Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp. posted a smaller fourth-quarter loss Tuesday, helped by significantly lower expenses and improving business in Las Vegas.
Signs that the casino market may be stabilizing in Las Vegas is critical for casino operators, as the market makes up the bulk of business for many of them. Las Vegas has struggled due to the housing downturn, high unemployment and soft economic conditions.
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But Boyd President and CEO Keith Smith said his company has seen improvement in its properties that Las Vegas locals visit as well as increased visitation to the city.
"As the economic recovery accelerates, consumer spending will increase, providing us the opportunity to capitalize on our more efficient business model," he said in a statement.
Boyd lost $1 million, or a penny per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with a loss of $220.8 million, or $2.51 per share, a year ago.
Excluding debt retirement gains, preopening expenses related to Echelon and the write-off of deferred loan fees, Boyd had a loss of less than a penny per share for the quarter.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, whose estimates typically exclude one-time items, expected break-even results.
Revenue declined 9 percent to $384.9 million from $422.6 million as gaming, food and beverage and room revenue fell. The performance missed Wall Street's $386.1 million.
But Boyd slashed expenses to $367.2 million from $677.5 million.
Casino operators have come under pressure during the recession as gamblers have spent less on table games and slot machines. These players have also tightened their spending on other casino-related purchases, such as lodging, food and entertainment.
For the Las Vegas locals segment, Boyd reported stable visitation at sites in the Las Vegas Valley.
Boyd returned to a full-year profit of $4.2 million, or 5 cents per share. It lost $223 million, or $2.54 per share, in the previous year.
Annual revenue slipped 8 percent to $1.64 billion from $1.78 billion.
Boyd owns and runs 16 properties in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana and Louisiana.