Boyd Gaming’s Las Vegas locals segment posted its best first-quarter earnings since pre-recession days as the valley’s economy continues its rapid expansion.
The resort operator’s downtown earnings soared in the first quarter as more visitors head to Fremont Street.
Nevada earnings were also boosted by marketing enhancements, such as the implementation of new technology and better player analytics.
“Both of our Nevada segments continued to achieve solid growth in profitable revenues,” CEO Keith Smith said in a statement Thursday.
Operating cash flow at Boyd’s locals segment — which includes Aliante, Gold Coast, Orleans and Sam’s Town — rose 4.5 percent compared with the same quarter last year to $74 million on flat revenue growth of $223 million.
The resort operator squeezed the same amount of money from customers even as it cut marketing, enabling it to post its best first-quarter cash flow since 2007. Aliante posted record first-quarter cash flow while Orleans scored its best result since 2005, Smith said.
Boyd’s Downtown first-quarter cash flow jumped 14 percent to $15 million, a record high, as revenue rose 4 percent to $63 million. The growth was driven by the company’s Hawaiian customer base as well Downtown’s “strong appeal,” Smith told Wall Street analysts on a conference call following publication of the results.
Roughly half of all visitors to Las Vegas visit downtown, Smith said. However, he said Boyd’s Downtown business will likely be hurt as the construction of Circa gets underway, creating greater noise, dust and disruption.
Smith said the legalization of sports betting is helping to drive new customers to casinos in Mississippi and Pennsylvania. He said he hopes to launch sports betting at the company’s casinos in Iowa and Indiana later this year.
“[Sports betting] is a very much a net positive to the overall business” he said.
Overall, first-quarter revenues jumped 36 percent following the acquisition of more gaming assets last year, including an Illinois slot route operation. Company-wide cash flow advanced 24 percent driven by the acquisitions.
Net income rose 9.8 percent to $45.5 million.
Shares closed down 1.2 percent to $30.57.