As Big as Caesars? Q4 Results Show Penn National Has Become Regional Casino Superpower

Posted on: February 8, 2019, 10:50h. 

Last updated on: February 8, 2019, 02:25h.

Penn National Gaming (PNG) posted record Q4 financial results on Thursday, as revenue skyrocketed, illustrating the extent to which the company has become a behemoth in the regional casino market through its $2.8 billion acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment, which completed in October last year.

Penn National
PNG Chairman Tim Wilmot believes that revenues will hit $5.2 billion in 2019, which would make it comparable in size to Caesars Entertainment. (Image: Jeff Scheid/LVRJ)

The deal united the two biggest regional operators in the US, creating an enlarged company that spans 41 casino properties across 20 states, collectively operating 53,500 slots, 1,300 table games, and 8,300 casino hotel rooms.

Q4 revenue shot up by more than 50 percent, to $1.15 billion, an increase of over $386 million from the same period last year. Meanwhile, operating income was up $97.6 million to $124.4 million, while adjusted earnings were up $124.8 million to almost $324 million.

The company expects full-year revenue to rise to $5.2 billion in 2019, which would put it on a par with Caesars Entertainment.

Despite the costs associated with the acquisition, the company managed to narrow its losses in Q4, to $42 million, from $338.1 million a year previously.

New Horizons

PNG took over 12 of Pinnacle’s 16 properties as part of the deal. The other four were bought by Boyd Gaming as part of a 2017 agreement that would help PNG avoid antitrust issues in regions where it already had a strong presence. Nevertheless, the transaction allowed PNG to enter three new markets, Colorado, Louisiana and Iowa.

PNG President and CEO Tim Wilmott told investors in an earnings call that the deal had broadened his horizons.

There have been so many learnings over the last several months,” he said. “We had a good idea pre-close what the opportunities would be, but the number of ideas and initiatives that we’re now pursuing in earnest has expanded probably twofold from what it was pre-close.

“Some of the things Pinnacle legacy properties have done better than the Penn properties have done is a real focus on the high-end table game customer. They did a much better job of moving their customers around the network. Obviously, they didn’t have a Vegas location, but they had some real destination properties in Colorado, Louisiana and the like, so there’s a lot of opportunity on the revenue synergy side.”

Still Expanding

PNG’s M&A activity last year didn’t stop with the Pinnacle deal. It has also entered into definitive agreements with VICI Properties acquire the operations of Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit, and the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana.

In the near term, Wilmott said the company will focus on completing the integration of Pinnacle’s assets and start work on its two planned satellite casinos in Pennsylvania, Hollywood Casino York and Hollywood Casino Morgantown.