| BOSTON, Sept 27
BOSTON, Sept 27 Caesars Entertainment Corp's
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 organised 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.
He said Caesars' recent casino projects in Ohio and Maryland
were proof of the company's ability to raise money. "No one has
done more capital investment in the domestic casino industry
than we have in the past few years," he said.
He said Caesar's had refinanced $4.5 billion in debt and had
raised $200 million worth of equity, some of which would be used
to service the remaining debt. "As we've done over the last
several years, we'll continue to work on that as the conditions
Loveman said that the Las Vegas gaming industry, hard-hit by
the 2008 financial crisis, had seen some improvement in recent
years "but has not come back nearly to what it was at its peak."
Massachusetts became one of the most recent states to allow
casinos, in 2011. The law permitting casinos carved the state up
into three regions -- the east of the state, including the
greater Boston area, the southeast including the Cape Cod beach
area and the more mountainous west.
Seven projects, backed by big casino operators including
Caears Entertainment Corp, Wynn Resorts Ltd, and MGM are
currently pursuing the three licenses.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has undertaken a large,
multi-million dollar survey of gambling in Massachusetts that is
meant to track the social and economic costs of casinos in the
Loveman said that while he supported the research it annoyed
him that other industries selling potentially unhealthy products
- like junk food or alcohol - were often not subjected to
"It does irk me a bit that it is so specifically applied to
the casino business when it could be applied elsewhere," he