Do you know when earnings are going to be reported? Looks like it's sitting at resistance level now waiting on either earnings or a major market move...whichever comes first.
As for expenses, in St. Louis I'm seeing more commercials now than in the past, or maybe I'm just noticing them now. One is about increased comps on weekends and the other focuses mostly on the elimination of the loss limit.
Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009 Posted on Mon, Jan. 05, 2009 Place your bets on the outlook for 2009 By RICK ALM The Kansas City Star
The triple whammy of recession, deteriorating credit markets and withering consumer spending is pushing some U.S. casino operators toward debt default or worse.
Asset sales or bankruptcy and debt restructuring in 2009 may be the only way out. The first to go may be Herbst Gaming, already in default and operating under forbearance agreements. Herbst’s holdings include the St. Jo Frontier Casino in St. Joseph and the Mark Twain Casino in LaGrange, Mo.
Other casino outfits with debt loads worrying Wall Street include Harrah’s Entertainment and Isle of Capri Casinos.
If the economy continues to wobble through midyear, Harrah’s two and Isle’s three Missouri properties are among those at risk to go on the auction block or close by year’s end.
Here’s more crystal-ball gazing for 2009:
•Local casino revenues in 2009 will decline for the first time in history — or maybe the second time. Data for 2008 will be released next week, and it looks like a cliff hanger whether 2007 was eclipsed.
The Kansas City market has grown every year since 1994, but 2007’s record tally of $720.7 million was only a negligible gain over $714.5 million in 2006.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Andrew Zarnett forecasts a 5 percent national decline in 2009 gaming revenues.
•Ameristar Casinos Inc. will be sold. The death in late 2006 of company founder, patriarch and majority stock holder Craig H. Neilsen shifted ownership of his 55 percent interest in the company to his nonprofit charitable foundation that supports spinal cord injury research.
Tax implications of that arrangement will force an eventual sale, and Ameristar stock — like most of the rest of the industry’s these days — is dirt cheap, closing Monday at $9.80. The day after Neilsen died, shares traded at $31.32.
Until credit markets crashed, an impressive short list of potential Ameristar suitors included:
MGM Mirage (withdrew from Kansas bidding); Las Vegas Sands (withdrew from Kansas bidding); Penn National Gaming (withdrew from Kansas bidding and owner of Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa in Riverside); Boyd Gaming (owner of the former Sam’s Town Casino in Kansas City); Australia’s Crown Ltd. gaming group; and sovereign wealth fund Dubai World that is heavily invested in the MGM Mirage.
•Kansas lawmakers will reopen debate over the state’s flawed casino law. Expect more statutory incongruities such as tax concessions to woo casino developers back to the Sunflower State and a smoking ban that would chase ’em away.
Meanwhile, bidding to operate state-owned casinos under the current law has re-opened in Wyandotte County and the markets around Wichita and Joplin, Mo. Some bidders from the failed first round might try again, but don’t bet the state will again embrace the same suitors who jilted them.
•The Missouri Gaming Commission will be asked to approve a move by the President Casino aboard the Admiral in St. Louis to somewhere else in the city, most likely the Chain of Rocks Bridge area several miles north of downtown. An ensuing legal donnybrook will wind up in court.
•Voter repeal of Missouri’s $500 loss limit has attracted one chip counterfeiter to test the state’s casino security systems. Look for pro card counters increasingly to visit the high-stakes blackjack tables in Missouri, where card counting is legally protected.
•Congress will approve a measure to study the potential effect of legalizing and taxing online gambling. continued......