MGM Fails to Impress

Maybe MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM  ) knew something we didn't when it sold half of CityCenter to Dubai World in 2007. It looks like downright robbery at this point. CityCenter was the primary cause of a $2-per-share loss in the second quarter as MGM wrote off $1.12 billion on its half of the project. If it hadn't sold half of CityCenter, results would have been much worse.

There wasn't really much positive news in MGM's second quarter. Revenue per available room was down 2%, casino revenue was down 6%, and adjusted property EBITDA at wholly owned properties was down 16%. It may not be as bad as last quarter, but I would prefer not to get excited about things being less bad, which is really all MGM has to offer.

Macau, which provided strong results for Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN  ) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  ) wasn't even all that impressive. MGM doesn't share much about Macau, but the 50/50 joint venture EBITDA was a measly $18.7 million. That's up from a loss of $5.1 million last year but still nothing to write home about.

On the conference call, MGM couldn't do much more than talk about hope for the future. Management better be hopeful because $13 billion in debt is hanging over the company like a thunderstorm ready to flood Las Vegas.

Condo buyers at CityCenter didn't show the same optimism as management, walking away from $56 million worth of deposits. This is a true endorsement of how bad it's gotten in Vegas.

I tried to find some sort of bright spot in MGM's earnings, but I couldn't. Maybe you could look at a poor hold percentage at Aria, but that's not really a game changer. Unless visitation in Las Vegas picks up, I see more concern about debt covenants and asset sales in future quarters. For MGM, the status quo doesn't seem to be working on the Las Vegas Strip.

More on gaming:

Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns shares of Las Vegas Sands. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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