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Caesars reports earnings, insists a Strip sale will come

Caesars Entertainment Inc. is inching closer to selling off one of its Las Vegas Strip casinos.

The company has been talking about selling a Strip asset for several years, dating back to when Eldorado Resorts announced it was acquiring and merging with Caesars in 2019. But the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans as the company waited for the hard-hit gaming and tourism industries to bounce back.

“The next time we talk to you about a Strip asset sale, it will be to announce that sale,” Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said Tuesday during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call.

Caesars posted a net loss of $434 million on $2.6 billion in net revenues for the three-month period ending Dec. 31. That compared with a net loss of $555 million on revenues of $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. The $9.6 billion in net revenues that Caesars generated in 2021 was nearly triple the revenue it saw in 2020.

The company reported a strong showing along the Strip, suggesting signs of a continued recovery from the slow downs and shutdowns that hammered the gaming industry in 2020 and into 2021.

Occupancy rates for Strip properties during the fourth quarter hit 86 percent with weekends averaging 94 percent occupancy, Caesars President and Chief Operating Office Anthony Carano said.

Reeg also said the company is planning to “dramatically” scale back the high-dollar advertising campaign it launched to promote its sports betting product, Caesars Sportsbook, after the venture grew significantly faster than anticipated. So if you’re a fan of Peyton and Eli Manning bantering back and forth with comedian J.B. Smoove’s portrayal of Caesar, you’ll have to catch the television ads while you still can.

Caesars closed on its acquisition of William Hill PLC last April in a roughly $4 billion purchase. In August, the company launched Caesars Sportsbookand with it a multimillion-dollar national marketing campaign.

Reeg said that in the latest month in which states have reported sports betting handles, Caesars had 21 percent of the U.S. market share.

“We set out to be a significant player, and it’s happened significantly quicker than we thought,” Reeg said.

Caesars shares, traded on the Nasdaq, closed down $2.71, or 3.4 percent, at $76.57.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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