Next owner may expand Stratosphere with convention space

The Stratosphere on Las Vegas Blvd on September 30, 2015.

Golden Entertainment Inc., a gaming company that operates casinos, slot routes, and neighborhood bars and pubs, reported its second-quarter earnings today.

Company: Golden Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ:GDEN)

Net Revenues: Net revenues for the second quarter of 2017 were $110 million, compared to $103 million for the same quarter a year ago.

Net Income: Net income for 2017’s second quarter was $1.7 million, compared to $2.8 million for the second quarter of 2016.

Income per share: For the second quarter of 2017, income per diluted share was $0.07, compared to $ 0.12 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2016.

Our takeaway: In a conference call with gaming analysts today, Golden Entertainment CEO Blake Sartini spoke about where the company saw its strongest results in the second quarter.

The biggest financial gains came from Golden Entertainment’s distributed gaming business — where the company provides and operates slot and video poker machines in other businesses — and its Rocky Gap Resort casino in Maryland, Sartini said.

Sartini then spelled out the company moves to fine tune its distributed gaming business in Nevada and grow it nationally.

In Nevada, he said, Golden is adding higher-end tavern locations and dropping lower-performing customers. And in Illinois Golden plans on becoming “the partner of choice for existing and new distributed gaming locations.”

Golden owns more than 50 pubs and taverns under the PT’s Pub, Sierra Gold and other brands. Sartini said Golden added two locations in the second quarter and plans on opening a total of seven locations by the end of the year.

Earlier this summer, Golden announced it was buying American Casino and Entertainment Properties, which owns the Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, Arizona Charlie’s Boulder and the Aquarius in Laughlin.

Sartini said those properties will fit well into Golden’s existing business. “Our mid-market customer base lines up nicely with the American Casino and Entertainment Properties customer, and we believe we can effectively promote across Nevada, Montana and Maryland,” he said.

The purchase of American may also spur additional growth. In a response to an analyst’s question, Golden CFO Charles Protell said Golden is considering expanding the Stratosphere sometime after the deal closes in the fourth quarter.

“The property does not have convention space, and we think that’s a huge opportunity,” Protell said.