Penn National Gaming (PENN)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 20, 2011 10:00 am ET


Eric Schippers - Senior Vice President of Public Affairs

Steve Ducharme - Chairman of Compliance Committee

William J. Clifford - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance

Unknown Executive -

Timothy J. Wilmott - President and Chief Operating Officer

Peter M. Carlino - Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Joseph Jaffoni - Investor Relations, Jaffoni & Collins Incorporated


Ryan L. Worst - Brean Murray, Carret & Co., LLC, Research Division

Steven Wieczynski - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Felicia R. Hendrix - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Brian Egger - Harris Nesbitt

Steven Kent - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Joel H. Simkins - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

David B. Katz - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Joseph Greff - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Adam Steinberg - Morgan Joseph

Mark Strawn - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Carlo Santarelli - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Shaun C. Kelley - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Penn National Gaming Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Joe Jaffoni, Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Joseph Jaffoni

Thanks, Frank, and good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining Penn National Gaming's third quarter 2011 conference call. We'll get to management's presentation and comments momentarily as well as your questions and answers, but first I'll review the Safe Harbor disclosure.

In addition to the historical facts or statements of current conditions, today's conference call contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements reflect the company's current expectations and beliefs, but are not guarantees of future performance. As such, actual results could vary materially from expectations. The risks and uncertainties associated with the forward-looking statements are described in today's news announcement and in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q. Penn National Gaming assumes no obligations to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Today's call and webcast may also -- will also include non-GAAP financial measures within the meaning of SEC Regulation G. And when required, a reconciliation of all non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP can be found in today's news announcement, as well as on the company's website.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Penn National's Chairman and CEO, Peter Carlino. Peter?

Peter M. Carlino

Thanks, Joe, and good morning, everyone. We are, of course, happy to report another very good quarter here at Penn with good performance in virtually all of our properties.

Notably, construction is proceeding well with our 3 large projects in Kansas City, Toledo and Columbus, Ohio. And so this, from my view, is a very good time here at Penn National. As it has been our custom for now quite a few years, I will -- that probably ends my official comments and we'll open the floor to questions and go to the issues that you folks want to hear. So with that, operator, would you please open the floor?

Question-and-Answer Session


[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Felicia Hendrix of Barclays Capital.

Felicia R. Hendrix - Barclays Capital, Research Division

So first, I wanted to ask you, you reported a good quarter. Peter, you stated in the release that you're not seeing it. Despite the macroeconomic environment, you're not seeing disruption at your properties. You're not alone in stating that. Others, other regional operators have said the same thing and I'm wondering, do you think that's mainly because the markets really haven't recovered since 2008? Or is it something else? I know that you have made a lot of investments in your properties, but I'm really asking about the stability as a whole in the regional gaming arena, because people are certainly concerned about that.

Peter M. Carlino

Well, I'll give you a very quick answer. I'll turn it over to Tim, who of course, lives with this day-to-day, hour-by-hour. Look, I think this is more a macroeconomic issue. It is broadly how people are feeling. I mean, I think, this is my own view, as you know, we're all at in Las Vegas and much of the industry for the gaming conferences a couple of weeks ago, and the place was busy. I mean, it really was busy. Look, it's not what it had been. But obviously, people want to get out and want to have a good time, enjoy what we offer, and I think that's true on a regional basis as well. So the issue in our view, I think, is absolutely macro. But look, if we continue with the market down quarter-after-quarter-after-quarter and people start looking at their 401(k)s and retirement funds and so forth, I mean that could change. But at the moment, it's been pretty strong. Tim?

Timothy J. Wilmott

Yes. Felicia, we saw flat same-store sales growth year-over-year in our existing businesses, and I agree with Peter. I think it's more of a macro issue. I've always contended that our consumers are very sensitive to unemployment rates and their home prices, and that really hasn't changed too much in the last quarter. And I think that's reflected in our business lines that they remain very stable. We're not seeing any uptick. We're not seeing any downtick. And on top of that, as I mentioned recently when I was speaking in Las Vegas, we've seen a very, very rational promotional spending environment in the regional markets that have allowed us to continue to be smarter marketers and continue to shave off expenses to have better overall margins in our properties.

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