Caesars hopes to hit jackpot with Boston casino bid
By Richard Valdmanis
BOSTON (Reuters) - Caesars Entertainment Corp's (CZR.O: Quote) proposed casino in Boston would draw elite international gamblers in the same way Las Vegas does, and marks one of the U.S. gaming industry's best cash-making opportunities, CEO Gary Loveman said on Friday.
The company, which is pursuing an aggressive expansion agenda in the United States while wrestling with a mountainous debt burden of over $20 billion, is among a handful of major casino operators vying for licenses in Massachusetts.
The state Gaming Commission expects to begin awarding the three available licenses by April 2014.
"We think Boston is one of the best opportunities in the United States," Loveman said at a panel discussion organized by the National Association for Business Economics, pointing to what he said was its status as a global destination city.
"The only city in North America that receives significant high-end international play is Las Vegas. And in Vegas it accounts for a significant portion of the total. I believe Boston will become the second such city," he said.
He said his proposed casino at Suffolk Downs in East Boston would initially draw about $1 billion in initial capital investment and provide some of the same amenities as his Las Vegas properties, "but not quite on the same scale."
Loveman said that his company was in good financial condition to follow through with the project if he won the license, despite concerns among analysts about its debt obligations and its impact on future cash flow.
"We have $1.9 billion of cash sitting on our balance sheet, which is a tremendous amount of available cash for projects as they come to us, along with a number of other sources of liquidity," he said. Continued...