Harrah’s entertainment reports earnings | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Harrah’s entertainment reports earnings

Susan Wood

Harrah’s Entertainment had a 36 percent increase in earnings per share for the year ending Dec. 3, the Las Vegas-based casino operator reported Wednesday.

Adjusted earnings per share for 2001 came in as $2.04, up from $1.49 from 2000.

“In addition to the recession and the effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, we experienced a significant year-over-year increase in employee health-care costs in 2001,” Chief Executive Officer Phil Satre said in a statement. “In spite of those issues, we were able to post record results due to strong increases in same-store gaming revenues and earnings associated with recent capital investments.”

The company posted record full-year revenues of $3.71 billion in 2001, up 11.4 percent from $3.33 billion the year prior.

The strong performance overshadowed tough times at the lake. The casino giant reported an 18.1 percent drop in revenues during the fourth quarter and an 8.3 percent decline for the year at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

The latter is in line with an overall decline in year-to-date gaming revenue at Stateline, as indicated at the recent SMG South Shore Tourism Conference.

Corporate spokesman Gary Thompson sees the decline in part as the aftermath of the dot-com crash in the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe’s largest feeder market.

“Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I still feel they’re going to come back when they feel like traveling again,” he said.

Still, Harrah’s western region — which includes Lake Tahoe, northern Nevada and Colorado properties — had record revenues this last year with $389.4 million. In 2002, the west generated $332.5 million.

The company raked in $111.4 million in the fourth quarter, in comparison to $78.6 million for the same period in 2000.

Within the western region’s numbers, the company’s purchase of Harveys Casino Resorts in July boosted revenues, Satre told investors Wednesday morning. Mild weather, lower interest rates and the company’s geographic diversity also contributed to the company’s noteworthy year-end performance, he added.

The company’s performance was strongest in the midwestern markets, where revenues rose 30.7 percent.

The Harveys Lake Tahoe and Colorado properties alone contributed $78 million in revenues to the company’s year-end results in the western region. More than half that amount fell in this region’s coffers during the fourth quarter. The company doesn’t disclose dollar amounts on individual properties.

“The Harveys acquisition was accretive to income for the year. In addition, we completed the integration of three Harveys properties and 674,000 new customers into the Total Rewards system in record time,” Satre said.

The Total Rewards program rewards loyalty between properties.

Harrah’s has created a database of more than 25 million players that frequent 25 casinos across the United States.

The casino operator is Nevada’s second largest employer with 42,000 workers, The Associated Press reported.

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