Caesars Entertainment Corp. took more than a three-quarter billion dollar hit on their third quarter financials due to costs associated with the restructuring of a bankrupt subsidiary, promising nearly $1 billion to first-tier lien holders. Revenue was up nearly 13% (not counting the bankrupt Caesars Entertainment Operating Co.) to $1.14 billion, giving the company $139 million in earnings.
In a conference call Monday, CEO Mark Frissora told investors that the company has improved its bottom line through changes in marketing and operating efficiencies and signaled hope for the behemoth that runs about 50 properties in the U.S. with 9 of the resorts located in Las Vegas. Properties included in the numbers include Caesars Palace, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Reno and about 20 more properties.
One of those properties is the newly opened Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino in North Carolina, which is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and opened in late September. They also operate the highly profitable nearby Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. And although room rates at its Las Vegas properties increased 10% last year, they have experienced higher returns. Another element leading to the uptick was 20% revenue growth from online operations operated by Caesars Interactive Entertainment.
“The enterprise had solid fundamental business improvement driven by Las Vegas revenue performance,” Frissora said. “We are confident that our strategy will increase value for our stakeholders over the long-term.”
Cost savings were realized by changing their marketing program from direct mail to email and other more modern methods. The move is expected to give the company more control over tailoring offers to individuals at less cost.
If bankruptcy restructuring goes according to plan Caesars will create a real estate investment trust (REIT) that would own Caesars properties, leasing them back to the company on a long term basis. Several other large companies are using, or planning to use the vehicle which shields revenues from some taxes, including MGM, Pinnacle, and Penn National Gaming. Several properties under the current parent company are undergoing improvements and renovations including flagship Caesars Palace which announced a $75 million renovation plan to celebrate the iconic property’s 50th anniversary.
Regarding more marketing innovations, Frissora said the company is creating new attractions to appeal to younger customers. He brought investor’s attention to the new “Tag Lounges” added to several properties featuring virtual gaming centers and electronic gaming tables. The Linq and O’Sheas Casino have also recently seen the addition of “social areas”.
“We’re creating new, social environments for younger customers to enjoy,” Frissora said.