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Monarch posts record quarter thanks to higher Colorado bet limits

Higher betting limits in Colorado helped drive record revenue growth for Reno-based Monarch Casino & Resort Inc., but new COVID-19 variants prevented profits from being even higher.

“Our Monarch Black Hawk operations continued to ramp up in the fourth quarter,” said John Farahi, co-chairman and CEO of Monarch, which operates Reno’s Atlantis resort. “In mid-December 2021, we opened an all-new sports book, lounge and bar along with additional casino space within the legacy facility. In the coming days, we expect to debut a new specialty restaurant, which will provide our guests with an outstanding dining experience while increasing restaurant seating capacity at the property by approximately 35 percent.”

“We continue to gain noticeable market share and attract high-value players from across Colorado’s Front Range, who had previously traveled to other markets, such as Las Vegas, for a high-end casino entertainment experience,” he said. “We remain extremely bullish on the trajectory of the property’s performance.”

For the quarter that ended Dec. 31, Monarch reported net income of $19.9 million, $1.02 a share, on revenue of $111.1 million. That compares with net income of $15.3 million, 88 cents a share, on revenue of $58.4 million for the same quarter a year earlier.

For the full year, Monarch reported net income of $68.5 million, $3.53 a share, on revenue of $395.4 million. That compares with net income of $23.7 million, $1.25 a share, on revenue of $184.4 million in 2020.

“On May 1, we immediately took advantage of the elimination of betting limits in Black Hawk and expanded our game mix,” Farahi said. “At Atlantis in Reno, we completed the redesign and upgrade of our high-end suites on the top two floors of the concierge hotel tower. We believe that all these factors contributed to record fourth-quarter and full-year financial results.”

The company has begun the redesign and upgrade to other rooms in the resort’s tower, expecting to complete the project by mid-2022.

Farahi said new COVID variants continue to create labor market shortages and wage pressure, resulting in increased labor costs. In addition, supply chain constraints and price inflation continued to impact the company’s operating costs.

“The Reno economy remains robust, while gaming remains extremely competitive,” Farahi said. “Winter weather impacted certain weekends in December, limiting access to Reno for our California-based guests.”

“We expect that 2022 will be another year of strong operating performance and financial results,” he said. “We continue to evaluate acquisition opportunities where we can fully leverage our development expertise and operational excellence. We remain committed to deploying capital in a manner that will position Monarch to grow and build long-term value for our loyal stockholders.”

Monarch shares, traded on the Nasdaq exchange, closed up $2.50, 3.6 percent, to $72.47 a share on volume more than three times the daily average. After hours, shares continued to climb by $1.24, 1.7 percent, to end at $73.71, close to the 52-week high of $76 a share.

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

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