Las Vegas tourism improvements lift revenue for the Stratosphere

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The Stratosphere is seen Monday, December 21, 2009.

The return of tourists to Las Vegas boosted fourth-quarter financial results for the owner of the Stratosphere.

American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC of Las Vegas said Thursday it lost $7 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31, an improvement from the loss of $17.4 million in 2010’s fourth quarter.

Thanks to greater business volumes at the Stratosphere, companywide net revenue increased from $79 million to $81.3 million.

The Stratosphere’s net revenue increased from $34.6 million to $37.4 million, American Casino said.

Average daily hotel room rates at the 2,427-room Stratosphere jumped from $44.12 to $55.11 as Las Vegas attracted 38.9 million people in 2011 — nearing the peak of 39.2 million people in 2007.

Despite these improvements, business was sluggish for American Casino at its Aquarius hotel-casino in the competitive Laughlin market. Net revenue for the Aquarius was flat at $20.6 million.

Also, net revenue at the company’s two Arizona Charlie’s locals properties in Las Vegas fell 2.4 percent to $23.3 million.

''The Las Vegas local market is showing signs of economic improvement in the areas of tourism and taxable sales, but continues to be impacted by high unemployment and declining home values. Heavy promotional activity by our competitors continues to dominate the Las Vegas local market,'' American Casino said in Thursday’s financial report.

Even as overall revenue increased for American Casino, it continued to lose money largely because of interest costs running at more than $11 million per quarter as well as noncash expenses for depreciation and amortization that totaled $9 million in the fourth quarter.

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