Mohegan Gaming reaping benefits of diversification

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Mohegan — Mohegan Sun’s net revenues were down 3.7% in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, a decline overshadowed by its corporate parent’s overall gains, figures released Thursday show.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which owns and/or manages casinos in several states and in Ontario, Canada, reported net revenues of $399.1 million in the quarter, a 24.9% increase over the same period the previous year.

The period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019, was the first quarter of MGE’s 2020 fiscal year.

In a conference call with investors, Mario Kontomerkos, MGE’s president and chief executive officer, called the company’s first-quarter earnings “excellent,” attributing them in large part to MGE’s acquisition last year of two casino properties in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort generated $85 million in net revenues in the quarter.

Mohegan Sun’s net revenues were $243.3 million, while another MGE property, Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., had net revenues of $62 million.

MGE netted $9 million in management and development fees, more than $8 million of it coming from ilani Resort Casino, the facility the company manages in Washington state. It also manages Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City and Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, La.

“Performance at our flagship property, Mohegan Sun, was strong due to better expense management and continued strong performance in nongaming segments, highlighted by our recent hosting of the Miss America competition,” Kontomerkos said.

Mohegan Sun’s gaming and food-and-beverage revenues were down in the quarter but hotel and retail, entertainment and “other” were up. Labor and employee benefits costs decreased by $3 million, the result of 210 fewer “full-time equivalent” employees.

“Looking beyond the United States, construction is progressing on time and on budget in Korea,” where MGE is developing an integrated entertainment resort in Incheon, Kontomerkos said. “... Finally, our expansion into Las Vegas took a large step forward this week, as MGE and our partner Virgin Hotels began the renovation of the future Virgin Hotels Las Vegas set to open in late 2020.”

MGE announced last year that it would lease space in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which has been closed for the renovations and rebranding.

MGE also has emerged as the only qualified bidder for a license to operate an integrated resort in Athens, Greece. Hard Rock International, whose bid was disqualified, has filed an appeal of the decision.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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