CASINO

MGM Resorts loses money; Revel Casino finds money; spring break is money

TAGs: Atlantic City, Las Vegas, mgm resorts international, Revel Entertainment

mgm-resorts-revel-casino-moneyMGM Resorts International continued to bleed red ink in Q4, losing $139m based on lowered gambling and room revenues. As bad as that sounds, it’s only a third of MGM’s $433.9m loss in Q4 2009. So, um… yay? While overall revenue was up slightly at $1.47b, gambling revenue fell to $608.8m (from $628m) and room revenue fell to $309.7m (from $324.6m). For the full year, MGM lost $1.44b compared to a $1.29b loss in 2009. MGM’s total debt is now a whopping $12.3b. We don’t know exactly what MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren was smoking right before he claimed the company’s “balance sheet is in tremendous shape,” but we wouldn’t mind trying some.

In Atlantic City, the local casino business got an extremely rare bit of good news on Thursday. Revel Entertainment says it has secured the final $1.15b it requires to finish construction of its casino property on AC’s Boardwalk. The project was launched in 2007, but quickly ran into problems — the developers ran out of money, three key execs were killed in a plane crash, wind blew a construction crane off the roof, then the half-finished building caught fire… And then there were the locusts. Can’t forget the locusts. Things got so bad that the project’s principal backer, investment powerhouse Morgan Stanley, chose to take a $932m loss rather than pour any more green into Revel’s black hole. That left the property’s exterior more or less in place, but the interior a bare concrete cavern. Nonetheless, Revel expects to be open for business by summer of 2012. Unless the locusts return…

Speaking of migrating swarms of irritating life forms, spring break is almost upon us, and Las Vegas is bracing for impact. Sin City is among the top-10 spring break destinations for the college crowd, which makes that week among the top-five moneymakers for Strip casinos. Accordingly, gaming establishments are making big social media and email pitches to colleges, alerting them to special deals and the fact that unlike, say, Mexico, very few people get beheaded in Vegas. Especially since Céline Dion left town.

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