This is a different kind of earnings season for the casino corporations. It’s both boring and intriguing. By nature, earnings reports are generally boring unless you’re a shareholder and the financials matter.
This quarter the MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment calls have had some activist investor issues that sort of changed the tone of the calls. I’m not an owner of casino stocks and I look for news when reading and listening to earnings reports. This week Caesars and Boyd Gaming reported earnings. Both companies offered some news but it was mostly financial mumbo jumbo.
Last week we gave you a heads up that there’s something happening around Caesars Entertainment. The drama was confirmed on Tuesday when Carl Icahn officially filed paperwork indicating his position of owning about 10 percent of Caesars shares. He also confirmed that he would like the company to sell itself.
Later in the week Canyon Partners LLC, also recommended that Caesars sells itself. Canyon Partners owns just over 10 percent of the shares of Caesars Entertainment. Bloomberg also reports that Oppenheimer Funds also wants the company to be sold. It’s safe to assume that Tilman Fertitta and his one percent ownership stake wants the same thing. These people and funds represent approximately 25 percent of the ownership of Caesars Entertainment.
Caesars Entertainment’s CEO Mark Frissora addressed Icahn to start the earnings call. “We intend to carefully evaluate Mr. Icahn’s suggestions, including his request for board representation and will provide updates in due course.” All indications are that someone else might be addressing the activist investors next time.
Caesars Actual Earnings
Overall, Caesars had a solid fourth quarter financially. You can see the press release of info here and the presentation here. The big news coming out of the earnings call was probably that Caesars doesn’t plan to change their fee structure this year. This is good and bad. Fees may not increase but they’re not going away either. Rather, Caesars plans to continue discounting rates for Caesars Rewards (formerly Total Rewards) customers. In fact, Caesars plans to offer more comp rooms in 2019 than in 2018. Since they don’t offer many comps in the first quarter because of conferences, expect to see another blast of discounts in the second half of the year (see page 21 of the presentation for 2018 comp distribution).
Those of you looking for the newest hotel rooms in Las Vegas should see renovations at Paris Las Vegas and Harrah’s Las Vegas this year. One funny note to me during the call was when one of the Caesars representatives said that food and beverage sales are higher when there are more people staying in the hotel. File this one in the same category as MGM’s comment that Park MGM will do better business since the entrances aren’t under construction. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t too much news from Caesars this quarter. Expect to see more drama about the company being sold over the next few months.
Boyd Gaming Is Crushing Las Vegas
Boyd Gaming earnings calls are usually financially driven. The calls usually bore this non-investor for the most part. Business is as good as it’s been in a decade – especially in Las Vegas. The Orleans had their best fourth quarter of business ever. You can see specifics in the Boyd earnings release.
Their downtown Las Vegas casinos had another great quarter and year but might face a little slowdown in the future. Construction of Circa might disrupt guests from staying and gaming at the California or Main Street Station. Once construction is complete, Boyd expects to see even more people visiting their casinos.
B-Connected Rewarding Their Best Customers
The new B-Connected players club is performing well by rewarding their best customers. It doesn’t seem like there will be an adjustment for the low rollers moving forward. For what it’s worth, I think I earned 4 points playing video poker for 15 minutes and $20 in Bingo at the Gold Coast. Not sure what that will get me in the future.
Pop Vegas at Linq
This coming attraction at The Linq was announced with little fanfare. We have some context now that there’s an exhibit planned for Pop Vegas. The venue in the promenade will host rotating pop-up experiences that are designed to be “immersive, fun, photogenic and shared on social media.”
Does anyone go to any experience that isn’t immersive in 2019? The press release says the events at Pop Vegas are being “created to appeal to Las Vegas’ 21-and-older target audience.” The first event is called “the Tattoo’d America Pop Museum.” The venue will feature tattoo-themed rooms with interactive activities. There will be 500 pieces of art by 100 tattoo artists. The event opens on February 28. If nothing else, Pop Vegas will offer something different to do. Visit popvegaslinq.com for more information on this and other events.
Think of this as Quick Hits for shows. Plenty of people visit Las Vegas and check out a show or concert. Here’s some news on a variety of shows if you’re one of those people.
- For some reason, Roseanne Barr and Suzanne Sommers are planning on a Vegas Show…together. Read more here.
- Mandalay Beach added three new concerts to their summer lineup. Read more here.
- Postmodern Jukebox will begin a new residency at 1 OAK Nightclub at The Mirage in April. Visit The Mirage for tickets and more information.
- George Strait added more shows at T-Mobile Arena. Read more here.
Virgin Las Vegas Preview, Maybe
Virgin Hotels San Francisco just opened. Everything on the website looks similar to its Chicago location. The rooms look pretty and there’s a Common’s Club which I fully expect we’ll see in Las Vegas after the Hard Rock closes for renovations to become Virgin’s Las Vegas property.
? Vegas ? Free Wifi and Don’t Charge Resort Fees
Virgin is touting the fact that they offer free wifi and don’t charge resort fees in San Francisco. It would be nice if they keep that when the Las Vegas property opens. A quick check of Expedia shows that most, if not all, hotels in San Francisco charge a resort fee. If they’re not charging fees in San Fransisco, there’s a chance they open in Las Vegas without charging extra fees.
- Las Vegas Convention and Visitors authority is selling some land on the Vegas Strip that was earmarked for the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion. Read more here.
- Speaking of the LVCC, some of the best bagels are moving closer to the convention center and the Vegas Strip. Read more about Harry’s Bagelmania here.
- The first weekend of March Madness is right around the corner. As you’d imagine room prices are a bit higher than normal at MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment properties. They’re not too crazy but you might want to check Airbnb if you’ve been waiting to book a room.
- It snowed twice in Las Vegas this week and people were freaking out. Have no fear, temperatures will be normal and in the ’70s by the end of the week. Pool season is a couple weeks away. The new NoMad pool will open in time for the aforementioned first weekend of March Madness. Read more here.
- There’s not too much you don’t know about the future of Las Vegas in this article. The one thing that stood out to me is that “a resort of 3,000 rooms now costs $3 billion – or $1 million a room.”
- There’s a new Marriott coming to Las Vegas. AC Hotel by Marriott will be built at Symphony Park near the Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas. Read more here.
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Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas – Suite Escape Stay 2 nights and get the 3rd night on us.
IHG (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza) Stay in the Moment 25% off sale
Ends 10/21. Dreams Resorts & Spas sale – Southwest Vacations
Ends 10/21. Caesars Entertainment sale – Southwest Vacations