Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fontainebleau Sale Rumors Heat Up MGM Call

Rumors about a sale of Fontainebleau are nothing new. It's been over a year since the last round of speculation about who could possibly buy the property and maybe open it someday. Back then a sale was expected by the end of summer 2016.

Needless to say that never happened and we've been in a holding pattern ever since.

The lack of news about Fontainebleau made today's MGM Resorts International earnings call that much more surprising. Seemingly out of the blue Carlo Santarelli, Wall Street analyst at Deutsche Bank asked CEO Jim Murren about the property and how long it would take for a company to get it up and running.

Murren joked about the "rumor" and indicated MGM was not interested in the property, but speculated it would take 2 or 3 years for the resort to be operational. He also commented about Fontainebleau possibly being in a good location once the expanded convention center is finished, and thus would be more focused on the lodging aspect of the resort (rather than say gaming).

It's probably true that MGM isn't buying Fontainebleau, although it might be an interesting project for their MGM Growth Properties REIT subsidiary. Either way, hearing this chatter in the middle of the earnings call definitely got my attention. It seems like somebody knows something about a transaction happening soon. Or maybe they don't. The waiting game continues.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wynn Second Quarter 2017 Earnings

Wynn Resorts released second quarter 2017 earnings today and held their earnings conference call. Revenue and net income were both up year over year due to the addition of Wynn Palace in Macau and helped by higher hold percentage in both Las Vegas and Macau.

Steve Wynn discussed the plans for the redevelopment of the Wynn golf course in Las Vegas. It appears that plans for the course are on track and drawings are being finalized.

The golf course will be redeveloped to include a lagoon along with new hotel rooms and convention space.

Steve Wynn commented that this land is extremely valuable due to its proximity to the Las Vegas Convention Center along with the Sands Expo Center.

Wynn also updated operations in Macau. Wynn Palace is doing well but is currently being somewhat adversely affected by construction at the neighboring MGM Cotai resort being built.

Back stateside Wynn Boston Harbor opening date will be in 2019 with construction now well underway. The company is also buying more property in the Boston / Everett area with an eye on future expansion.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Raiders Relocation Announcement Imminent

The Oakland Raiders are set to file relocation paperwork officially announcing their intention to move to Las Vegas according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The move would need to be approved by a vote of 24/32 league owners which would take place in March. It's not clear how the owners would react to a move to Las Vegas, but it seems like previous concerns of gambling might be lessened now that casinos are present in many of the leagues cities.

Financing of a new stadium appears to still be up in the air. Original plans would call for a new room tax in combination with funds from Sheldon Adelson, but the Raiders have been looking to secure alternate financing as well. With the decision to file relocation papers it looks like they're confident financing for the stadium will come through someway, somehow.

In addition to the Raiders playing in the new stadium, being in Las Vegas opens it up to entertainment like music festivals and concerts. I could also see large conventions taking place on the domed stadium floor. Other sporting events like UNLV football, Soccer, and the Final Four could be possibilities as well.

With Las Vegas looking to expand and diversify their entertainment portfolio, having pro sports teams and the accompanying stadiums would seem to fit into those plans perfectly.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sleepless - Las Vegas Movie - The Luxus

I'm always on the lookout for Las Vegas movies and TV shows, so when I heard one was opening this weekend I thought I'd check it out.

Sleepless stars Jamie Foxx as a Las Vegas cop with a connection to the criminal underground that puts his son's life in danger. It also features Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney, Scoot McNairy, and Gabrielle Union.

The movie is under the radar with a modest 1800 theater release. I just happened to see a commercial for it which had a throwaway line about Foxx being "one of Nevada's finest" which led me to do some research revealing the Las Vegas setting.

Sleepless opens with a wide shot of the Las Vegas valley and several high quality aerial photography establishing shots of the Las Vegas Strip are seen throughout the movie. Other scenes feature cars driving on the Strip and Downtown (or "Old Downtown" as one of the cops calls it).

Much of the movie takes place at a fictional Las Vegas hotel resort - The Luxus.

The fake hotel is located in the middle of CityCenter crammed in-between Aria and Mandarin Oriental. Seeing a completely fictional resort reminded me of the 2015 TV show The Player which featured a few fake Las Vegas hotels.

Made-up hotels in Las Vegas movies and TV shows tend to move around though. When the characters are inside The Luxus overlooking the Strip the location looks to be closer to The Mirage with views of The Palazzo across the street.

The Las Vegas scenery continuity in Sleepless isn't terrible though. There weren't many obvious gaffes of a character being at one end of the Strip only to be at another end of the strip seconds later. The 2010 movie Get Him To The Greek and last year's Jason Bourne both suffered from these types of mistakes.

Sleepless
isn't a great (or even good) movie, but if you're someone like me who likes to watch anything Las Vegas related you might want to check it out sometime.


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

2016 Las Vegas Stock Recap

With the calendar now showing January 2017, let's take a look back and see how Las Vegas stocks did in 2016.

The big three Las Vegas stocks - MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands all had good years increasing by more than 20% each. The companies rode the wave of a recovering Macau market combined with strong non-gaming Las Vegas metrics.

In Macau Wynn Palace opened on the Cotai Strip in August. Sands opened The Parisian a few weeks later in in September. Meanwhile in the United States MGM National Harbor near Washington DC was opened in December to capacity crowds.

Caesars Entertainment stock finished the year up just over 7%. Caesars is still involved in seemingly never-ending bankruptcy litigation, but the stock could have some speculation value if they are able to escape bankruptcy with most of the company still in-tact.

Regional operators Boyd Gaming and Penn National didn't fare as well as their international counterparts. Boyd was up a slight 1.5% as they integrated their new Aliante and Cannery acquisitions. Penn was down 13.9% perhaps negatively affected by the anticipated opening of MGM National Harbor stealing business from their Charles Town property.

2016 Las Vegas stock results: (not including dividends)

CompanySymbolStartEndChange
MGMMGM22.7228.83+26.9%
WynnWYNN69.1986.51+25%
SandsLVS43.8453.41+21.8%
CaesarsCZR7.898.50+7.7%
BoydBYD19.8720.17+1.5%
PennPENN16.0213.79-13.9%