The former owner of Oriental Trading Company in Omaha, Nebraska is fighting back against two Las Vegas casinos.
A grand jury has indicted millionaire Terrence “Terry” Watanabe, 52, on felony charges of owing more than $15 million in gambling debt. He pleaded not guilty on May 29 in Las Vegas; his trial is scheduled for November 16.
Watanabe claims the management at Caesars Palace and The Rio casinos in Las Vegas kept him in a constant state of intoxication and gave him prescription drugs. He claims that those actions caused his losses to increase through no fault of his own.
Las Vegas casino operating policies prohibit serving intoxicated patrons.
The properties are declining comment.
Watanabe could face probation or up to 16 years in prison if convicted of the two felony theft and two bad check charges.
Onex Corporation has acquired some of Tropicana Entertainment LLC’s debt at a discounted rate, which will give the private equity firm control of the company’s prized Las Vegas Strip property after it emerges from bankruptcy.
Tropicana’s reorganization plan, which was approved by a Delaware bankruptcy court earlier this month, eliminates more than $2.4 billion in debt and more than $125 million in annual interest payments from the books.
Onex leveraged Tropicana’s depressed economic condition and bought more than $200 million of the privately held company’s $440 million term loan, which is secured by the 51-year-old Tropicana Resort & Casino. Toronto-based Onex will pay for the debt with a credit agreement specifically set up for the purchases, according to a recent securities filing.
Onex partner and former MGM Mirage President Alex Yemenidjian will become chief executive of the Las Vegas casino under terms of Tropicana’s restructuring plan.
Tropicana Resort & Casino rests on 34 acres in Las Vegas and includes more than 1,850 hotel rooms, a casino of about 61,000 square feet, five restaurants and an 850-seat showroom.
Tropicana Entertainment’s reorganization also includes an exit financing commitment from Icahn Capital, a company owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn. Icahn has been interested in the company’s Atlantic City, N.J., casino, which will be sold in a bankruptcy court auction.
Lights, camera, action! Producers for feature films, reality shows, commercials, and other film projects are flocking to Nevada in droves, despite the sluggish economy.
One reason that Nevada continues to draw film crews from around the world is that the locations are nearly impossible to economically replicate.
“It’s hard to recreate the Las Vegas Strip in front of a green screen,” says Dannette Tull of the Nevada Film Office. “And the gaming – we’re obviously known for that. And we have unique locations, which is what makes Nevada so special.”
The Nevada Film Office’s slogan is “Your Imagination, Our Locations.” Nevada continues to be an industry leader in attracting film projects – despite the failure of a recent tax incentive bill to get out of the state legislature.
Film projects in Nevada have accounted for more than $100 million in revenue for the past nine years in a row.