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Colorado resort helps drive Monarch Resorts record 3Q earnings

Updated October 26, 2021 - 5:12 pm

Reno-based Monarch Casino & Resort Inc. may soon compete for Las Vegas customers at its Black Hawk, Colorado, property, a gaming analyst said in a report to investors Monday.

The company that operates the Atlantis in Reno as well as the Monarch Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk has been buoyed by expanded gaming in Colorado and improvements in the Colorado mountain resort.

“Black Hawk continues to ramp post-renovation and the removal of betting limits on table games and the introduction of baccarat,” Barry Jonas, an analyst with Atlanta-based Truist Securities, said in a note to investors.

“In addition, management noted they are gaining traction with regional VIPs since Amendment 77 went live, but remain in early innings,” Jonas said. “We see the property competing more and more with Las Vegas, given its newer amenities and expect a grand opening party early next year to help drive more VIP play.”

Amendment 77, approved by the state’s voters in 2020, permitted voters in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek, Colorado, the ability to expand wagering limits to above $100 a bet and to allow for the playing of gambling games in addition to slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette and craps. The state vote permitted the three cities to expand their offerings on May 1.

The analysis came as Monarch posted record third-quarter earnings Monday.

Monarch Co-Chairman and CEO John Farahi said his company “benefited from the strong ongoing pandemic recovery, economic and population growth in Denver and Reno, and the notable impact of the removal of betting limits in Colorado.”

The company’s Colorado property is driving most of the growth.

“Our Black Hawk operations are ramping up, and we are working diligently to complete the legacy facility transformation by year-end,” Farahi said in a release. “This addition will increase casino space by approximately 25 percent and restaurant seating by approximately 35 percent. In just a short time, the property has established itself as the leading casino resort in the greater Denver market, and we continue to grow market share.”

Farahi said the removal of table game limits resulted in an increase in new customer visitation, “particularly high value players from across the Front Range.”

“We have been able to manage the labor shortages and operate the hotel, and food and beverage outlets (are) at full capacity on our busiest nights,” he said.

Monarch shares, traded on the Nasdaq exchange, soared Tuesday, closing up 8 percent, $5.49 a share, to $73.74 a share with volume more than twice the daily average.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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