Wed., 12:26pm: Mountaineer revenue grows

CHESTER – MTR Gaming Group Acting President Joseph Billhimer said the corporation’s Ohio property continues to “cannibalize” profits from Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.

From April through June, parent company MTR’s revenue was up 11.1 percent compared to the same period in 2012. However, revenue at Mountaineer slumped 10.6 percent during this same time.

Mountaineer is MTR’s original property, but the corporation also now operates Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio, and Presque Isle Downs and Casino near Erie, Pa.

“The expansion of gaming in Ohio and other regional markets continues to cannibalize existing mature markets, including Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia … ” said Billhimer. “We have been able to offset some of this impact through continued focus on operating efficiencies, as well as targeted capital spending. As of June 30, we have spent approximately $10 million of our planned $20 million capital improvements for 2013 that are designed to enhance the overall gaming experience for our patrons and improve our competitive position.”

One of those enhancements at Mountaineer now allows customers, when they are in specific areas of the facility, to use their smartphones and iPads to bet on live or simulcast racing across the country. Transactions take place over a secure network, according to company leaders. Individuals must be 18 and are required to provide legal identification to sign up for an account.

MTR earnings from April through June were $27.5 million, an increase of 34 percent from last year. Net income was $2.4 million. During the period, MTR saw revenues of $132.3 million, up from $119.1 million over the same time in 2012.

However, revenue at Mountaineer from April through June was $52.4 million, down from $58.4 million during the same three months in 2012. Slot machine revenue dropped by $4.6 million during this time, while table gambling revenue slumped by $1.4 million.

Scioto Downs, which celebrated its first anniversary for having slots and tables on June 1, is now the main revenue driver for MTR. The facility outside Columbus saw $37.6 million in revenue from April through June, up from just $12.6 million during the same time last year.

“The continued strength of our Scioto Downs gaming facility led to another quarter of strong double-digit revenue … ,” said Billhimer. “Customer satisfaction levels continue to improve, a testament to the great job our team members are doing at the facility.”

Cash flows also are down at Presque Isle Downs, as revenue there dropped 11.4 percent in the second quarter compared to 2012. MTR officials also blame much of this loss on increased activity at Ohio casinos.

Increased competition from Ohio also causes problems for Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. Officials there are anticipating a $1 million loss on table games this year, in addition to paying the $2.5 million annual fee as required by the West Virginia Lottery Commission.