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Quarterly losses mount at Hancock County casino

Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register photo by Casey Junkins Though Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort maintain loyal slot machine players and table gamblers, out-of-state competition continues reducing revenue.
Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register photo by Casey Junkins
Though Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort maintain loyal slot machine players and table gamblers, out-of-state competition continues reducing revenue.

WHEELING, W.Va. — Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort saw revenue drop nearly 12 percent during the last three months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, as the Chester-based gambling facility faces increased competition from both Ohio and Pennsylvania.

For several years, Mountaineer have seen profits slide as new casinos opened in the region.

As revenue falls, adjusted earnings for Mountaineer in the fourth quarter of 2014 dropped to $5.2 million, compared to $8 million during the last three months of 2013. Mountaineer officials attribute much of this decline to the opening of the new Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course that opened in Youngstown, Ohio, in September.

“Notwithstanding the impact of new competition in certain markets, we are pleased with our progress to date,” said Gary Carano, chairman and CEO of Eldorado Resorts, which now owns the Mountaineer track following the September merger of Eldorado and MTR Gaming.

“The fourth quarter was a transitional period for Eldorado as we continue the integration of MTR and began implementing strategies to derive value from the newly expanded scale and geographic diversity of our property portfolio,” Carano added.

Mountaineer’s revenue for the full year was $184.8 million, down from $196.9 million in 2013, reflecting about a 6.1 percent decline.

Despite the falling cashflow, Mountaineer remains Eldorado’s most active casino, company records show. The firm also operates the Scioto Downs property in Columbus, Ohio, as well as Presque Isle Downs & Casino near Erie, Pa., in addition to casinos in Reno, Nev. and Shreveport, La.

All is not lost for Mountaineer, as Eldorado recently finished a $3.8 million upgrade of Mountaineer’s hotel property, while the firm also introduced new family-style food and beverage concepts at the park.

At Scioto Downs, revenue fell by $600,000 from the 2013 fourth quarter to the last three months of 2014. Cash flow at Presque Isle Downs dropped by $1 million over the same timeframe.

“We are undertaking property enhancements that we believe will deliver attractive returns and drive long-term growth across Eldorado’s portfolio. These enhancements include new food and beverage offerings at several properties, refreshed offerings and amenities that we believe will strengthen our properties and their competitive positioning,” Carano said of Eldorado’s plans for 2015. “We are also evaluating a range of customer loyalty programs and expect to finalize and begin implementation of a cost-effective, technology-driven single card solution in 2015.”

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