Slots make ‘huge difference’ at MTR park

Aug 14, 2001 6:06 AM

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to the see the day that Mountaineer Park would stage a day of racing featuring $875,000 in purse money,” exclaimed Rich Edgeman, longtime follower of the Sport of Kings.

“I’ve been going to Mountaineer Park, which was formerly known as Waterford Park, for many years and it was always a third-rate track. But, the slots have made a huge difference. I was there the other day and people were standing in line to get their chance go play the one-arm bandits,” he said.

The huge purse day took place on Saturday when the track put on the $500,000 West Virginia Derby and five supporting stakes, attracting both name horses and name jockeys such as Jerry Bailey, Pat Day and Jorge Chavez.

But, to the man responsible for the success of the track and its parent company, MTR Gaming Group Inc. (MNTG) this was the culmination of a dream. Edson R. ’Ted” Arneault, president and CEO of the company, took over the operation nearly a decade ago with the intention of developing the company and the track into a first-class operation.

Legislation approving slot machines for the state’s two horse tracks and one dog track made the difference.

Last week, Arneault announced record results for the company’s second quarter ended June 30. Revenues, he said, increased 29% to $54.3 million; EBITDA (earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization) was up 26%; operating income grew$18% and net income rose 19% to $5.1 million or $0.20 per diluted share.

“We are pleased with the results we are seeing from our expanded operations and aggressive marketing campaign for Mountaneer,” Arneault said. “Net win from slot operations at Mountaineer increased 29% to $44.6 million in the second quarter from the second quarter of 2000, while net win-per-day-per-machine was $261 with 1,905 machines compared to $282 with 1,355 machines in the same period last year.”

He added that the company was building a hotel next to the track and would be installing 595 additional slot machines.

Anchor Gaming

“A blowout fiscal quarter” prompted Marc Falcone, gaming analyst for Bear, Stearns to upgrade his rating on Anchor Gaming (SLOT) form attractive to buy. The company’s fourth quarter earnings were $16.7 million (before on-time charges) or $1.24 per share.

“The results,” said Falcone, “handily beat both our and the Street consensus estimate of $1.07 per share.

Anchor Gaming said EBITDA increased 16% to $57 million compared to the second quarter of last year’s fiscal year. Per share earnings in 2000 were $0.84.

One-time charges were taken for the sale of Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino to company founder and former chair, Stan Fulton, and his associates.