Las Vegas Real Estate
Stiffs & Georges
They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
JohnTerez said: Try see it. , <a href="http://smart.fm/lists/152... glass supplies</a>... [More]
They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
SoloJ3ss said: Great... , <a href="http://boxesandarrows.com... to make deer a... [More]
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog.
alex yemenidjian ameristar animals architecture atlantic city australia baseball boulder strip boyd gaming california cannery casino resorts carl icahn charity cirque du soleil citycenter colony capital colorado columbia sussex cosmopolitan current detroit dining don barden donald trump downtown economy election encore entertainment environment florida fontainebleau g2e george maloof harrah's harry reid herbst gaming horseracing igt illinois indiana international internet gambling isle of capri james packer kansas kentucky labor lake tahoe laughlin lawrence ho louisiana lvcva m resort macau marketing massachusetts melco crown entertainment mesquite mgm mirage michael gaughan mississippi missouri monte carlo fire morgans hotel group movies neil bluhm ohio oscar goodman penn national pennsylvania pets phil ruffin pinnacle entertainment planet hollywood politics problem gambling regulation reno riviera sahara sheldon adelson singapore sports stanley ho station casinos steve wynn tamares group taxes technology the strip tilman fertitta tourism transportation tribal tropicana entertainment tv wall street
Posted At : March 3, 2009 04:06 PM | Posted By : D McKee
Related Categories: Harrah's,Herbst Gaming,MGM Mirage,Isle of Capri,Missouri,Louisiana,Colony Capital,The Strip,Downtown,Wall Street,Economy,Boyd Gaming,Station Casinos
Finally, someone (in this case, Liz Benston) has written the definitive user-friendly analysis of how the casino industry crashed and burned. To try and quote the salient points would require little short of reprinting the entire article (to say nothing of its copious charts).
In essence -- as run through the S&G juicer -- we're dealing with an industry that could be said to have lost its marbles four to five years ago. As I've contended on the Vegas Gang podcasts, captains of the casino industry, borne aloft on a bubble of illusory "wealth," mistook a bubble for a baseline. Instead of paying down debt on acquisitions, they doubled down on extra-super-megaresorts and wholly unncessary LBOs.
And now that the party's ended, the resultant hangover is shaking out the business like a case of the DTs. The irony is that Strip revenues have reverted to 2005 levels ... back when business was pretty darn 'phat,' and MGM Mirage and Harrah's Entertainment were so flush they were able to devour Mandalay Resort Group and Park Place Entertainment, respectively, with scarcely a burp.
One of the few things now standing between insolvent casino companies -- a group that may soon include both Harrah's and MGM -- and outright disaster is that gaming has become "too big to fail." In an otherwise normal economy, collapsing companies like Herbst Gaming, Black Gaming, Colony Capital and even big shots like Station Casinos would probably be staring receivership in the face. But extraordinary forbearance -- in more than one sense of the term -- by lenders is keeping the lights on and the doors open. The bankers and bond markets have obviously decided it's better to keep their wobbly dance partners upright than let gravity take its course. Lord knows, the seismic impact of a cascading series of casino bankruptcies beggars the imagination and not in a good way.
Into this maelstrom, is flung the news that two companies are going to miss their scheduled 10-K filings. In the case of Pinnacle Entertainment, they need some extra time to perform mark-to-market ledger-demain, writing down $275 million-$330 million. J.P. Morgan analysts are sanguine, though, partly because of an 18% increase in fourth-quarter revenue. Also, although Pinnacle's net loss may be as high as $308 million, other results "should be above expectations, reflective of PNK’s strong Louisiana performance at Lake Charles, stable New Orleans trends, and a ramp at Lumiere [Place] in St. Louis. Trends that, generally, should continue."
Also playing for time is MGM Mirage. According to the Sun, last week's draw-down of credit has tapped out the company's liquidity, a statement confirmed in a J.P. Morgan note. Contrarily, the Review-Journal implies there's plenty left.
(Update: MGM tells me, no, there isn't and I was wrong to have concluded otherwise last week. Error duly noted. Self-flagellation in progress.)
Whatever the case, Wall Street is sounding like it's accepted that Chapter 11 is all but inevitable. Slightly less apocalyptic scenarios still include potential defaults, debt-for-equity swaps that would surely cost Kirk Kerkorian his majority ownership, asset sales, a restructured balance sheet and a $7 billion note that's less of a balloon payment than an incoming Hindenberg.
Or, as Morgan analysts write, per their wait-and-see strategy: "We expect to hear from MGM over the next few weeks, and suspect it is or shortly will be working with its banks on amending its bank covenants (leverage covenants now likely tripped after drawing down debt last week and hoarding cash) and looking to restructure its bank debt, among the other options MGM is considering (asset sales, amending CityCenter, etc.)."
Emendations to CityCenter? That would be an extremely bitter pill for MGM to swallow. First the Harmon truncation, now this prospect. In a totally unscientific measurement, page views of our online image gallery of Aria and Vdara were barely a ripple compared to the levels of interest manifested in Encore, M Resort and, good golly, even the Cabana Suites at the El Cortez -- all of which have vastly outpaced Aria/Vdara in viewership. Like I said, unscientific but who'da thunk we'd see an El Cortez ≥ CityCenter equation?
And we still haven't touched upon today's earnings report from Isle of Capri (half good, half bad) or the latest round in the Station-vs.-Boyd catfight, chock full of hissing and spitting. We live in interesting times, to be sure, regardless of whether that's a blessing or a curse.