Even regional casinos struggle through year-end

Feb 9, 2010 3:13 AM

Industry Insider by Ray Poirier |

Any hopes that regional casinos would turn positive during the fourth quarter reporting season ended last week when Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK), Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) and Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA) reported on the quarter that ended on Dec. 31, 2009.

Pinnacle Entertainment said its net loss narrowed to $242 million or $4.03 per share compared to the previous year when the loss was $297.7 million or $4.97 per share.

After removing pre-opening and development costs, the adjusted loss was $0.39 per share, substantially more than the analysts’ consensus of $0.10 per share.

Revenue during the three month period fell 5 percent to $245 million from the previous year’s $258.9 million.

Company officials described the reporting period as challenging.

"While the first half of the year was solid," said interim CEO John Giovenco, "the continuing deterioration of the economy resulted in less visitation and lower play per customer."

For the full fiscal year, the company said the loss was $258.3 million or $4.30 per share, down from $322.6 million or $5.38 per share in 2008.

The company said it has abandoned plans to build a casino in Atlantic City and will sell the 19 acres of Boardwalk property where it demolished the old Sands Casino Hotel. However, it will open its River City Casino in St. Louis County, Missouri, on March 4.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Ray Poirier