Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jamul Casino Update...

Good news for opponents. Here's an excerpt from the latest Lakes Entertainment filing (even more detail at the link):
Lakes has contracts to develop and finance a casino to be built on the reservation of the Jamul Indian Village (the 'Jamul Tribe') located near San Diego, California. This project has been delayed due to various political and regulatory issues related to access to the proposed casino site. Because of these issues and the increasingly uncertain financial and credit markets, during the fourth quarter of 2008, Lakes reduced the value of its assets associated with the project. Although the value of Lakes' assets related to the Jamul Casino project were significantly lowered, Lakes currently expects to continue with the project. Lakes acknowledges that significant risk exists related to this project. However, the Jamul Tribe has the two basic requirements to eventually build a successful project - federal recognition as an Indian Tribe and Indian land eligible for gaming. Lakes has concluded that it is not currently in its best interest to terminate its involvement with the Jamul Casino project altogether. Lakes will continue to monitor the status of this project.

Net unrealized losses on notes receivable relate to the Company's notes receivable from Indian tribes, which are adjusted to estimated fair value based upon the current status of the related tribal casino projects and evolving market conditions. In the fourth quarter of 2008, net unrealized losses on notes receivable were $18.8 million, compared to net unrealized losses of $1.3 million in the prior-year period. The net unrealized losses in the fourth quarter of 2008 were primarily due to the recognition of the loss associated with the project with the Jamul Tribe in the amount of $11.8 million, discussed above. Lakes also recognized an impairment on intangible assets and land held for development related to the Jamul project in the amount of $20.0 million during the fourth quarter of 2008. Unrealized losses on the notes receivable from the Shingle Springs Tribe related to the Red Hawk Casino were approximately $6.6 million, and resulted primarily from a decline in projected interest rates and an increase in the discount rate associated with this project as a result of financial market conditions.
I've highlighted the key qualifiers in the report. Remember that in filings such as this one, the company will spin every event in the most positive language their auditors and lawyers will let them get away with. My own interpretation of the above, minus the spin:

“This turkey is almost done. Unless a miracle occurs, we're going to wrap it in newspaper and bury it.”

This thing is going south in a hurry. Couldn't happen too soon for me...