The US is a nation of gamblers, be it in property and stocks if not on the turn of a card. But while punters are returning to the tables as the economy recovers, they are still betting less than before. Daily gambling revenues on the Las Vegas strip – the flagship row of casinos in the biggest gambling destination – are down by a fifth from their 2007 peak. Recent strong baccarat revenues suggest that Asian consumers are doing their bit, but two companies illustrate the problems that are lingering after a fit of expansion and investment.
On Tuesday, MGM Mirage raised $845m of senior secured debt, paying a 9 per cent coupon. In late 2008, the company was paying 13 per cent but the improved funding costs are mostly due to a loosening up of debt markets rather than better business conditions. The company must continue to restructure its balance sheet, with fresh equity or asset sales still possible.
Private equity-owned Harrah’s, whose total debt of about $22bn is a hefty 11 times last year’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, is in a different position. Debt maturities have been pushed out to 2014, after which they come thick and fast. Like many over-leveraged companies, the group has four years to cross its fingers and hope for a strong recovery.
Meanwhile, competition is increasing as states look for new tax dollars. Feeling the effect of liberalisation in Pennsylvania and New York, last year Atlantic City saw some casinos post the lowest revenues since the early 1980s, notes CreditSights. Fellow neighbours Delaware and Maryland are also contemplating gaming tables, with other states heading down the same route. Much rests on keeping those roulette wheels spinning.
英国《金融时报》 Lex专栏 2010-03-12
美国是一个赌徒之国——无论是在房地产、股票，还是纸牌上。但尽管随着经济复苏，赌客们已开始重返赌台，他们玩得还是比以前小了。拉斯维加斯大道(Las Vegas Strip)是全球最大赌城众多旗舰赌场的所在地，其每日的博彩收入较2007年巅峰时期下降了20%。近期强劲的百家乐收入，表明亚洲赌客在贡献自己的力量。但下述两家公司证明了扩张与投资热潮之后遗留下来的诸多问题。