Full House Resorts Hopes Sports Betting, Illinois Plans Come up Aces For Sagging Stock Price

Posted on: August 9, 2019, 11:22h. 

Last updated on: August 9, 2019, 12:32h.

Full House Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLL), the operator of five casinos in Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi and Nevada, is hoping a push into sports betting and plans to expand in Illinois could be positive catalysts for its stock, which has tumbled more than 42 percent over the past 12 months.

Bronco Billy’s in Colorado, where Full House Resorts is hoping sports betting takes off. (Image: Booking.com)

On Thursday, the operator of the Grand Lodge Casino at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe reported a second-quarter loss of four cents a share on revenue of $41.66 million. Analysts were expecting break-even earnings per share on revenue of almost $42 million. The glum quarterly report sent shares of Full House lower by nearly two-thirds of a percent Friday, giving the company a market capitalization of $47.18 million. That’s micro-cap territory.

The company said maintenance disruptions at its Rising Star property in Indiana, as well as management changes there and at Bronco Billy’s in Colorado, weighed on its results for the June quarter,

On a call with analysts and investors, Full House CEO and President Dan Lee waxed optimistic about his company benefiting from expanded legalized sports wagering throughout the US.

Now Indiana, we’re actually pretty lucky,” said Lee on the call. “We’re a small company, and there were states that legalized sports books these past few months, and one is Indiana and one is Colorado, and we happen to operate in them both.”

Sports betting is expected to go live in the Hoosier State in less than a month, but Colorado is a different ballgame. In November, voters there will decide the fate of sports wagering and, if approved, it would be May 2020 at the earliest before the state could collect tax revenue related to sports betting.

Looking Online

Full House is looking to get in on the booming online and mobile wagering segments, which are already driving sports betting growth in some states. Lee said Colorado and Indiana will require mobile wagering offerings be tied back to physical sportsbooks in those states, and that the company is working with various partners on those initiatives.

“But in Indiana and prospectively in Colorado, you’re allowed to operate online, so you can sit in your office in Indianapolis and make bets on football games,” he said. “But the online operations have to be tied to a brick-and-mortar casino. And so we are in negotiations – we’re actually very close to an agreement — to agreements with 3 different sports book operators.”

William Hill operates the sportsbook at the Silver Slipper along the Gulf Coast, Full House’s Mississippi gaming property. The casino operator’s profit from its sportsbook there in the first half of 2019 was $400,000.

Illinois Effort

Earlier this year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) signed wide-ranging legislation aimed at turning Illinois into the casino gaming hub of the Midwest. That bill allows for the addition of up to six casinos in the Land of Lincoln, and Full House is trying to join that party.

The Nevada-based company is one of six operators that have filed proposals for a new gaming property in Waukegan, which is north of Chicago. Lee said Full House is looking to focus on the high- end gaming market in Illinois.

“And if you look at most of the existing casinos around Chicago, they’re really grind places,” said the CEO. “Nobody has really tried to focus on the high-end. But we can have a casino that can accommodate grind business, but it can also have a 20-room, super high-end boutique hotel, kind of like the mansion at MGM.”