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Mikohn Gaming cuts losses
in first quarter

May 18, 2004 4:36 AM

Looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, Mikohn Gaming Corporation reported substantial improvement in the first fiscal quarter that ended on March 31, reducing last year’s net loss of $5 million to a net loss of $2.3 million.

Applying the loss to the per share value, the loss was $0.11 per share compared to last year’s $0.39 per share.

Although revenues increased from the previous quarter they still were down from the comparison period of 2003. Revenues for the quarter were $21.2 million compared to last year’s $24.5 million. The decline was attributed to lower license fees from slot and table games and lower product sales. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) rose to $2.6 million, an increase over the $2.2 million experienced in the first quarter of 2003.

Russel McMeekin, president and CEO, said he was pleased that "for the first time since June 2003, we recorded sequential revenue growth with an increase of over 5% in the first quarter." He said the achievement was accomplished despite the fact that "several large contracts were not completed until the second quarter."

Based on current conditions, the company said it expected revenues for the year to be between $92 million and $100 million.

MTR Gaming

MTR Gaming Inc. (MNTG) saw its earnings decline by 9% during the first quarter of 2004.

The company reported that earnings for the quarter that ended on March 31 were $3 million or $0.11 per share on revenue of $75.7 million compared to $3.3 million or $0.12 a share in the first quarter a year ago.

The decline, the company said, was caused by increased interest expense, depreciation and continued costs associated with the company’s purchase of Scioto Downs in Ohio.

However, the company said it had higher revenues from its gaming operations, as well as from its pari-mutuel, food, beverage and lodging revenue sources. All of these combined, said Ted Arneault, president and CEO, increased 21%.

Showing a sharp increase was the company’s revenue stream from the 3,220 slot machines it operates at Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort in Chester, West Virginia. Here, revenue jumped to $70.8 million from last year’s $59.9 million.

During the period, the company purchased the property in Downtown Las Vegas that bears the well-known gaming name of Binion’s Horseshoe Hotel & Casino. The company has an arrangement with Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) to operate the casino for at least one year.

Riviera Holdings

Riviera Holdings Corporation (RIV), operator of casinos in Las Vegas and Black Hawk, Colo, showed improvement in both its net revenues and net earnings during the first fiscal quarter that ended on March 31.

Net revenues rose to $50.5 million, a 6.3% increase over the comparable quarter while income from operations reached $7.4 million, or $2.7 million more that last year. Net income was $540,000 or $0.15 per diluted share compared to the 2003 net loss of $2.2 million or $0.62 per share.

The company said Las Vegas revenues increased by $1.6 million or 4% during the period while hotel occupancy rose to 94.9% compared with the 92% reported last year. Average daily rate per room, it said, was up $5.10 to $66.94 per day.

On the front burner for the company is a proposal for casino/hotel to be built in Jefferson County, Mo. The company said it plans to present the proposal to the Missouri Gaming Commissions in competition with three other applicants for the two licenses to be awarded.