Big Plans for a Rebuilt Caesars

Two weeks after the exit from bankruptcy of Caesars Entertainment’s largest subsidiary, President and CEO Mark Frissora (l.) gathered with other top executives on Wall Street for a celebratory ringing of the opening Nasdaq bell. He then treated the investment community to a peak at the conglomerate’s future.

A restructured and re-energized Caesars Entertainment has begun to flesh out its growth plans for Las Vegas and other key markets.

As outlined in a corporate presentation to investors and analysts in New York last week, highlights include ongoing renovation of more than 10,000 Las Vegas hotel rooms, a ramp-up of the company’s Total Rewards loyalty program and plans for monetizing the Caesars brands through a variety of partnerships worldwide.

President and CEO Mark Frissora indicated plans are progressing for a $300 million-$500 million convention center slated for completion on the Las Vegas Strip in two years on land currently used as parking lot east of the High Roller thrill ride.

“The convention center is going to be 300,000 square feet,” he said. “It will be very functional; it will host small and midsize meetings. We’re not doing exhibit space.”

The company also said it is finalizing strategies for the development of seven acres in front of Caesars Palace, 39 acres adjacent to The Linq and another 50 acres near Bally’s, Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood.

Internationally, he emphasized Caesars’ commitment to constructing a China-facing destination resort in South Korea and said the company wants to be in the running for a casino license in Japan and in Brazil, if legalization becomes a reality there.

He also said the company is looking for new ways to grow its global footprint through the licensing of its best-known brands―Caesars, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Rio, Planet Hollywood, Total Rewards and the World Series of Poker among them. The company is looking for 16-17 percent management fees from prospective branding partners and possibly equity stakes and profit-sharing as well.

“Our brands are powerful and wanted by developers all around the world,” Frissora said. “We’ve never done this before.”

Celebrity dining concepts and A-list entertainment will continue to figure prominently in the company’s domestic marketing arsenal, hand in hand with a focus on expanding Total Rewards and developing other strategies to appeal to the growing millennial demographic on both the gaming and non-gaming sides of the business.

One strategy will include an aggressive program for displaying food and game offers to customers as they emerge from concerts, using discounted offers to increase spending at other sites within the properties.

Christian Stuart, executive vice president of gaming and interactive entertainment, said gaming floors are being revamped with new proprietary side-bet games on tables and fresh slot machines that will include skill-based components.

He noted that a new mobile gaming platform has been launched and said the company is working with Gamblit, GameCo and Competition Interactive for new skill-based offerings designed to be available for free on social platforms so that players can easily transition to paid games once in the casino.

In related news, Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. Inc., the company’s largest subsidiary, has secured a $265 million term loan two weeks after exiting a comprehensive restructuring under the protection of U.S. Bankruptcy Court that has slashed some $10 billion of its debt.

The funding will be added to existing resources valued at around $1.43 billion and used to repay senior secured notes issued by the holding companies for Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack, the company said.

Frissora said the loan, combined with other recently announced refinancing packages, will reduce CEOC’s debt by a further $290 million.