INTERNET GAMING Amendment may derail ban bill

WASHINGTON — Momentum to ban Internet gambling came to a screeching halt Wednesday when a House panel voted 16-15 to attach an amendment that broadens its restrictions. The dramatic outcome came down to a final vote cast by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., on a key amendment by Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah. With the House Judiciary Committee deadlocked at 15-15, Waters walked over to the chair of Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat. After a brief discussion, Waters announced her vote in favor of Cannon’s amendment, which would remove exemptions granted to technologies employed by state lotteries and the horse racing industry. “I was trying to think of the effect of this amendment and what would happen if it passed. I wanted to slow this (Internet gambling ban) down,” Waters said. “I was trying to ferret out how to signal my distaste with it all,” Waters said. “We need to stop piecemealing what we are going to allow and not allow on the Internet.” The vote on final passage of the Internet gambling ban proposed by Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, was only slightly less compelling. With the committee again deadlocked at 15-15, the outcome hinged once more on the

Investors punish gaming stocks after win report

Investor jitters over the Las Vegas gambling industry’s prospects in 2001 continued after the state Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday that Nevada’s gaming win fell 3.2 percent in November, its second decline in three months. Gaming investors reacted by continuing their sell-off of the city’s largest casino operators. On Wednesday, Mandalay Resort Group dropped 94 cents to $20, Park Place Entertainment Corp. fell 44 cents to $10.06, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. retreated 81 cents to $23.88 and MGM MIRAGE lost 38 cents to close at $28.56. But to gaming analysts, who have largely turned bearish on gaming’s prospects in 2001, the numbers were met with a shrug. They’re not interested in what happened in November 2000 — rather, they’re interested in where Las Vegas is going in the first months of 2001. “Its effect on the stock prices is more psychological than anything,” said Daniel Davila, gaming analyst with Hibernia Southcoast Capital. “I would caution people from putting a whole lot of importance on what happened in November. What happened two months ago has already been factored into the price of the stock.” Declines aren’t surprising, Davila said, because Las Vegas room rates had reached record highs, and the city’s gaming