An extra day and an easy weather comparison should produce a strong February and Q1 for the regionals. If Missouri is any indication, it may not be good enough.
YoY gaming revenue growth in Missouri will come in between 3 and 4% for the month of February. On the surface and relative to trend, that may seem like a positive. However, there was a massive storm on February 1st of last year and Feb 2012 obviously contained one extra day. We would argue that growth should be at least 5%. January was an unfavorable month from a calendar perspective and same-store gaming revenues fell a combined 4% in the mature regional markets. However, the regional gaming stocks spiked as calendar driven expectations were low.
The calendar tailwind continues for one more month. March 2012 contains 2 extra weekend days versus last year.
However, it all reverses in Q2:
- April: 1 less Friday and Saturday; 1 more Sunday
- May: 1 less Sunday
- June: 1 less Friday and Saturday
If the regional markets are only going to be up 3-4% in January and February, that won’t bode well for Q2, particularly if gas prices continue to increase. Of course, Missouri is only one state and one month from one state does not make a trend. We’ll have more commentary after the states release gaming revenues over the coming weeks.