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Chris Sieroty

Full House Resorts posts $25.8 million profit

10 May 2012

Full House Resorts, Inc. on Wednesday posted first-quarter net income of $25.8 million, or $1.38 per share, compared with net income of $1.6 million, or 9 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.

The Las Vegas-based company, which develops, manages and owns casinos, attributed a majority of its first-quarter results to record revenue of $22.6 million generated by its Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, Ind.

Analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance expected earnings of 8 cents per share.

"It's a very newsworthy and positive first quarter, as our Rising Star casino resort continues to exceed expectations and we closed ... the sale of our interest in the GEM management agreement," Full House Resorts Chairman and CEO Andre Hilliou said.

Hilliou said the company also benefited from the close of its 50 percent joint venture with GEM in the FireKeepers Casino for $97.5 million. Full House used a portion of the proceeds to pay off its outstanding debt of $25.3 million.

As of March 31, Full House had $38.3 million in cash and no outstanding debt.

"We also started off the current quarter with the major announcement of our acquisition of the Silver Slipper Casino," Hilliou said. "We recently obtained financing for the acquisition, commenced the licensing process in Mississippi and expect to close on the acquisition in the third quarter."

Hilliou said the $75 million acquisition will significantly change "the face of the company from a casino management firm to primarily an owner-operator of strong locals-oriented casinos."

For the quarter, Full House reported revenue of $27.5 million from gambling, food and beverage, and hotel, up from $2 million in the same period last year. Operating income for the quarter was $46.3 million, compared with $5.8 million in the first quarter of 2011.

Operating expenses for the quarter were $27.8 million compared with $4 million in the first quarter of 2011.

Full House owns or manages casinos in Nevada, New Mexico and Indiana. The company's Nevada properties include Stockman's Casino in Fallon and a five-year lease for the Grand Lodge Casinos at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village.

Full House reported its Nevada gaming properties posted $233,636 in net income for the first quarter, compared with $187,507 a year earlier.

Full House also has a three-year contract with the Pueblo Pojoaque Tribe to manage Buffalo Thunder Casino in Santa Fe, N.M. The contract, which took effect Sept. 23, earned the company $500,000 in the first quarter.

Shares of Full House Resorts were unchanged Wednesday at $2.97 on the New York Stock Exchange's AMEX market. Some 56,000 shares were traded, roughly twice the normal volume.