• HEDGEYE’S MARKET BRIEF
    Our FREE Investing Newsletter
    Get Exclusive Summer Sale Discounts

    By joining our email marketing list you agree to receive marketing emails from Hedgeye. You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in one of the emails. All Hedgeye products and services are subject to Hedgeye’s Terms of Service available at www.hedgeye.com/terms_of_service

May seems to be a weak month in the East for gaming and we are hearing similar things across the country.  Here are our notes from our 2 day trip.

 

Sands Bethlehem (5-24-2010)

  • Table games should be up and running by mid-July.  The state is looking to open 3 properties at a time over a 3-week period.
  • The hotel is scheduled to open in May 2011 with 300 rooms.  Think that the hotel will help them keep growing their business.
  • Busing program:
    • Focusing on busing Asian customers.  Have 5 runs per day from Chinatown/Flushing and Port Authority NYC.  Most of the busing is from PA and NJ. 
    • On busy days, they bring in 1,500-1,800 people and on slow days, they bring in 500-800 people.
    • Customers pay for their own bus tickets (roughly $15/day from NY for example).  The cost to Sands gives customers $30/day in free play and a $5 coupon for food.
    • When tables go in, they can increase busing programs to Chinatown & Flushing to 15-20 tables per day.
    • Pulling out most of the electronic tables when they go live with tables.  Of the 28 tables they have now, they are only keeping 6 E-tables.
    • Slots mix:  IGT- 45%, BYI - 24%, WMS- 13%, Konami – 4%, ALL- 6.5%, Speilo/ Atronic less than 2%
    • There are no participation games in PA, only leased games.
    • 6% of Sands slots are leased.
    • Have 780 employees at the facility and will add 400 more when tables games are added.  330 of the employee additions will be dealers.
    • 50% of business is local.
    • May could be their best month, primarily due to the ramp in their database.  Tables 16% tax rate decreasing to 12% in 2 years.
  • Sands may have the most incremental growth from the addition of table games in PA.
    • Will be the closest casino with table games to NYC
    • Big Chinese population in NYC
    • Will offer a significant number of Baccarat tables
    • Efficient busing from Chinatown and Flushing - the two Asian centers

PENN MGMT meeting notes: 5/24/2010

  • Not building to get a mid-teen return, but rather to optimize returns as much as they can on each project.
  • Columbus - will be a home run.
    • Downtown vs westside.  Westside supports the construction / downtown doesn't.  Prefers new site - more suburban - can expand if there is capacity.
    • Own Beal racetrack outside of Columbus - if slots at tracks get passed, they will try to move the license.
    • Columbus should be the best ROI on their return.
    • Think that Vegas will have underperformance for another 6-18 months of softness, so they may get another bite at the apple.  They are following City Center very closely.  Like Mirage for their customer base.
    • Aqueduct came out with an RFP - they submitted questions and are waiting for answers.  Bids are due at the end of July and decision will be made in August.

Harrah’s Chester 5-24-2010

  • Struggling in May because of construction disruption to make room for tables and overall demand weakness.  They are moving 2,200 games.
  • How they deal with the AC vs. PA conflict:
    • Don’t see a conflict-- view it as “Earn here, play there” mentality
    • Get a lot of trip frequency in PA but less spend per visitor
    • PA will have credit for the first time with the intro of table games.
    • Think that they will get $75-$78mm of incremental table revenue.  Think that the table margins are going to be a little higher then slots even after taking into account for the lower tax rate.
    • With tables, Chester can get up to 20% margins.
    • Will begin to seed their database with communication about table games in June and use their Philly/AC database to market to them.
    • Will only keep 4 electronic table games or 20 out of 120 seats for now.
    • Don’t need a hotel
    • Racing business makes a couple hundred thousand
    • Only have 100 or so leased games.

Tim Wilmont, CEO of PENN (5/25/2010)

  • Iowa and WV are the only 2 states that have previously allowed tables to be added to slot-only facilities.  On average, slot revenues increased 6-8% when that happened.  Table games generated 10-15% of total revenues in competitive local markets.
  • Cecil County: 1,500 VLTs, 95mm of capex, 1600 parking spots. Hollywood Perryville will be located 30 miles NE of Baltimore. The investment in Cecil is targeting an addressable population of 375k – however, until other facilities open, its addressable population will be more like 1MM - so the initial returns should be very good.
  • Ohio:  Thinks gaming will be a $2bn industry in Ohio; 33% tax rate; $50mm upfront fee per casino; $250mm min spend; 34k new jobs (19k construction 16k permanent jobs).  $1bn of gaming revenues is currently generated by Ohio residents gambling in neighboring states.
  • City of Columbus voted no on issue 3 so they had to move one of their sites. They decided it was easier to go to a new site that was cooperative then a contentious one.  The facility will have 2,000 permanent employees.
  • Toledo - hope to break ground in 3Q 2010.  Area has 71% of the population of their Penn National Race Course (PA) location.
  • Ohio Timeline:
    • June 3: Deadline for enabling passing of gaming legislation
    • Fall 2010: Effective date of legislation
    • 4Q 2010/1Q2011: Appointment of a gaming commission
    • 1Q2011: Licensing investigation