CASINOS operator London Clubs International has warned it will go bust unless it renegotiates its £253m debt. Reporting a first-half pretax loss of £114m after its disastrous investment in the Aladdin casino venture in Las Vegas, LCI said it had breached its loan covenants.

 

It is in talks with British lenders and hopes it can clinch a debt restructuring in the first quarter of next year. ‘If a satisfactory agreement is not reached, then the company would be unable to continue trading,’ it said.

 

Shareholder attention is shifting from Aladdin, in which LCI lost £99.8m in write-offs and operating losses during the period, to London, where it suffered ‘an abnormally low win percentage’ at its Les Ambassadeurs casino.

 

Bad debts ballooned too. A single high-roller is understood to have failed to honour a £4m loss, though LCI is confident of recovering the debt.

 

LCI also spent heavily on advisers as it extricated itself from Aladdin, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. In a complex settlement with Aladdin’s bankers announced last month, LCI has drawn a line under the affair. Chairman Ron Hobbs called the results ‘disappointing’ but said he was encouraged by recent improved levels of trading in London.

 

Private Nevada Trusted Online Casino Singapore salons could open by March.

 

If Nevada regulators vote next month to approve new rules for private gambling, officials say the first exclusive casino salons for high rollers could open by late March.

 

The regulation proposed by the state Gaming Control Board requires the big-stakes gamblers, known as “whales,” to have at least $1 million in cash or casino credit. No table game bets could be lower than $500.

 

But the Nevada Resort Association, the casino industry’s lobbying arm, is trying to cut the $1 million private casino entrance standard to $500,000.

 

Association lawyers argue casinos need flexibility to keep customers from migrating to other gambling jurisdictions that already permit private wagering.

 

Private casinos already operate in Asia, London and at a Connecticut tribal casino.

 

Casino representatives already got the required minimum table game bet reduced. The initial plan was for a $20,000 minimum bet, but that was first cut to $10,000, then to $3,000 and finally to the $500 minimum.

 

If the board’s parent Nevada Gaming Commission, meeting Jan. 24 in Las Vegas, approves the proposed rules, state Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said Wednesday the first private salons could be operating in about two months.

 

Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard declined to predict whether his five-member panel will adopt the proposed rule.

 

Bernhard said the commission isn’t opposed to industry flexibility, but wants to make sure the rule meets with the intent of the 2001 Legislature when it allowed private casino betting.

 

Two Nevada college professors and casino industry experts said Wednesday that the casino industry needs the flexibility to set private casino betting minimums and admittance standards.

 

Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, said competition for the world’s biggest bettors is fierce and that Nevada regulators should help the state’s casino operators capture as much of the top end as possible.

 

“Casinos should have considerable latitude in determining who qualifies for the (private casino),” Eadington said. “Players … want to have the maximum flexibility in setting their wager levels and limits. Casinos would want to accommodate their players’ wishes.”

 

University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor Bill Thompson agreed, albeit with a word of caution.

 

“I think it’s OK if we cater to these big bettors,” Thompson said. “I don’t think we give up too much in terms of our traditionally wide-open gaming if we allow the biggest players to gamble in private.”

 

He worries that Nevada’s gamblers will reject the state if low rollers are offered inferior games to those placed in the proposed private casinos. Thompson said regulators should require that all games offered in the private casinos be available to the general public.