Stratosphere parent company reports $9.4 million loss

The Stratosphere is seen Monday, December 21, 2009.

Las Vegas-based American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC, operators of the Stratosphere and two Arizona Charlies properties in Las Vegas and the Aquarius in Laughlin, reported its third-quarter earnings today. The company is not listed on a stock exchange, but has publicly traded debt.

Company: American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC

Revenue: $84.4 million (down 1.6 percent from the third quarter of 2012.) The company reported lower revenue in its casino, entertainment and tower divisions caused by reduced volumes and casino hold percentages, lower average ticket prices for the entertainment division and lower guest counts for the tower division.

Losses: $9.4 million (losses up 184.8 percent from the third quarter of 2012.) The revenue decline plus added expenses of refinancing debt and costs associated with the company’s free poker site widened losses from last year.

What it means: The company focused on reducing debt financing and marketing its online poker site. That, coupled with reduced visitation to the Stratosphere Tower, lower pricing on the company’s entertainment offerings and bad luck in the casino reversed ACEP’s financial fortunes. The company was profitable in the second quarter.

Stratosphere’s net revenue fell 3.5 percent in the third quarter. Occupancy decreased by some 9,800 room nights as occupancy rates declined from 90.1 percent to 85.7 percent.

Companywide, the average daily room rate fell from $48.96 to $48.85 as increases at the Arizona Charlies properties and the Aquarius could not make up for the drop at the Stratosphere. Overall, hotel revenue increased by 2.5 percent due to a 111.2 percent increase in resort-fee revenue compared with the third quarter of 2012.

At the company’s four casinos, table games revenue fell by 8.2 percent, offsetting a fractional increase in slot-machine revenue at the four properties.