Penn National Gaming (PENN) Q1 2012 Earnings Call April 19, 2012 10:00 am ET Executives Joseph Jaffoni - Peter M. Carlino - Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Timothy J. Wilmott - President and Chief Operating Officer Eric Schippers - Senior Vice President of Public Affairs William J. Clifford - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance Analysts Felicia R. Hendrix - Barclays Capital, Research Division Shaun C. Kelley - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division Mark Strawn - Morgan Stanley, Research Division Steven M. Wieczynski - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division Brian D. Egger - Topeka Capital Markets Inc., Research Division Joel H. Simkins - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division Larry Haverty Presentation Operator
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 10-Q. Penn National Gaming assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.Today's call and webcast may include non-GAAP financial measures within the meaning of SEC Regulation G. When required, a reconciliation of all non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP can be found in today's press release as well as on the company's website. With that, I'm happy to turn the call over to Peter Carlino, the company's Chairman and CEO. Peter? Peter M. Carlino Thanks, Joe, and good morning, everyone. Obviously, we're happy to report a nice quarter and with me today are most of the usual group, our senior management team. And in light of our quarter, although I can anticipate some of the questions you folks may have, I think I'm just going to let you ask them. So operator, why don't we open the floor to questions. Question-and-Answer Session Operator [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Felicia Hendrix with Barclays Capital. Felicia R. Hendrix - Barclays Capital, Research Division So just a few questions. One is you certainly did report a great quarter. I'm wondering, you talked in the release about a variety of things that benefited the quarter, whether some improvement on the gaming side, specifically. Just wondering, is there any way that you can parse out? I know it's tough but maybe if you can help give us an idea of how much of that good performance do you attribute to the better weather? And then, actually how much of it is actual increased spend per visit?
Peter M. CarlinoIt's a very -- I mean, that's an obvious question, Felicia. I was watching Larry Kudlow the other night, who was castigating somebody for the weather excuse. We try not to use weather as an excuse on the downside, although clearly sometimes, that is the case. And we often and usually don't use it on the upside either. Clearly, weather had some impact. But make no mistake, this is visually a very strong quarter. Our customers are back, and they're back in force. And most of our properties are doing extremely well. So there is an energy out there that transcends weather. That's my broad response. I'll let Tim give you the real truth. Timothy J. Wilmott Yes. Felicia, just to add to Peter's comments, we certainly saw the benefit of that weather in February, we believe. January and March were pretty typical months. You can even argue March was -- the weather may have been too good compared to other Marches, and people were outside taking care of their spring activities a month earlier than usual. The other thing that we certainly had in the quarter was an extra day in February. That certainly had a positive impact. But generally, we're seeing a slightly improved behavior from our customers. The strength continues to be like we saw in the fourth quarter in the 400-and-above segment. We are seeing overall increased spend per visit, slightly. And our marketing activities continue to move low-end customers away from being rated into unrated. So that has an overall effect of improving the quality of your rated play on a per-trip basis. The good news is there's rational promo environment out there. We don't see anybody causing any fight for share that we think is detrimental to our business and to our customers. So the quarter, I think, has been better than what we've seen in the last couple of years, slightly. The recovery, I think, will continue to be slow, which is reflected in our guidance for the balance of the year. And we do see the strength in our VIP segment, which is good to note that we're protecting our VIP customers even though we're able to continue to improve our margins at the lower end of our rated database. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com