Caesars CEO Mark Frissora Says Las Vegas Alive and Well, Backs Talk With Own Money

Posted on: August 28, 2018, 07:10h. 

Last updated on: August 28, 2018, 07:10h.

Caesars Entertainment CEO Mark Frissora continues to do damage control after cautioning investors during his company’s second quarter conference call that Las Vegas is seeing a softening in demand in the months ahead.

Mark Frissora Caesars Entertainment stock
Caesars CEO Mark Frissora remains optimistic on the Las Vegas gaming and hospitality industry despite an expected poor third quarter. (Image: Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau)

This week, the executive met with KSNV news to showcase Caesars Palace’s new villas. But the conversation quickly turned to the overall economy of Sin City.

Speaking to his remarks that Las Vegas rooms would be cheaper to occupy in the third quarter, Frissora opined that the slowdown is temporary.

Definitely think it’s a blip, and that it is an event-driven blip citywide,” Frissora explained.

Frissora blames a slow three months in the meetings and events category, as well as reduced entertainment options, for the decline in bookings between July through September.

“Kind of a combination of factors between the talent that we had and their own vacations or what they were doing, and then there were also some illnesses – some last-minute changes of some of our stars,” Frissora added. “Our entertainment people are working furiously to fill the schedule and not let a momentary lapse like that occur.”

Money Where Mouth Is

During the July conference call, Frissora admitted to shareholders, “In July as well as August, we saw some softening, which again, caused us to be cautious about how we provide guidance.”

He said MGM’s T-Mobile Arena has 21 fewer shows or events booked in the quarter, and paired with the loss of the 2017 Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor boxing fight spectacle, and Q3 in 2018 would be a difficult comparable.

Frissora’s comments sent the stock crashing, and prompted NASDAQ to halt its trading after it plummeted 24 percent. Other Las Vegas casino operators also saw shares fall on the selloff.

In response, Frissora defended his long-term optimism by purchasing nearly $1 million worth of Caesars Entertainment stock. According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the executive bought 100,000 shares at $9.55 for a total investment of $955,000.

“This is the second time I’ve taken a million dollar slug of my own personal money because I believe that this company is extremely undervalued,” Frissora stated.

Caesars Future

Frissora would much like Caesars to be less dependent on Las Vegas. That’s why the casino empire is expanding internationally, and lending its brand to non-gaming hotel resorts in Dubai and Mexico’s Puerto Los Cabos.

Caesars will also bid on one of the three casino licenses in Japan, a country that has the attention of all of the world’s major gaming industry operators. The company formed its Japan Advisory Committee in January, with former US Senator Tom Daschle (D) spearheading the group.

Frissora added that if Macau expands its concessions when the present six operators begin to see their permits expire in 2020, Caesars would be interested. “We would love to have an opportunity to be in Macau,” Frissora said.