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Edited Transcript of CZR.OQ earnings conference call or presentation 5-Nov-20 10:00pm GMT

·40 min read

Q3 2020 Caesars Entertainment Inc Earnings Call Nov 6, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Caesars Entertainment Inc earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 10:00:00pm GMT TEXT version of Transcript ================================================================================ Corporate Participants ================================================================================ * Anthony L. Carano Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - President & COO * Bret Yunker Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CFO * Brian Agnew * Thomas Robert Reeg Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director ================================================================================ Conference Call Participants ================================================================================ * Barry Jonathan Jonas Truist Securities, Inc., Research Division - Gaming Analyst * Chad C. Beynon Macquarie Research - Head of US Consumer, SVP and Senior Analyst * Daniel Brian Politzer JPMorgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst * David Brian Katz Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Analyst of Gaming, Lodging & Leisure * Jared H. Shojaian Wolfe Research, LLC - Director & Senior Analyst * John G. DeCree Union Gaming Securities, LLC, Research Division - Director and Head of North America Equity & High Yield Research * Shaun Clisby Kelley BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD * Steven Moyer Wieczynski Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst * Thomas Glassbrooke Allen Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst ================================================================================ Presentation -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Caesars Entertainment Inc. 2020 Third Quarter Earnings Call. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Brian Agnew, Senior Vice President of Finance, Investor Relations and Treasury. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brian Agnew, [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, thank you, Ashley, and good afternoon to everyone on the call. Welcome to our conference call to discuss our third quarter 2020 earnings. This afternoon, we issued a press release announcing our third quarter financial results for the period ended September 30, 2020. The A copy of the press release is available on the Investor Relations section of our website at investor.caesars.com. Joining me on the call today are Tom Reeg, our Chief Executive Officer; Anthony Carano, our President and Chief Operating Officer; and Bret Yunker, our Chief Financial Officer. Before I turn the call over to Tom, I would like to remind you that during today's conference call, we may make certain forward-looking statements about the company's performance. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and, therefore, one should not place undue reliance on them. Forward-looking statements are also subject to the inherent risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed. For additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ from those discussed in our forward-looking statements, you should refer to the cautionary statements contained in our press release as well as the risk factors contained in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Caesars Entertainment undertakes no obligations to revise or update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after today's call. Also during today's call, the company may discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G. The GAAP financial measures most directly comparable to each non-GAAP financial measure discussed, and the reconciliation of these differences between each non-GAAP financial measure and then the comparable GAAP financial measure can be found on the company's website at investor.caesars.com, by selecting the press release regarding the company's 2020 third quarter financial results. I will now turn the call over to Tom. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks, Brian. Good afternoon, everybody. We're back to report our third quarter earnings. As you look at our income statement, keep in mind that Eldorado Resorts was the surviving entity in the transaction. We changed our name to Caesars Entertainment. So there's a lot of noise in the financial statements you're looking at 2019 numbers that are legacy Eldorado. You're looking at 2020 numbers that are legacy Eldorado only through July 20, and then the combined company through the end of the quarter. We're going to cut through and get you to what we think are the key points in the quarter. Our same-store adjusted EBITDA in the quarter was a little over $460 million which was a little ahead of the wide end of the range of our pre-release during our equity offering. We're quite pleased with the progress that we've made since closing the transaction. We've seen quite a bit of opportunity within Caesars. Some was expected, some were nice surprises. We continue to believe that we will bring the consolidated EBITDA margin in a post-COVID world at least to the mid- to high 30s, if not 40% EBITDA margin in the consolidated entity. Vegas, Anthony will get into detail, but we did $60 million of EBITDA in Vegas. And keep in mind that was with dragging Rio and Cromwell and Planet Hollywood were closed for the whole quarter. Planet Hollywood and Rio have opened since Bally's was also close for part of the quarter. So we are carrying operating losses relative to those assets to get to that $60 million number. Our occupancy for the quarter in Las Vegas was just under 60%, just few basis points under 60%. We're running in the mid-50s on weekdays now and weekends were well into the mid- to high 90s. So we've been heartened by our performance. Clearly, that's a key piece of evidence on the strength of the Caesars rewards program. Pavan Kapur at Caesars, who we inherited on the yield management side, is a wizard with this stuff and has done a tremendous job for us in Vegas, and we've moved him throughout the company in this area. So we're excited with what Pavan and his group will bring to the table for us. As I said, the merger closed on July 20. So obviously, that was during the quarter. Also, we announced a cash offer to acquire William Hill during the quarter for 272p per share. That shareholder vote will take place on November 19 as is -- as needs to be the case under U.K. takeover code. We cash confirmed the entire amount for that transaction, including an equity offering that was just shy of $2 billion on October 1 of this year. We entered -- we expanded our relationship with ESPN in the quarter on the sports betting side, which we think is an exciting piece for customer acquisition for us. We've got a co-exclusive link out across all ESPN channels with DraftKings, and we're excited with what that will bring to the table. We were also active on the asset sale front, we closed the sale -- or we announced the sale, I'm sorry, of Tropicana Evansville for $480 million to Twin River and GLPI just about a week ago. You should expect to see more news in Indiana prior to the end of the year from us. And I would say a couple of things that I'd stress as takeaways and questions that I get. On the operating side of the business, if you annualize the costs that are out of the business this quarter, excluding gaming taxes, which obviously reduce that as gaming revenue goes down, our run rate cost reduction is about $2 billion from pre-COVID levels. There's obviously a lot of talk about what will come back, what won't come back. A lot of those costs are never coming back, as I said. Over the last several quarters, none of that has changed. As I said, I think we're going to get to 35% to 40% EBITDA margins at a minimum. It's enjoyable from my seat to see our peers in the space reporting the same types of cost savings opportunities that we've been talking about for many years and to see Las Vegas locals margins in excess of 40% for the quarter at a couple of our peers. That's a road map to what's coming. You think about what revenue is missing from our business. It's the highest flow-through revenue in the business. It's hotel room rate and occupancy in Las Vegas. And what I -- I told you 2 quarters ago, prior to the reopenings that you were going to be surprised with what regionals could do on the margin side. And we had another quarter where if you look at our peer regionals without destination properties, EBITDA was up substantially. Anthony will get into that. What I'd tell you today is when we get into a post-COVID world, the pent-up demand you're going to see for gaming in general and Las Vegas, in particular, is going to be beyond your wildest dreams. Your -- and the flow-through that you're going to see in the sector is unlike anything that's happened historically in this space. And so I can't tell you when is that going to happen. I can't -- I wish I could answer when the public health situation will change. But as we look at the pieces of our database that are missing or lagging, they're the most profitable pieces of our database. It's the 55 and over cohort that's not coming. These are people that are not going anywhere and are not spending and are going to come out of this with significant pent-up demand and spending power. And it's going to be extremely powerful what you'll see, I think, across the entertainment space, but particularly in casinos and particularly in Las Vegas. The other question I get all the time is about sports and online. And I'd tell you, our New Jersey casino business continues to ramp up even after physical properties reopen. We're now on a run rate for $150 million of annual revenue out of the iGaming business in New Jersey at margins in the mid-30s. So we're extremely excited about that business. We think controlling our destiny in this space positions us to be a long-term winner. The ability to wrap our iGaming and our iCasino into a single wallet, attached to your Caesars reward database with the ability to earn and use points in any way that you'd like, online or offline. Our customers truly get an immersive experience in this company. And you see it with what we're doing in Vegas. We think that's going to translate into the online business. And I don't really have a road map to what the ultimate size of business this will be, but I do know that if you're betting against the American people's propensity to gamble or you're betting against the lower 4 states to attract tax revenue when their budgets are in the place that they are today, that's been a losing bet since the dawn of civilization. So I feel real good about where we are, where we're headed, and I'll turn it over to Anthony. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anthony L. Carano, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - President & COO [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you, Tom, and good afternoon to everyone on the call. I'd like to take a few minutes to provide you with some operational highlights for our portfolio during the third quarter. Before I begin, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of our team members for their hard work and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our operations performed extremely well during these trying times due to the outstanding service that our guests receive on a daily basis from all of our great team members. Our success this quarter is a clear reflection of the commitment our team members who continue to work hard each day to provide a safe, healthy and exciting environment for our guests and their fellow team members. Now turning to operations. We now have 55 of our 56 properties reopened. As we mentioned in our press release, our regional properties are performing strongly. Within our regional segment and excluding destination markets like Atlantic City, Reno, New Orleans and Tahoe, our regional properties generated a revenue decline of 11% and EBITDA growth of 10%, leading to over 700 basis points of margin expansion, 10 properties had margin growth of over 1,000 basis points. In total, and including the destination markets in our regional portfolio, regional EBITDA for the third quarter was $447 million. Now turning to Las Vegas and our regional destination markets. Starting with Las Vegas, we now have every property open, except the Rio. We generated $60 million of adjusted EBITDA in Las Vegas in the quarter with operating performance improving each month throughout the quarter, leading to a strong month of September. We continue to see strong occupancy trends on the weekends, in excess of 90% with midweek occupancy still running in the 50% to 60% range. We were encouraged when Governor Sisolak lifted the meeting caps from 50 to 250 people, which has allowed us to host some small group meetings in Q4. Excluding the closed properties during the quarter, property level EBITDA was approximately $100 million. Our destination markets in the regional portfolio displayed sequential improvement in operating performance throughout the quarter, leading to September showing the displayed sequential improvement in operating performance throughout the quarter, leading to September showing material improvement in the rate of EBITDA decline versus July and August. These regional destination properties with large hotel room portfolios are slowly recovering as operations return to normal and customers are returning to the properties. Overall, our immediate actions to reduce operating expenses at our reopened properties contributed to a leaner cost structure that we believe will contribute to sustainable EBITDA margin expansion. We are encouraged by the performance of the regional markets and the sequential rate of change in property performance within our destination markets during the quarter. With that, I'll now turn the call over to Bret for some additional insights on the third quarter and details on our balance sheet and capital structure. Bret? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bret Yunker, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CFO [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great. Thanks, Anthony. As everyone on the call is aware, we had quite an active third quarter even by our own standards. We closed on the Caesars merger on July 20 and subsequently announced the proposed transaction to acquire William Hill plc on September 30. As we mentioned in the press release, our quarter ending balance sheet was impacted by the cash required to be placed in escrow for William Hill in connection with the Rule 2.7 announcement. On October 1, we completed a public equity offering of 35.6 million shares, generating net proceeds of $1.95 billion. Additionally, in early October, we entered into a GBP 1.5 billion interim facilities agreement with 2 large international banks. Execution of this committed debt financing allowed us to release $2 billion of cash that have been escrowed on September 30, allowing us to fully repay a $900 million draw on our parent revolver and return excess cash liquidity to our balance sheet. As of today, both of our revolvers are undrawn, and our unrestricted cash position is over $2 billion. Based on current operating trends, we expect to end the year with a similar level of cash on hand and 0 revolver balances. As I mentioned on our second quarter call, our approach to maintenance and growth capital investment will be focused and disciplined. Over the next 12 months, we expect to spend approximately $300 million to $350 million on CapEx, excluding any Atlantic City-specific CapEx that's already been escrowed. With that, I'll turn it back to Tom. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [6] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks, Bret. Let me give you -- before we go to questions, let me add a few comments on cadence of business since the quarter. Sequentially, it continues to get stronger. October was better than September. September was better than August. If you think about what that looks like in Las Vegas, I'm going to give you some numbers that I'm not -- we're not in the habit of giving you, but given the cloudiness of business, as you look at the COVID world, I think it's useful. If you look at EBITDAR by month for us in Las Vegas, July was $10 million positive, and these are aggregate numbers, so include the losses from properties that were shut down. So $10 million in July, $16 million in August, $34 million in September, and October should push $50 million. We've got preliminary numbers, we've not closed the month yet. So Vegas continues to get better for us. We're not going to be talking about shutting properties midweek. Obviously, we're talking about opening additional properties. We opened Cromwell last week. I'd expect to see Rio open before the end of the year. On the group side, the second half of '21 and beyond have record business on our books. Q2 to Q4 '21 are well ahead of our 2019 pace and bookings were strong in the third quarter, basically a normal level of bookings. If you look at the Caesars Forum convention center, which was opened for about 1.5 days before everything shut down from COVID, Caesars Forum has 172 events, 1.6 million room nights, contracted worth over $600 million in rooms and banquet revenue and 78% of that business is new to Las Vegas. And what I tell you is none of that matters if the public health situation does not improve, but we are heartened by Governor Sisolak's recent movement toward socially distance meeting business and his statement that he's looking to go to 50% capacity by the beginning of 2021. That should help us save some first half 2021 business. But first quarter, you should expect we'll look very much like the last 3 quarter -- the second quarter, third quarter of '20 and this quarter as well. And with that, I'll turn it over to the operator for questions. ================================================================================ Questions and Answers -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Operator Instructions) And your first question comes from Steve Wieczynski with Stifel. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So Tom, I want to start in Vegas. And if you look at this point, you said your occupancies are running above 90% on the weekends, mid-50s weekdays. Is there any way to kind of think about that weekend kind of traffic, how much of that business in terms of the mid-90s is kind of a cash business versus whether that's a comp business or a reward redemption? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So you should presume that if you look at our historical mix, Steve, that the convention business has been replaced by casino block business, and that the other segments remain relatively constant as you look back. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Got you. And then the comments you made about demand is going to be, I think you said beyond either my wildest dreams or your wildest dreams. Was that mostly related to Vegas? Is that kind of across the entire across the entire U.S.? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's across the entire U.S. When I tell you that our 55-and-over group is significantly lagging the rest of the business that's throughout the country. And those are the people that tend to skew to older population that are not leaving their houses right now. My mother is one of those. And when you get a vaccine and you have freedom of movement and feel better in terms of the likelihood of contracting COVID, I think that the pent-up demand for Vegas and for entertainment generally is well beyond what anyone is thinking today. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [6] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And have you seen any change in that 55-and-over kind of crowd recently? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [7] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's -- everything is kind of grinding a little bit better every month, month over month, but it's baby steps. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [8] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. And then last question. So with William Hill, and I'm not sure how much you can say given the pending -- the deal hasn't closed yet. But let's say that deal does go through and you talked about that single app. Do you have any idea yet in terms of when that single app would be deployed? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [9] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm extremely limited in what I can speak to on William Hill outside of the four corners of the document. You can presume that we were already working in that direction in the former iteration and we would continue to work in that direction post closing. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [10] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from Thomas Allen with Morgan Stanley. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Glassbrooke Allen, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst [11] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So it's now been about 3.5 months since you bought Caesars. Can you talk a little bit about additional synergy opportunities you've found that you've kind of been under the hood for a bit longer? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [12] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. I mean, so the whole synergy discussion, as we talked about, was turned on its head by COVID. It's really a question of what comes back rather than what do you subtract. But Caesars ran differently than Eldorado just from a basic day-to-day operation standpoint. We run our properties off of daily P&Ls across every property that we own. Caesars measurement of EBITDA was far less frequent than that. And there wasn't a lot -- the operators didn't really have the tools to compare themselves across properties within the system. So when we were Eldorado as a private company and we were in 2 markets, we could look at those 2 markets and say, what are we doing well in one versus the other. When you've got 55, that ability becomes much, much stronger. That's a benefit of scale. And Caesars was not taking advantage of that in our estimation. And you can imagine that we are -- it took us the better part of 2 months to get to a daily P&L, and we're still working through the kinks in the Caesars system, but we just went through our first round of quarterly reviews, and it's eye opening for the operators to see when I'm looking at each line item, each department and versus others in my market or other similar properties, things that I was unaware that I was inefficient in become obvious. And that sort of block -- basic blocking and tackling is what we're working through now. And that's why I tell you I have an extreme level of confidence in hitting our margin targets here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Glassbrooke Allen, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Senior Analyst [13] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That's helpful. And then just on the sports I mean iGaming, any updated thoughts around branding? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [14] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You should expect that we will use the Caesars brand for Caesars operated -- owned and operated properties. And for third-party properties, you should expect that the William Hill brand will live on in the U.S. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [15] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from Jared Shojaian with Wolfe Research. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jared H. Shojaian, Wolfe Research, LLC - Director & Senior Analyst [16] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tom, you talked about October Vegas pushing $50 million in EBITDA. I know there's weird seasonality with Vegas right now in the fourth quarter without the group business and the convention business. Can you just help us think about November and December? Obviously, I know it's dependent on a lot like New Year's Eve and other holidays, but how should we think about those 2 months? Are you assuming that sequential step-up you've been seeing pretty consistently can continue? Or is there some other factors to consider there? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [17] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- No. As you know, you're hitting a normal soft period in Vegas that November and then pre-December -- or pre-Christmas December, but what we're seeing is the reduction in volumes is not nearly what it's been historically, at least in our business. So we feel good about posting a strong fourth quarter number in Las Vegas. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jared H. Shojaian, Wolfe Research, LLC - Director & Senior Analyst [18] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. And then I'll try to tackle this question a little differently. But if I think back to your most recent synergy target, the $800 million cost savings, the $100 million of revenue synergies, should we assume the entire $800 million of opportunity is already in that $2 billion number of costs that have been taken out? So really, it's entirely just a matter of getting the revenue back? Or are there still some additional costs you think you could take out and then presumably, the $100 million of revenue synergies is still outstanding. Is it fair to say you really haven't gotten any of that yet? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [19] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. The revenue synergies, yes, absolutely. On the cost side, the one piece that came through COVID relatively unscathed on the Caesars side was corporate. You can see in our numbers that we cut about $200 million from -- on an annualized basis from corporate, and that's what we expected to do. And you can see that, that's complete. You should presume the rest of the cost savings are included in those numbers. But if you think about, we had an $800 million target between cost and revenue, $100 million was revenue. So $700 million of costs, they did about $11 billion -- the combined company is about $11 billion of revenue at, let's call it, a 28% margin for 2019. And so if we were to get to our 35% left side of the range that I've been talking about, that's almost $800 million of just cost savings. And obviously, if we get to 40%, there is more than that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jared H. Shojaian, Wolfe Research, LLC - Director & Senior Analyst [20] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Great. And maybe just to quickly follow up on that. I think you're divesting a lot more properties than you had initially expected when you announced the deal, is that positive, negative or neutral to the margin? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [21] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It depends on the properties, I would say, of the properties that we've sold and that we're anticipating selling all of those would be -- removing them from the equation would be accretive to that overall margin target. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [22] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from John DeCree with Union Gaming. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- John G. DeCree, Union Gaming Securities, LLC, Research Division - Director and Head of North America Equity & High Yield Research [23] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tom, Bret, I wanted to ask you guys a little bit about deleveraging from here and the capital that you raised this quarter earmarked for William Hill. You talked in the past about at some point, selling a strip asset just to help delever more quickly. But based on what you see now and the amount of costs that have come out of the business and your kind of outlook for margin, how do you approach deleveraging from here? Is it going to be through EBITDA growth? I mean you have some asset sales that you just talked about will help. But just curious to get your thoughts on the cadence over the next 12 or 18 months, ways that you'll work down leverage. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bret Yunker, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CFO [24] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, it's really going to be a combination of all of the above. Again, we're hopeful that we're nearing an inflection point here where we start generating strong free cash flow post this health crisis. So that's obviously number one. Alongside that, we've been announcing asset sales, and we expect to continue announcing them going forward. So that will be part of the package. And Las Vegas, we want to get past the health crisis and then think about monetizing an asset here. So all 3 of those alongside the denominator growing sequentially is going to help us deleverage in the next 12 to 24 months. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- John G. DeCree, Union Gaming Securities, LLC, Research Division - Director and Head of North America Equity & High Yield Research [25] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And Tom, on the sports and iCasino strategy, assuming the transaction with William Hill proceeds, and you look at your portfolio of brands and assets, do you see any need or opportunity to add additional, either services or brands or partners for that portfolio? You've got a big one with ESPN. Are there -- is there still more to do as you continue to build out business? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [26] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is all about building market share profitably and making your customers as sticky as possible. And so we think we have the building blocks to do that with what we'll have post the William Hill transaction, but we'll always be looking to improve upon that. And I've found it interesting to see non-gaming entities look into this space, just the IAC moving into MGM, obviously, what ESPN did with us and DraftKings. Obviously, there are a lot of companies out there who are looking for share of wallet and screen time on your phone. So it wouldn't surprise me if you see more of that as we move into the future. And If there were a partnership or a transaction that would improve our position then we could execute it in a manner that was -- that created additional value for our stakeholders, we would certainly take a serious look. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [27] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from Chad Beynon with Macquarie. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chad C. Beynon, Macquarie Research - Head of US Consumer, SVP and Senior Analyst [28] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I wanted to drill into the regional gaming EBITDA $444 million or, I guess, maybe more importantly, the 33% margin. You noted that it was hamstrung by some of these regional, I guess, destination properties and Lake Charles being closed. I was wondering if you are willing to, I guess, help us think about what the drag was? Or if these properties had been punching at the same level as the other assets, what the result would have been? Any more color just on kind of the impact there and how to think about that going forward? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [29] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So you've got New Jersey, Reno and New Orleans that are your biggest drags, obviously, like Charles this quarter, given the storm. But in the -- in terms of materiality, the 3 are in Atlantic City, Reno, New Orleans. Atlantic City opened very beginning of the quarter. You had no alcohol service, you had no food service and significant limitations on capacity that lasted for a significant period of time during your peak season in Atlantic City. So Atlantic City comps obviously look poor. In Reno, we had the Silver Legacy tower open. We had a fair amount of Eldorado rooms open. We did not have the Circus Circus 1,600 rooms opened at all, again, in the seasonal peak for the market. And then New Orleans, New Orleans is a significant national database receiver of business. People not traveling New Orleans as a market as their restrictions are stricter than the state itself. You have legislative-mandated labor count in New Orleans and you have a tax system where we paid a fixed rate in the quarter versus the variable rate that we typically pay. So those 3 properties are significant drags as we move into fourth quarter and you get into the shoulder season, Reno and Atlantic City look a lot better because you're doing pretty well on a comp basis midweek in those markets when properties weren't full this time last year and the weekend drop-off is not nearly what it was in the summer. New Orleans still has all of the same issues that it had in the third quarter. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chad C. Beynon, Macquarie Research - Head of US Consumer, SVP and Senior Analyst [30] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great. Really helpful. And then, Bret, just on the cash flow side, could you just remind us in terms of what the annual or quarterly cash interest and cash rent will be? A little bit of noise in the reporting here, but that would be helpful. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bret Yunker, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CFO [31] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, putting GAAP aside, on a pure cash basis, we're roughly $2 billion all-in of annual master lease, rent payments and interest expense, so you can just divide that by 4 for the quarters. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [32] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About $1.2 billion of rent and $800 million of interest. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [33] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from Dan Politzer with JPMorgan. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Daniel Brian Politzer, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [34] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I was hoping that you could give maybe an update on your iGaming rollout and when we could expect to see your launch in Pennsylvania, more formally at least? And maybe if there's any plans for Michigan and if you have a market access agreement there? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [35] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, on Michigan, an intention to roll out there, Pennsylvania, I don't know... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anthony L. Carano, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - President & COO [36] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. We're live in Pennsylvania, Dan, right now. We're rolling out more product and more games as every day and week passes. So we're expecting to see incremental opportunities in 2021 as these new products are rolled out. So we would be optimistic on growth in Pennsylvania in 2021. Also in the state of New Jersey, we're going to be launching live dealer on the Caesars side for iGaming. So that's an exciting opportunity as well. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Daniel Brian Politzer, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [37] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. And then in Virginia, there was recently passed legislation that legalized gaming in Danville, where you talked about building a casino. Could you maybe talk to us about -- a little bit about the project, potential cost and return, the competitive environment there and how you're thinking about this at a high level? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [38] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. So the project that was approved, we'd expect 20% returns on roughly a $400 million investment. Keep in mind, as you look at that project, that's in the radius of the Cherokee property that we operate in North Carolina and the Tribe has the opportunity and the option to opt in up to 80% of the equity of the Danville property, and that became available to them upon the passage of the vote on Tuesday. So it's too early to say where that will eventually head. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [39] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from David Katz with Jefferies. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- David Brian Katz, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Analyst of Gaming, Lodging & Leisure [40] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I wanted to ask about the WH acquisition and essentially why now and the degree to which you get close on it, what kind of tech investment and/or marketing spend you envision might be required to be a leader with it or could be successful with it? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [41] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. So we -- as we looked at the opportunity in the space, as I've said, I think this is the most significant growth opportunity in the casino space since riverboats were legalized in the '90s. We were looking at the partnership that we brought in from the Eldorado side where if you recall, we entered that partnership knowing that Eldorado's brand was unlikely to play on a national basis. We wanted to form a partnership with a respected sports betting operator that had a national strategy where we could participate in the upside. We subsequently bought Caesars who obviously has a very different brand situation than Eldorado, and it became clear that we have a brand that can resonate on a national level. We've got a database that can feed into that business. And we had been talking about how should we proceed with the partnership. If you recall, the partnership included sports betting and not -- include sports betting and not Internet casino. If you're going to get to a single wallet solution, you need both. So it really wasn't ideal for either partner in the current landscape. So as we looked at potential solutions, it became clear to us that the best answer for us was to control our own destiny here. And so we started discussions about a purchase and ended up where you saw us end up. On the marketing question, yes, the combined company here, the combined pro forma entity, iGaming and sports, does about $100 million -- will do about $100 million in EBITDA, positive EBITDA, not the $200 million, $300 million of negative EBITDA that you're accustomed to in the space, it will do $100 million of positive EBITDA. That includes all of the marketing that we're doing now. So if you see us ramp up marketing, it's from an EBITDA positive position. In terms of the tech spend, William Hill has been spending a significant amount of capital developing its Liberty platform that rolled out in New Jersey to strong reviews. They're in the process of continuing to roll that out throughout the U.S. You're never going to stop spending on tech, but I don't see a significant material tech spend that's -- you should be plugging into your model that's going to be a giant sort of cash. You should be thinking of $10 million, $20 million a year neighborhood. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- David Brian Katz, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Analyst of Gaming, Lodging & Leisure [42] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. And I recall, I hope I have your terminology correct, but the notion that iGaming and sports betting may warrant its own brain at some point. How have you thought about making sure that, that business can grow and achieve what it needs to achieve under your roof versus its own roof? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [43] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So it will be an unrestricted sub of Caesars Entertainment upon closing. Post the Caesars acquisition, Eric Hession and Chris Holdren, out of the Caesars side, agreed to stay as co-Presidents of that business for us. Christian Stuart, on the operations side, has been invaluable in this process for us, will remain involved. So you will see it as it -- it will operate as a subsidiary of its own, you will be able to see the numbers of it on its own, then the question becomes what's the best structure from a capital markets perspective. And we have time to make those decisions. The expectation at the outset is it will be a wholly owned unrestricted sub of Caesars Entertainment, will not have its own currency. But as you know, we are 100% focused on driving value to our shareholders. And if the right answer is it becomes a separate entity with its own currency, you might see us head in that direction in the future. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [44] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from Barry Jonas with Truist Securities. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Barry Jonathan Jonas, Truist Securities, Inc., Research Division - Gaming Analyst [45] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I wanted to start with Vegas. Can you maybe just talk about the reintroduction of entertainment? How profitable do you think that can be either directly or indirectly? And then also, what's been the response so far to the return of paid parking? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [46] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. So on the question of entertainment, we're absolutely thrilled that we've seen movement in that area and the ability to operate what our some fairly small venue entertainment across the city, what you're seeing come back, you're not seeing headline entertainment come back. You're not seeing big production shows come back. What you're seeing are the 500, 600 seats that are now offering 100, 200 seats. It's not a hugely profitable business on its own, but it creates additional reason to visit the market, and that's important to us. Every piece that we get that becomes another reason for someone to make the move to either drive here or fly here and stay in the market is good for the whole market. So we're extremely pleased that we're able to offer entertainment today. The initial response has been extremely strong, and we're happy to have it back. Now the issue of parking, you got a heavy drive-in business now. As I said, we're mid-90 to high 90s occupancy on the weekends as you -- and you know that we have kind of 50-yard line real estate on the strip. So what we were finding was our best customers were having difficulty finding parking in our garages even if they had a lodging reservation. And so what we wanted to do was to bring back parking -- to bring back parking fees as kind of a hurdle so that our best customers can get to the property. If we -- if you are a significant Caesars reward customer, you're a lodger or you're a local, you're not paying for parking. And to drive home the point that this was for those purposes and because of the situation that we've seen in Nevada, we -- as we implemented, we said we're going to donate all of our profits from parking for this quarter and next to local charities that support the community and those that have been displaced by COVID. So the response has been overwhelmingly positive from the city and from our customers. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Barry Jonathan Jonas, Truist Securities, Inc., Research Division - Gaming Analyst [47] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That's great. And then just a follow-up. How are you thinking about, I guess, OpCo mix to the business now? Tom, in the past, you've talked about sort of like a 50-50 mix. Is that still the goal once the dust settles? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [48] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. You shouldn't see us doing sale-leaseback transactions of -- or sales of real estate that will skew that. As you've seen us in the past, we've utilized the propco market for financing typically for transactions. So were there something to come up that made sense, it could be a tool that's used, but I don't expect us to be particularly acquisitive from here, so you shouldn't see much movement on the real estate side. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [49] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from Shaun Kelley with Bank of America. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Shaun Clisby Kelley, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD [50] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Two questions. Just wanted to go back to the sort of regional margin performance. If we look at the kind of the numbers on a quarter basis, let's -- talking about those 700 basis points, is it fair just as we think about continued recognition of some of the synergies in some of your initiatives that 700 basis points could actually improve or accelerate from here? Or do you think this is a good reflection of what the ability of the business can be when everything else starts to settle in? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [51] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You should expect that the -- that it can continue to grow because, as I talked about earlier, what's missing from the business is some of your highest flow-through revenue. So as that starts to come back into these markets, and I'm thinking particularly of Atlantic City, Reno and New Orleans, flow-through is quite high. And their contribution to the total regional pie in a post-COVID world should drive the entire regional sector margin higher. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Shaun Clisby Kelley, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD [52] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That's really helpful, Tom. And then sort of a separate but big-picture strategic question. So there's been some discussion as it relates to William Hill and I guess the bigger kind of picture strategy here as it relates to this kind of single wallet or access to the customer probably via an app. And I'm just kind of curious like Caesars always took a pretty centralized or increasingly moved to a centralized marketing approach. Tom, at Eldorado, I think without mischaracterizing, you guys were always pretty focused on a decentralized approach to really accessing the customers, empowering some of the local property managers. How do you think about that in the digital realm? So just sort of how do you kind of like connect all this together as it relates to software and one vision of the customer? Does it sort of need to be centralized? Or can you balance those 2 approaches? And how would you sort of go about doing it? Or does anything need to change? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [53] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think you should think about it as to how we operate the entire business. What will differentiate us in this space is the stickiness of our customers, the immersion in our network. If you think about -- I know you're -- in the free COVID world, you'd be a frequent traveler like I was. Think of the gymnastics you would go through to make sure that you're flying on your favorite airline or you're staying in your hotel where you've got the most points. That's what we've got in the Caesars rewards system, and it's a much broader relationship than just how much money did I give you to place your sports bet on my app. It's a much stickier customer. So you shouldn't think of the sports betting marketing is going to be materially different than the way that we built the business on the bricks-and-mortar side. I understand there's this race for market share and handle and all the numbers that come out monthly right now. This is a long game. I go back to my riverboat example. I remember calling on names like Casino Magic and Casino America and Players International Argosy Gaming, all of those ultimately went away and got consolidated into the leaders in the business. That's where we're going to end up. You are in inning 1 of if you're thinking in baseball terms, what ultimately will be an extra inning game. And we're assembling the building blocks to be a winner here long term to attract as much market share as we can over time profitably, but make sure that it's sticky. I can make my market share in any individual market, look the way that I wanted to look to report to you at the end of the month if I throw enough money at it. That's not how we do business. That's not how you should expect us to tackle this area. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [54] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are no further questions at this time. I will now hand the call back for closing remarks. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Robert Reeg, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. - CEO & Director [55] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All right. Thanks, everybody. We'll talk to you in 2021 after fourth quarter. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [56] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That concludes today's conference. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.