Strong Las Vegas business propelled Caesars in 2019

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Caesars attributed Las Vegas growth to an uptick in gaming revenue. Pictured, the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
Caesars attributed Las Vegas growth to an uptick in gaming revenue. Pictured, the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio touted a strong fourth-quarter performance in Las Vegas during the company’s earnings call on Tuesday, while assuring investors that the impact from the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has been nonexistent thus far.

“To date, we are pleased and pleasantly surprised to say that we’ve seen no business impact [from coronavirus] whatsoever,” said Rodio. “As a matter of fact, we’re off to a great start in 2020 from our VVIP business from Asia. Our bigger concern going forward, depending upon which way this coronavirus goes, is if we start to see cancellations of the domestic travel to Las Vegas for the fear of interacting with Asian clientele. But again, we have not seen that to date.”

Rodio estimated that 1% of Caesars’ profitability stems from “VVIP” Asia business. 

Despite minimal exposure, Rodio added that the company is “working on contingency plans,” should the virus begin to affect business in the U.S.

Caesars said net revenue in Las Vegas increased 4.2% for the quarter, to $989 million, and rose 4.4% for the full year, to more than $3.9 billion. 

According to Caesars CFO Eric Hession, the group’s Las Vegas growth was driven by an uptick in gaming revenue, which was up 1.4% year over year, as well as a 3.2% increase in Las Vegas hotel revenue. Occupancy in the market was up just over 1% to around 95%, while RevPAR grew 2.1% to $141.90. 

The company also reported solid gains across its other U.S. business, which collectively rose 4.4% to more than $4.2 billion for the year. Indiana, Iowa and Mississippi in particular enjoyed higher visitation and higher food-and-beverage and gaming volume tied to sportsbook performance. 

For the full year, Caesars posted a net revenue increase of 4.2% to $8.74 billion.

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