workforce. His first task is getting Sands’ 2,500 justifiably skeptical employees to believe in his vision. They have seen Sands as a high-roller place and a loosest-slots place; a Hollywood place and a funky who-knows-what place.