MTR Gaming Coping in Face of Competition

The company's flagship property is Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.

MTR Gaming Group, which recently received approval to refinance its debt, reported net income of $2.3 million for the second quarter of 2011. For the same three months in 2010, the company posted a net loss of $500,000.

MTR Gaming Group owns Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia, Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Pennsylvania, and Scioto Downs harness track in Ohio. Officials said part of the refinancing and sale of notes will be used to develop a video lottery terminal casino at Scioto Downs, located just south of Columbus.

Net revenue for the second quarter was down 1% to $110.5 million, but adjusted earnings before interest, depreciation, and amortization from continuing operations was up 16% to $23.1 million. The company noted the Mountaineer property received $1.8 million from a mineral rights lease bonus.

Revenue at Mountaineer, the company’s flagship track that will host the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) Aug. 6, dropped 7% to $57.5 million in the second quarter of 2011. A $3.5 million decline in revenue from table games was attributed to “competitive pressures” from similar operations in neighboring Pennsylvania, the company said in its earnings report.

The competition could grow should a recently licensed harness track with a gaming license be built in Lawrence County, Pa., on the Ohio border, and Raceway Park, an Ohio harness track, be approved to relocate to the Youngstown area, one of Mountaineer’s major markets.

Presque Isle, meanwhile, registered a 7% increase in net revenue for the second quarter, up from $48.6 million last year to $52.1 million.

In keeping with a trend that began several years ago, corporate overhead costs for MTR Gaming Group declined, this time by 22% or $2.2 million.

“We are pleased with our second-quarter results, as we were able to carefully control our costs in a continued weak operating environment, resulting in improved adjusted EBITDA figures and margins,” Jeffrey Dahl, MTR Gaming Group president and chief executive officer, said in an Aug. 5 statement. “More importantly, the future looks very bright for MTR Gaming as we successfully completed the refinancing of our debt earlier this week, which provides necessary funding for our new video lottery gaming facility at Scioto Downs that we plan to open in 2012.

“We are excited to bring VLT gaming to the Columbus metro area, and believe it will be a major driver of stockholder value upon the facility’s opening. In addition, we remain cognizant of our cost structure and the current operating environment, and will continue to focus on streamlining our expenses at our existing properties.”

Scioto Downs and six other Ohio racetracks got the go-ahead for VLTs in legislation signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in July. Though the regulatory process and timeline remain uncertain, racetrack officials and horsemen’s representatives have been meeting to hammer out a revenue-sharing agreement.

The company reported having $59.5 million in cash and $378.7 million in debt as of June 30.