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Casino CEOs say the industry isn’t yet seeing signs of recession, but is prepared for a pullback

CNBC | Las Vegas has yet to see signs of a looming recession, according to the CEO of two major casinos.

Bill Hornbuckle, the CEO of MGM Resorts International, said at CNBC’s Evolve Global Summit on Wednesday that he expects inflation and rising gas prices will eventually impact his business, but that “it hasn’t yet.”

“What’s happened over the last 18 months has literally been historic, but if you look at how we thought we would be performing against how we are performing, we’re exactly where we thought we would be,” Hornbuckle said.

Despite soaring inflation, gaming revenue in May was up 7.9% compared to the same time last year, according to the American Gaming Association. And March, April and May represented the three best months in the industry’s history, with each surpassing a total revenue of $5 billion.

Jim Allen, Hard Rock International’s CEO, however, warned in May that record inflation is impacting his customers, while Red Rock Resorts CEO Frank Fertitta III said in his quarterly earnings call on May 3 that rising prices are only impacting people who spend the least.

Despite increases in the costs of food and gas, among other things, technological adaptations made during Covid — such as pods and different gaming-floor configurations — have allowed MGM Resorts to bring more millennials into its casinos than ever before.

“It’s brought millennials to the table in a way that they have not been before in this industry. We have more millennial business than we’ve ever had by 20%,” Hornbuckle said. “I’m extremely optimistic about the space.”

Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings, meanwhile, is confident that it can weather another economic challenge if need be.

“I do think the industry here in Las Vegas is better prepared, because of Covid, to know the levers we need to pull to make it through whatever does come,” Billings said.


Source: CNBC

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