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Vegemite Is Finally an Australian Brand Again After $350 Million Deal

Vegemite Is Finally an Australian Brand Again After $350 Million Deal

Vegemite was surprisingly owned by American company Mondolez; now it’s back in Aussie hands

The favorite brown goop from Down Under is officially Australian… again.

Vegemite will again be owned by an Australian company after, surprisingly, being owned by American company Mondolez for years.The salty, yeast-based spread was sold to Australia’s Bega Cheese in a deal worth approximately $345.3 million USD (or $460 million Australian dollars).

The news has been greeted by Australians with approval, who had lamented in recent years that their most iconic brands had been sold off to other companies, like Beck’s beer, which was sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2008.

The most Australian thing in the ever actually American... Till now @Vegemite

— Siam Hooks สยาม ฮุคส (@siamoney) January 20, 2017

AN AUSTRALIAN CHEESE COMPANY BOUGHT VEGEMITE BACK FROM AMERICA FROM KRAFT IM YELLING

— craig! (@_SUNSHlNE) January 19, 2017

Australians consume 22 million jars of vegemite a year, according to The New York Times.

But with the sale comes a political controversy. Vegemite is halal (meaning it can be consumed by religious Muslims) and has been criticized for its label. Bega Cheese has no plans to remove either the halal designation or the kosher one.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


Casinos in Pursuit of New Players

Twanging guitars and clattering wheels of chance might once have sounded like a weird combination. No longer. In March, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harveys Casino Resorts plan to open a youth-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The casino will feature touch- screen-style video machines that will let gamblers play a variety of games, and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments. Attracting younger gamblers is just one strategy on which the casino industry is relying to keep its business growing.

After years of aggressive expansion, gambling companies face the prospect that the capacity of casinos will eventually outpace the number of players to fill them. So companies are looking to attract new customers. They are also looking to bigger attractions -- like a coming Mirage Resorts casino in the middle of a man-made lake, and MGM Grand's New York-New York project -- to pull in the casual tourist. Finally, they are considering new markets in the United States and in nations from Greece to South Africa.

At the same time, casino companies are attracting corporate suitors. Last week, for instance, the ITT Corporation, which operates hotels and casinos internationally through its ITT Sheraton subsidiary, agreed to acquire Caesars World Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. The deal will benefit ITT by bringing it Caesars gambling management experience and linking the Caesars operations with ITT's hotels worldwide.

The ITT move followed its acquisition of Madison Square Garden and coincided with the sale of some of its financial service operations. It is seen by many analysts as an effort by ITT to concentrate on the entertainment and leisure industry. By buying Caesars, ITT -- already the owner of the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas -- is also able to scrap its plans to build the Desert Kingdom casino, a three-year project with an estimated cost of $1 billion.

There is speculation about other acquisitions, Naomi Talish, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said. And the number of riverboat-style casinos and gambling operations on Indian reservations is also expected to grow in the next year.

For the moment, there is little need to find new gamblers. Last year, Americans wagered about $297.3 billion on casino games and $393.3 billion on all forms of legal gambling including parimutuels and lotteries, according to a recent Smith Barney report. That figure has been growing in recent years at about 10 percent annually.

But for all the current interest in gambling deals, there are troubling signs on the horizon. The average age of those playing slot machines is 46. And younger people, raised on a diet of Nintendo and Sega, have little interest in spending hours building their biceps pulling one-armed bandits. Hence, the touch-screen-style video gambling machines and gambling tables in the shapes of musical instruments at the Harveys-Hard Rock venture.

Meanwhile, some smaller gambling companies have been hit by bankruptcies. And even among larger and healthier concerns like the Promus Companies, which operates Harrah's casinos, the cost of borrowing to finance new operations is becoming much more expensive.

Promus recently agreed to pay more than 21 percent on borrowed funds to finance the construction of a casino in New Orleans. Coupons on the bonds pay a heady interest rate of 14.25 percent the company also agreed to give bondholders 7.25 percent of the casino's cash flow up to $350 million a year, according to a Harrah's New Orleans official.

"This was the year that investors learned that risks involved in casinos were higher than originally perceived," Jason Ader, an analyst with Smith Barney, said.


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