Penn National Posts Strong Third Quarter

Penn National Gaming reported a 67.3% increase in revenue and a 52.5% increase in net income for the third quarter. Earnings per share rose 45.4% to 48 cents per share, up from 33 cents for the same quarter of 2000.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $145.5 million up from $86.9 million for the same period a year ago, and net income increased to $7.7 million up from nearly $5.1 million for the same quarter last year.

Charles Town Races in West Virginia continued leading all company properties in revenue, up 43% to $54.1 million, and earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation, and amortization, up 38% to $14.3 million.

Two thousand slot and video poker machines are fueling Charles Town's growth. By next spring, the company will complete a new casino to house all the racetrack's gaming machines and allow room for expansion. Peter Carlino, Penn National's CEO, said Thursday the company will request additional machines next year and could accommodate up to 1,000 more. The machines generated a win of $251 per machine per day for the third quarter.

In other news, Carlino said the pending lawsuit filed against Charles Town by Showboat Development, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harrah's Entertainment, has been moved to federal court. Showboat filed a suit Aug. 20 in a Nevada state court claiming it owns the rights to operate a casino at the Charles Town racetrack in exchange for a management fee. Penn National has said in its counterclaim that video lottery terminals linked to the West Virginia State Lottery do not constitute the operating of a casino and does not infringe on Showboat's rights.

"We are strong in our opinion that is a weak effort by Harrah's," Carlino said. "We have pending motions to dismiss. At the very least, we feel the suit should be heard at the location that is affected and, in this case, it is West Virginia."