Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ:CZR) reported a fourth-quarter loss of 45 cents a share, well below the loss of 11 cents a share Wall Street was expecting. But revenue jumped 2.6 percent to $2.17 billion from $2.12 billion a year earlier.
The company said it reduced $100 million in expenses since the start of 2019. That’s a figure that will go a long way toward Eldorado Resorts, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:ERI) plan to trim costs by at least $500 million when it finishes its $17.3 billion purchase of the Caesars Palace operator in the first half of this year.
Caesars’ results were largely driven by the strong demand at our Las Vegas properties, excellent cost controls, and the addition of sports betting in several states, which drove increased visitation,” said CEO Tony Rodio. “In addition, our focus on costs and operating efficiencies across the company contributed to the excellent performance.”
In the last three months of 2019, Caesars’ Las Vegas Strip properties, including Caesars Palace, Bally’s, the Flamingo, and Planet Hollywood, combined for $989 million in revenue, up from $949 million in the year earlier period. Turnover at the company’s regional properties rose to $1.032 billion from $1.014 billion.
Ex-Las Vegas, “US net revenues increased $18 million year over year, primarily due to growth in Iowa and Indiana as a result of our new sportsbooks and better results in Atlantic City,” according to Caesars.
The company operates three venues on the Atlantic City boardwalk: Bally’s, Caesars Palace and Harrah’s.
Sports Wagering Helps
On a conference call with analysts this afternoon, Rodio and other members of the Caesars executive team highlighted strength in the company’s sports betting operations in the fourth quarter.
Rodio noted in some regions, such as Indiana and Iowa, sports wagering is bringing some previously dormant members of Total Rewards, the Caesars loyalty program, back to the company’s properties. Many of those gamblers are giving the operator other business, including slots and table games. The Hawkeye and Hoosier States are two of the fastest-growing sports wagering markets in the US.
According to a presentation provided to analysts and investors, Caesars operates 29 sportsbooks across the country, including 17 outside of Nevada. The company expects that number to increase this year, “pending legislation, as seen in North Carolina.”
Caesars added that it expects to launch mobile sports wagering in Indiana, Iowa, and Pennsylvania in the first half of 2020.
The operator did not offer up specific earnings and revenue guidance for the current quarter or 2020. But Rodio sounded an optimistic tone, noting Las Vegas should remain strong with the opening of the Caesars Forum conference center next month and the NFL Draft in April.
The Caesars chief executive officer said over 240,000 room nights have been booked because of the conference space.
Recently, rumors have swirled that Eldorado could consider selling that asset or the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on the Strip when it completes the takeover. But no comments were made to that effect on today’s call. ERI reports results Wednesday after the close of US markets.