River Rock Casino windfall helps Great Canadian Gaming earnings surge

A surge in gambling and hotel visitors at Great Canadian Gaming’s River Rock Casino in Richmond helped the company (TSX:GC) post its highest quarterly revenue in its 32-year history.

River Rock casino's hotel generated $128 in revenue per available room night in the quarter ended June 30 - up 20.7% from $106 in the same quarter a year ago

A surge in gambling and hotel visitors at Great Canadian Gaming’s River Rock Casino in Richmond helped the company (TSX:GC) post its highest quarterly revenue in its 32-year history.

CEO Rod Baker told analysts on an August 13 conference call that much of the success at that casino stems from wealthy Asian visitors.

Revenue at River Rock Casino, which is a five-minute Canada Line ride from Vancouver International Airport, spiked 33% to $53.8 million in the three months that ended June 30, compared with the same period a year ago. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) soared 54% to $32.7 million at the facility in the quarter.

The hotel’s occupancy was up as was its revenue per available room night.

Baker said the facility’s hotel achieved an average of $128 for each available room per night in the quarter. That’s 20.7% higher than in the same quarter a year ago.

River Rock Casino’s success helped the company record $19.9 in quarterly net profit – a 76% rise compared with the same quarter a year ago. Total revenue at Great Canadian Gaming was $114.7 million, or 12% more than a year ago.

Weak spots for the company included sluggish gaming at its casinos in Nova Scotia and on Vancouver Island.

“Vancouver continues to be an important place for our Asian demographic to either live or have families or invest,” Baker said.

He noted that many of River Rock Casino’s guests are visitors who also frequent Las Vegas and Macau, where casinos generate “$40 billion” – virtually all from table gaming.

“We’re $200 to $300 million [in table gaming at River Rock Casino]. We’re like a few hours of biz over there,” he said.

“One could view this as literally an absolute little pimple on the size of the opportunity here when you look at the volumes being gamed globally from a demographic that, not all of them but a healthy chunk of them, find Vancouver important and a place where they come to visit or stay or put down some sort of roots.”

Scotiabank analyst George Doumet said on the conference call that the results revealed a “very strong quarter” and that “obviously there’s some strong results coming out of the River Rock Casino.”

Great Canadian Gaming’s other bright spot locally was a 7% revenue rise and 29% EBITDA jump at its Hard Rock Casino Vancouver in Coquitlam during the quarter.

That venue was known as Boulevard Casino during the same quarter a year ago.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom