More casinos ditch Andersen to comply with Ban
By Paul
Both MGM Mirage and Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. have dispensed with the services of indicted accountancy firm Arthur Andersen recently, both replacing Andersen with Deloitte & Touche. Two more casinos are due to follow suit soon to comply with last the deadline from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC), which voted two months ago to distance the casino industry from Andersen due to the firm's federal obstruction-of-justice charge in the Enron Corp. investigation. The commission said casinos must stop doing business with Andersen by May 15, and revoked Andersen's exemption from having to obtain a casino service industry license. Andersen is now on trial in Houston.

The directors of GB Holdings Inc., which owns Sands Casino Hotel, will discuss hiring a new auditor at a board meeting Thursday, Sands General Counsel Frederick Kraus said. Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. expects to hire a new auditor by mid-June, the company said in a federal securities report filed Wednesday.

Casinos were not required to notify the commission that they had stopped dealings with Andersen, according to commission spokesman Daniel Heneghan.

'Obviously if they have not stopped they would be in violation of the order and be subject to whatever penalties would be appropriate,' he said.

The order to dump Andersen has meant the casinos having to implement a much swifter switch-over than usual in these cases: 'It's a big deal,' said Harrah's spokesman Gary Thompson. 'Normally speaking, if you switch an auditing firm, it takes a great deal of time, particularly if you have far-flung properties, as we do with 25 around the country. It takes the new group a long time to get up to speed.'

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