SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2018
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission File No. 1-10410
CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State of incorporation)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
One Caesars Palace Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OF THE ACT:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common stock, $0.01 par value
NASDAQ Global Select Market
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(g) OF THE ACT:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No x
The aggregate market value of common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2018 was $7.4 billion.
As of February 19, 2019, the registrant had 670,136,264 shares of common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for our 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K, provided that if the Registrant does not file such Proxy Statement on or before April 30, 2019, such information will be included in an amendment to this Form 10-K filed on or before such date.
CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
In this filing, the name “CEC” refers to the parent holding company, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, exclusive of its consolidated subsidiaries and variable interest entities, unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise requires. The words “Company,” “Caesars,” “Caesars Entertainment,” “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Caesars Entertainment Corporation, inclusive of its consolidated subsidiaries and variable interest entities, unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise requires.
We also refer to (i) our Consolidated Financial Statements as our “Financial Statements,” (ii) our Consolidated Statements of Operations and Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income/(Loss) as our “Statements of Operations,” (iii) our Consolidated Balance Sheets as our “Balance Sheets,” and (iv) our Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows as our “Statements of Cash Flows.” References to numbered “Notes” refer to Notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Item 8.
Caesars Entertainment is a casino-entertainment and hospitality services provider with the world’s most diversified portfolio. We have established a rich history of industry-leading growth and expansion since we commenced operations in 1937. Our facilities typically include gaming offerings, food and beverage outlets, hotel and convention space, and non-gaming entertainment options. In addition to our brick and mortar assets, we operate an online gaming business that provides real money games in certain jurisdictions and offers retail sports wagering in certain jurisdictions.
CEC is primarily a holding company with no independent operations of its own. CEC operates the business primarily through its wholly owned subsidiaries CEOC, LLC (“CEOC LLC”) and Caesars Resort Collection, LLC (“CRC”).
We lease certain real property assets from VICI Properties Inc. and/or its subsidiaries (collectively, “VICI”).
Significant Transactions in 2018
New Transactions with VICI
Harrah’s Philadelphia Real Estate Sale and Leaseback
On December 26, 2018, we sold all land and real property improvements used in the operation of Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack (“Harrah’s Philadelphia”) as part of a sale and leaseback transaction with VICI for $242 million. We continue to operate Harrah’s Philadelphia under the terms of a long-term lease agreement relating to certain of our other domestic properties. See Note 1 and Note 10 for additional information.
Modifications to Lease Agreements with VICI
In connection with the Octavius Tower sale discussed below and the Harrah’s Philadelphia transaction discussed above, on December 26, 2018, the Company and VICI consummated modifications to certain of our existing lease agreements for consideration of $159 million to VICI, which reduced our financing obligation. The modifications, among other things, bring certain of the lease terms into alignment with other master leases in the sector and the long-term performance of the properties and create additional flexibility to facilitate our future development strategies. See Note 1 and Note 10 for additional information.
Sale of Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace
On July 11, 2018, we sold Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace (“Octavius Tower”) to VICI for $508 million in cash. Proceeds from the transaction were used to partially fund the closing of CEC’s acquisition of Centaur Holdings, LLC (“Centaur”). We continue to operate the Octavius Tower under the current terms of the long-term lease agreement with VICI relating to Caesars Palace. See Note 1 and Note 10 for additional information.
Acquisition of Centaur Holdings, LLC
On July 16, 2018, we completed the acquisition of Centaur. Centaur operated Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, Indiana, and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, Indiana. See Note 4 for additional information.
Other Significant Transactions and Significant Events
On November 1, 2018, we announced that Mark P. Frissora, our President and Chief Executive Officer, will leave the Company. Subject to the terms of the separation agreement entered into between the Company and Mr. Frissora (as amended, the “Separation Agreement”), Mr. Frissora will continue as President and Chief Executive Officer until a termination date of April 30, 2019 (which the Company may extend by one month) for purposes of continuity of leadership as the Company searches for a successor to Mr. Frissora with the nationally recognized third-party search firm the Company has engaged for that purpose.
CEOC’s Emergence from Bankruptcy and CEC’s Merger with Caesars Acquisition Company
Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, Inc. (“CEOC”) and certain of its U.S. subsidiaries (collectively, the “Debtors”) voluntarily filed for reorganization on January 15, 2015 (the “Petition Date”), at which time CEC deconsolidated CEOC. The Debtors emerged from bankruptcy and consummated their reorganization pursuant to their third amended joint plan of reorganization (the “Plan”) on October 6, 2017 (the “Effective Date”). As part of its emergence from bankruptcy, CEOC reorganized into an operating company (“OpCo”) separate from its real property assets (“PropCo”). OpCo was acquired by CEC on the Effective Date and immediately merged with and into CEOC LLC. See Note 4 for additional information. CEOC LLC operates the properties and facilities formerly held by CEOC and leases the properties and facilities from VICI.
On the Effective Date, Caesars Acquisition Company (“CAC”) merged with and into CEC, with CEC as the surviving company (the “CAC Merger”). See Note 4 for additional information. The CAC Merger was accounted for as a reorganization of entities under common control, which resulted in CAC being consolidated into Caesars at book value as an equity transaction for all periods presented.
The members of Hamlet Holdings LLC (“Hamlet Holdings”) are comprised of affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC and affiliates of TPG Global, LLC. Hamlet Holdings contributed to CEC the 88 million shares of CEC common stock it owned prior to the CAC Merger, which CEC immediately canceled and retired. Hamlet Holdings controlled CEC prior to the CAC Merger. Upon completion of the CAC Merger and CEOC’s emergence from bankruptcy, due to reductions in ownership percentage of the Company starting on the Effective Date, Hamlet Holdings no longer controls CEC.
CRC, a wholly owned subsidiary of CEC, was created on December 22, 2017, with the merger of Caesars Entertainment Resort Properties, LLC (“CERP”) into Caesars Growth Properties Holdings, LLC (“CGPH”).
As of December 31, 2018, through our consolidated entities, we have a total of 53 properties, three of which do not have casinos, in 14 U.S. states and five countries outside of the U.S. Our facilities have an aggregate of over 3 million square feet of gaming space and approximately 40,000 hotel rooms. Of the 50 casinos, 37 are in the United States and primarily consist of land-based and riverboat or dockside casinos. Our 13 international casinos are land-based casinos, most of which are located in the United Kingdom.
We view each property as an operating segment and aggregate them into three regionally-focused reportable segments: (i) Las Vegas, (ii) Other U.S., and (iii) All Other, which is consistent with how we manage the business. Within these segments, our properties are primarily categorized as Leased (where we lease real property assets from VICI), Owned-Domestic, Owned-International, and Managed. See Item 2, “Properties,” for more information about our properties.
Our All Other segment includes managed and international properties as well as other businesses, such as Caesars Interactive Entertainment (“CIE”).
Our consolidated business is composed of five complementary businesses that reinforce, cross-promote, and build upon each other: casino entertainment, food and beverage, rooms and hotel, casino management services, and entertainment and other business operations, including mobile sports betting. Upon CEOC’s emergence from bankruptcy on the Effective Date, the majority of its real property assets were sold to VICI and simultaneously leased back to us as part of the plan of reorganization. Additional transactions with VICI were subsequently completed to finance acquisitions, resulting in cash proceeds and corresponding financing obligations. See Note 1 and Note 10 for additional information.
Casino Entertainment Operations
Our casino entertainment operations generate revenues from approximately 39,000 slot machines and 2,700 table games, as well as other games such as keno, poker, and race and sports books, all of which comprised approximately 51% of our total net revenues in 2018. Slot revenues generate the majority of our gaming revenues, particularly in our properties located outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Food and Beverage Operations
Our food and beverage operations generate revenues from over 180 buffets, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and lounges located throughout our casinos, as well as banquets and room service, and represented approximately 19% of our total net revenues in 2018. Many of our properties include several dining options, ranging from upscale dining experiences to moderately-priced restaurants and buffets.
Rooms and Hotel Operations
Rooms and hotel operations generate revenues from hotel stays at our properties in our approximately 36,000 guest rooms and suites worldwide and represented approximately 18% of our total net revenues in 2018. Our properties operate at various price and service points, allowing us to host a variety of casino guests who are visiting our properties for gaming and other casino entertainment options and non-casino guests who are visiting our properties for other purposes, such as vacation travel or conventions.
We have engaged in large capital reinvestment projects in recent years focusing primarily on our room product across the United States, including renovating over 14,000 rooms in Las Vegas since 2015 at properties such as Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino (“Planet Hollywood”), Flamingo Las Vegas, Bally’s Las Vegas, Harrah’s Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas. In addition, we continue to roll out self-check-in kiosks in order to help reduce customer wait times and improve labor efficiencies.
We earn revenue from fees paid for the management of eight casinos. Managed properties represent Caesars-branded properties where Caesars Entertainment provides staffing and management services under management agreements. In 2018, we opened our first non-gaming properties, a Caesars and Caesars Palace, which are managed by us, including two beachfront luxury resorts, a beach club, and a residential tower on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai.
Entertainment and Other Business Operations
We provide a variety of retail and entertainment offerings at our properties. We operate various entertainment venues across the United States, including the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, both of which were ranked among the top theater venues in the United States in 2018 based on ticket sales. These award-winning theaters have hosted prominent headliners, such as Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, and the Backstreet Boys.
The LINQ Promenade and our retail stores offer guests a wide range of options from high-end brands and accessories to souvenirs and decorative items. The LINQ Promenade is an open-air dining, entertainment, and retail development located between The LINQ Hotel & Casino and Flamingo Las Vegas, and it features The High Roller, a 550-foot observation wheel. On November 9, 2018, we opened Fly LINQ, the first and only zipline on the Las Vegas Strip.
On July 16, 2018, we broke ground on CAESARS FORUM, a 550,000 square-foot conference center located at the center of the Las Vegas Strip. Scheduled to officially open in 2020, CAESARS FORUM will feature 300,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, the two largest pillarless ballrooms in the world, and FORUM Plaza, the first 100,000 square-foot outdoor meeting and event space in Las Vegas.
In addition, CIE operates a regulated online real money gaming business in Nevada and New Jersey and owns the World Series of Poker (“WSOP”) tournaments and brand, and also licenses WSOP trademarks for a variety of products and businesses related to this brand.
The Company is now live with retail sports wagering across three U.S. jurisdictions, including launching in Pennsylvania in January 2019 to bring our total to four states. In September 2018, the Company also launched The Caesars Casino & Sports app for mobile sports betting which allows players in New Jersey who download the app to place bets on sporting events. They can also play over 400 casino games including slots, table games, and video poker. This product is expected to be launched in Pennsylvania in March 2019 pending regulatory approval and will launch in other states as regulatory approval is received.
The Company continues to solidify local and national partnerships that align our casinos, resorts and brands with sports fans. During 2018, we had several developments in our strategy to raise Caesars’ profile among professional sports fans. We announced high-profile exclusive sports entertainment partnerships with the NFL, making Caesars the first-ever “Official Casino Sponsor” in the history of the league. This historic partnership combines the NFL’s legendary events with our properties to bring unique experiences to Caesars patrons. This includes exclusive rights to use NFL trademarks in the U.S. and U.K. to promote our properties, also enabling Caesars to host exclusive special events and experiences. Furthermore, Caesars will host brand activations at prominent, high-profile NFL events, including the NFL Draft, NFL playoffs, and the Super Bowl.
Sales and Marketing
On January 30, 2019, Caesars announced the rebranding of Total Rewards, the Company’s industry-leading loyalty program, to Caesars Rewards effective February 1, 2019. The new program leverages the premium Caesars brand to better connect Caesars’ elevated standard and prestige with the Company’s global destinations.
We are excited about this opportunity to strengthen our unrivaled customer loyalty program. We believe Caesars Rewards enables us to compete more effectively and capture a larger share of our customers’ entertainment spending when they travel among regions versus that of a standalone property, which is core to our cross market strategy. We believe that operating multiple properties in the center of the Las Vegas Strip generates greater revenues than would be generated if the properties were operated separately.
Members who have joined Caesars Rewards can earn Reward Credits for qualifying gaming activity and qualifying hotel, dining and retail spending at all Caesars-affiliated properties in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and now Dubai. Members can also earn additional Reward Credits when they use their Caesars Rewards VISA credit card or make a purchase through a Caesars Rewards partner. Members can redeem their earned Reward Credits with Caesars for hotel amenities, casino free play and other items such as merchandise, gift cards, and travel.
Caesars Rewards is structured in tiers (designated as Gold, Platinum, Diamond or Seven Stars), each with increasing member benefits and privileges. Members are provided promotional offers based on their Tier Level, their engagement with Caesars-affiliated properties, aspects of their casino gaming play, and their preferred spending choices outside of gaming. Member information is also used in connection with various marketing promotions, including campaigns involving direct mail, email, our websites, mobile devices, social media, and interactive slot machines.
The development of intellectual property is part of our overall business strategy. We regard our intellectual property to be an important element of our success. While our business as a whole is not substantially dependent on any one patent, trademark, copyright, or combination of several of our intellectual property rights, we seek to establish and maintain our proprietary rights in our business operations and technology through the use of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secret laws. We file applications for and obtain patents, trademarks, and copyrights in the United States and foreign countries where we believe filing for such protection is appropriate, including United States and foreign patent applications covering certain proprietary technology of Caesars Enterprise Services, LLC (“CES”). We also seek to maintain our trade secrets and confidential information by nondisclosure policies and through the use of appropriate confidentiality agreements. CES’ United States patents have varying expiration dates.
We have not applied for the registration of all of our trademarks, copyrights, proprietary technology, or other intellectual property rights, as the case may be, and may not be successful in obtaining all intellectual property rights for which we have applied. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, parties may infringe upon our intellectual property and use information that we regard as proprietary, and our rights may be invalidated or unenforceable. The laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights or intellectual property to as great of an extent as do the laws of the United States. In addition, others may independently develop substantially equivalent intellectual property.
We own or have the right to use proprietary rights to a number of trademarks that we consider, along with the associated name recognition, to be valuable to our business, including Bally’s, Caesars, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Rio, Caesars Rewards, WSOP, and a license for the Planet Hollywood trademark used in connection with the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
The casino entertainment business is highly competitive. The industry is comprised of a diverse group of competitors that vary considerably in size and geographic diversity, quality of facilities and amenities available, marketing and growth strategies, and financial condition. In most regions, we compete directly with other casino facilities operating in the immediate and surrounding areas. In Las Vegas, our largest jurisdiction, competition has increased significantly. For example, the Genting Group is developing a casino and hotel called Resorts World Las Vegas, and Marriott International and New York-based global real estate firm Witkoff
are developing a casino and hotel called The Drew Las Vegas. Both are expected to open in 2020 on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip. In response to changing trends, Las Vegas operators have been focused on expanding their non-gaming offerings, including upgrades to hotel rooms, new food and beverage offerings, and new entertainment offerings. In May 2018, MGM rebranded the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino as Park MGM, which underwent non-gaming renovations focused on room, food and beverage, and entertainment enhancements. There have also been proposals for other large scale non-gaming development projects in Las Vegas by various other developers. Our Las Vegas Strip hotels and casinos also compete, in part, with each other.
In recent years, many casino operators, including us, have been reinvesting in existing facilities, developing new casinos or complementary facilities, and acquiring established facilities. These reinvestment and expansion efforts combined with aggressive marketing strategies by us and many of our competitors have resulted in increased competition in many regions. As companies have completed new expansion projects, supply has typically grown at a faster pace than demand in some areas. For example, in Baltimore, Maryland, the opening of MGM Resorts National Harbor Resort & Casino has resulted in significant declines in revenue at our Horseshoe Baltimore property. The expansion of properties and entertainment venues into new jurisdictions also presents competitive issues. Atlantic City, in particular, has seen a significant decline primarily due to the addition of gaming and room capacity associated with the expansion of gaming in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania as well as the opening of new properties. This has resulted in several casino closings in recent years. In addition, Hard Rock Hotel Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino were introduced into the Atlantic City market in 2018, causing increased competition in the market.
Our properties also compete with legalized gaming from casinos located on Native American tribal lands. While the competitive impact on operations in Las Vegas from the continued growth of Native American gaming establishments in California remains uncertain, the proliferation of gaming in California and other areas located in the same regions as our properties could have an adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, certain states have legalized, and others may legalize, casino gaming in specific areas, including metropolitan areas from which we traditionally attract customers.
We also compete with other non-gaming resorts and vacation areas, various other entertainment businesses, and other forms of gaming, such as state lotteries, on-and off-track wagering, video lottery terminals, and card parlors. Our non-gaming offerings also compete with other retail facilities, amusement attractions, food and beverage offerings, and entertainment venues. While we do not believe it to be the case, some have suggested that internet gaming could also create additional competition for us and could adversely affect our brick-and-mortar operations. We believe that internet gaming complements brick-and-mortar operations.
See Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” See also Exhibit 99.1, “Gaming Overview,” to this Form 10-K.
We believe that business at our regional properties outside of Las Vegas is subject to seasonality, including seasonality based on the weather in the markets in which they operate and the travel habits of visitors. Business in our properties can also fluctuate due to specific holidays or other significant events, such as Easter (particularly when the holiday falls in a different quarter than the prior year), the WSOP tournament (with respect to our Las Vegas properties), city-wide conventions, a large sporting event or a concert, or visits by our premium players. We also believe that any seasonality, holiday, or other significant event may affect our various properties or regions differently.
The gaming industry is highly regulated, and we must maintain our licenses and pay gaming taxes to continue our operations. Each of our casinos is subject to extensive regulation under the laws, rules, and regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is located. These laws, rules, and regulations generally concern the responsibility, financial stability, and character of the owners, managers, and persons with financial interests in the gaming operations. Violations of laws in one jurisdiction could result in disciplinary action in other jurisdictions. A more detailed description of the regulations to which we are subject is contained in Exhibit 99.1, “Gaming Overview,” to this Form 10-K.
Our businesses are subject to various foreign, federal, state, and local laws and regulations, in addition to gaming regulations. These laws and regulations include, but are not limited to, restrictions and conditions concerning alcoholic beverages, smoking, environmental matters, employees, currency transactions, taxation, zoning and building codes, construction, land use, and marketing and advertising. We also deal with significant amounts of cash in our operations and are subject to various reporting and anti-money laundering regulations. Such laws and regulations could change or could be interpreted differently in the future, or new laws and regulations could be enacted. Material changes, new laws or regulations, or material differences in interpretations by courts or governmental authorities could adversely affect our operating results. See Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” for additional discussion.
We have approximately 66,000 employees throughout our organization. Approximately 28,000 of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements with certain of our subsidiaries relating to certain casino, hotel, and restaurant employees. The majority of these employees are covered by the following agreements:
Approximate Number of Active Employees Represented
Date on which Collective Bargaining Agreement Becomes Amendable
Las Vegas Culinary Employees
Culinary Workers Union, Local 226
May 31, 2023
Atlantic City Food & Beverage and Hotel Employees
UNITE HERE, Local 54
February 28, 2020
Las Vegas Bartenders
Bartenders Union, Local 165
May 31, 2023
Las Vegas Dealers
Transport Workers Union of America and UAW
Various up to
September 30, 2019
Corporate Social Responsibility, Citizenship and Sustainability
CEC’s Board of Directors and senior executives view Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) as an integral element in the way we do business and make decisions, in the belief that being a good corporate citizen helps protect the company against risk, contributes to improved business results and helps foster positive relationships with all those who have a connection to our business. The Board of Directors and our executive management are committed to maintaining our position as an industry leader in CSR (which includes the concepts of corporate citizenship, social impact, and environmental sustainability). In 2018, we continued to engage with our CEO-level external sustainability advisory board with experts representing non-governmental organizations, business strategy, academia, and investors, and used their guidance to confirm our citizenship priorities. These priorities are reflected in our ninth annual citizenship report, published in 2018 in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative Standards.
Our approach, and our reporting on corporate social responsibility, is aligned with our People Planet Play framework. This framework unites all our properties and business activities behind a common language and core approaches so that all our properties and corporate functions can effectively support sustainable, ethical and profitable business growth. The framework is as follows:
People: supporting the wellbeing of our team members, guests and local communities.
Planet: taking care of the world we all call home.
Play: creating memorable experiences for our guests and leading Responsible Gaming practices in the industry.
Our strategy includes targets to 2020 and 2030 across all elements of People Planet Play, including science-based emissions-reduction targets, formally approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (“SBTi”) and aligning with global best practices on climate change action. We enjoy strong support from our team members for People Planet Play activities, with 57% of team members participating in our HERO volunteering and/or CodeGreen environmental programs in 2017. Additionally, we aim to raise awareness and gain support from our guests for People Planet Play initiatives. In 2018, guest perception was that 56% strongly agreed that our company made a positive impact in economic development, responsible gaming, environmental impact and overall responsible conduct based on surveys completed by guests at our properties.
Code of Commitment
Our Code of Commitment to our employees, guests, communities and the environment continues to guide our approach to responsible and ethical business, compliance, anti-corruption and environmental stewardship. Our employees participate in training to reinforce their understanding of how they should implement the Code of Commitment in their daily work. Thirty years ago, Caesars was the first company to develop Responsible Gaming programs informed by science, evaluated objectively and created in conjunction with leading researchers. Our gaming offerings are underpinned by comprehensive Responsible Gaming programs that provide advice for those who need it (see more on our website: www.caesars.com/corporate/corporate-social-responsibility/play/responsible-gaming) with fully trained team members. In 2017, team members participated in 71,366 hours of training in Responsible Gaming.
Over the past several years, with the engagement and support of the Board of Directors, we have further intensified our anti-money-laundering (“AML”) compliance activities. We reinforced the number of qualified staff in dedicated AML compliance roles with more than 90 experts and have invested several million dollars in technology investments to implement new systems to improve
transparency and information sharing within the Company, increase automation and enhance analytics, all to further the Company’s efforts to be an industry leader in AML compliance.
For the fourth year running, we were recognized by the Civic 50, an initiative organized by Points of Light and Bloomberg that recognizes companies that demonstrate leading commitment to improving the quality of life in their home communities. In 2017, we reconfirmed our support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and highlighted three goals where we can make the most significant contribution and expand our impact in coming years.
#3: Good Health and Well-Being
#8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
#11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Our structured, data-driven CodeGreen strategy leverages the passion of our team members and engages our guests and suppliers.
In 2017, we received formal approval from the SBTi for targets that place us among a small number of companies that are leading the way on climate change mitigation. We committed to: (i) reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2025, and 95% by 2050 from a 2011 base-year and (ii) having 60% of suppliers by spend institute science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets for their operations by 2023. Between 2011 and 2017, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions internationally by 23% on an absolute basis and by 27% on a per square-foot basis, building on the significant achievements of our CodeGreen strategy from 2007. Since 2008, we have reduced water consumption by 22% on a per square foot basis. In 2017, 41% of our total waste in North America was diverted from landfill, bringing our cumulative waste diversion from landfill to 328,000 tons since 2012.
In 2017, 100% of our owned or managed North American hotel resort properties achieved a 4 Green Key rating or higher. Recently recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Green Key is a rigorous program that ranks, certifies and inspects hotels and resorts based on their commitment to sustainable operations. Green Key uses a rating system of 1 to 5 Keys, with 5 being the highest possible attainment.
For our work in disclosure of our environmental impacts, in 2018, Caesars Entertainment received an “A” score in supplier engagement, an “A-” score for climate, and a “B” score in water from the Carbon Disclosure Project (“CDP”), an international not-for-profit that drives sustainable economies. Caesars was recently recognized as a world leader for Supplier Engagement on climate change. For the first time, we ranked among the 3% of organizations to be awarded a position on the Supplier Engagement Leader Board for actions to reduce emissions and lower climate-related risks in the supply chain in the past reporting year. Thousands of companies submit annual disclosures to CDP for independent assessment against its scoring methodology.
In order to both enhance our offerings and engage guests in our citizenship efforts, we have branded our hotel rooms with our People Planet Play messaging, inviting guests to play a role by using water, air-conditioning and towels with the environment in mind. We promote sustainable sourcing of key food ingredients for our menus from sustainably managed farms and fisheries, in response to the growing number of consumers who value such options. Additionally, to address concerns from animal rights groups, we have committed to source cage-free eggs across all our properties by 2025.
Employee Engagement, Development, Safety and Wellbeing
We aim to inspire our team members through our mission, vision and values, and our Code of Commitment. We nurture an open, collaborative and fun workplace where everyone can be their best. We provide opportunities for personal development and reward our team members with competitive compensation and the opportunity to earn substantial rewards based on merit. Our Total Return program for team members acknowledges great service, earning more than $9 million in 2018 for team members that they can redeem for merchandise, travel, entertainment, event tickets, and digital media. We survey our team members each year and, in 2018, we again achieved an improved engagement score of 4.22, higher than the Willis Towers Watson benchmark of 4.20 in the same year. This correlates to improvements in customer service, which in 2018 reached an all-time high, while our Net Promoter Scores also increased. In addition, we invest significantly in training and development of our team members.
Caesars Entertainment is committed to creating a safe workplace for our employees and a safe venue for our guests. We strive for zero injuries every day at every property. Our company-wide initiative launched in 2015, “All in for Zero”, continues to embed standards and procedures to ensure all our colleagues have the awareness, knowledge and tools to make safe working a habit. We publicly report on our safety performance annually (Injury Rate of 2.74 per 100 employees in 2017). We also strive to help our team members look after their health and wellbeing through our Employee Wellness Rewards Program that is supported by 29
nurses and coaches across our properties. The program has demonstrated results with improved health metrics for participating employees and their spouses, which has helped to mitigate insurance cost increases for Caesars and for employees.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We embrace diversity and aim to create an inclusive working environment that welcomes and celebrates all our team members as individuals. Our diversity, equity and inclusion position directly connects to our endorsement of human rights for all as provided in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international frameworks. In 2017, we formalized a diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) framework that identifies five pillars of activity, each headed by a senior executive sponsor. The pillars include advocacy, workplace, suppliers, communities and guests (through marketing offerings) for a holistic approach to embedding DEI in everything we do. Caesars received a perfect 100% score on the 2018 Human Rights Campaign Foundation Corporate Equality Index for the eleventh year in a row. In 2017, 32% of our manager level employees belonged to minority groups and 42% were women. In November 2017, we announced our goal to achieve gender equity in leadership by 2025. This initiative embodies Caesars’ commitment to identifying, hiring, developing, and retaining talented people. This will enable our organization to be best in class, be more innovative, make better decisions, and better reflect our diverse clients and communities.
We also promote diversity in our supply chain and in 2017, approximately 17% of our addressable spend was with diverse suppliers. We maintain extensive outreach to discover diverse suppliers and support diverse suppliers through mentoring programs to gain business and grow with Caesars.
We take a strong stance against human trafficking and commercial sex exploitation, as can be seen in our public statement on our website. Under the guidance of a respected and accomplished leader in treating victims of exploitation, Dr. Halleh Seddighzadeh, we created an internal protocol supported by a suite of educational materials including a dedicated online portal for team members, a “Combating Human Trafficking Toolkit” and action guides. We trained customer-facing and security team members across our Las Vegas properties and have appointed 120 volunteer Community Engagement Ambassadors (“CEAs”) as leaders in addressing sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation on property. We rolled out a train-the-trainers program for CEAs who continue to educate other team members. We continue to work in the context of an industry-wide partnership in an effort to eliminate all forms of exploitation from our operations and our supply chain.
Caesars Entertainment consistently makes significant contributions to our local communities to help them develop and prosper. We do this through funding of community projects, employee volunteering hours and cash donations from the Caesars Foundation, a private foundation funded by a portion of our operating income that has gifted more than $74 million since its inception in 2002. In 2017, we contributed a total of $63 million to communities through all these channels, including 331,000 reported employee volunteer hours.
In the last year, we have advanced in partnership with the City of Las Vegas and its ImpactNV initiative, a sustainable development approach in Southern Nevada. Through several multi-partner and multi-sector workshops designed to identify intersections of major social challenges facing the city, we have developed a social sustainability master plan blueprint with long-term goals in the areas of reducing homelessness, combating sex trafficking and improving the health of immigrant communities. We continue to commit resources to addressing these pressing social challenges.
Our Internet address is www.caesars.com. We make available free of charge, on or through our website, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). We also make available through our website all filings of our executive officers and directors on Forms 3, 4, and 5 under Section 16 of the Exchange Act. These filings are also available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is available on our website under the “Investor Relations” link. We will provide a copy of these documents without charge to any person upon receipt of a written request addressed to Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Attn: Corporate Secretary, One Caesars Palace Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109. Reference in this document to our website address does not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained on the website.
ITEM 1A. Risk Factors
Risks Related to Our Business
Our substantial indebtedness and the fact that a significant portion of our cash flow is used to make interest payments and rent payments under the Lease Agreements (defined below) could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry and prevent us from making debt service payments and rent payments.
Caesars Entertainment is a highly-leveraged company and had $9.1 billion in debt outstanding under credit facilities and notes (including our convertible notes) as of December 31, 2018. As a result, a significant portion of our liquidity needs are for debt service on such indebtedness, including significant interest payments. Our estimated debt service (including principal and interest) on our credit facilities and notes (including our convertible notes) is $644 million for 2019 and $11.3 billion thereafter to maturity for our currently outstanding indebtedness under our credit facilities and notes (including our convertible notes).
See Note 12 for details of our debt outstanding and related restrictive covenants.
Our substantial indebtedness and the restrictive covenants under the agreements governing such indebtedness could:
limit our ability to borrow money for our working capital, capital expenditures, development projects, debt service requirements, rent payment requirements, strategic initiatives or other purposes;
make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our indebtedness and the Lease Agreements, and any failure to comply with the obligations of any of our debt instruments or Lease Agreements, including restrictive covenants and borrowing conditions, could result in an event of default under the agreements governing our indebtedness or such Lease Agreements;
require that a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations be dedicated to the payment of rent and interest and repayment of our indebtedness, thereby reducing funds available to us for other purposes;
limit our flexibility in planning for or reacting to changes in our operations or business;
make us more highly-leveraged than certain of our competitors, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage;
make us more vulnerable to downturns in our business or the economy;
restrict the availability for us to make strategic acquisitions, develop new gaming facilities, introduce new technologies or exploit business opportunities;
affect our ability to renew certain gaming and other licenses;
limit, along with the financial and other restrictive covenants in our indebtedness and the Lease Agreements, among other things, our ability to borrow additional funds or dispose of assets; and
expose us to the risk of increased interest rates as certain of our borrowings are at variable rates of interest.
Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, prospects and ability to satisfy our outstanding debt obligations and lease obligations.
Our ability to satisfy our debt obligations and lease obligations will depend upon, among other things:
our future financial and operating performance, which will be affected by prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, regulatory and other factors, many of which are beyond our control; and
our future ability to borrow under our credit facilities, the availability of which depends on, among other things, our complying with the covenants thereunder.
Our debt agreements contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business.
Our debt agreements contain, and the agreements governing any future indebtedness of ours would likely contain, a number of covenants that impose significant operating and financial restrictions, including restrictions on our ability to, among other things:
incur additional debt or issue certain preferred shares;
pay dividends on or make distributions in respect of our capital stock or make other restricted payments;
make certain investments;
create liens on certain assets;
consolidate, merge, sell or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets;
enter into certain transactions with our affiliates; and
designate our subsidiaries as unrestricted subsidiaries.
As a result of these covenants, we are limited in the manner in which we conduct our business, and we may be unable to engage in favorable business activities or finance future operations or capital needs.
We have pledged a significant portion of our assets as collateral under our subsidiaries’ secured debt agreements. If any of our lenders accelerate the repayment of borrowings, there can be no assurance that we will have sufficient assets to repay our indebtedness.
We are required to satisfy and maintain specified financial ratios under the agreements governing our revolving credit facilities if and when specified amounts are drawn and outstanding under our revolving credit facilities. See Note 12 for further information. Our ability to meet the financial ratios under our debt agreements can be affected by events beyond our control, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to meet those ratios.
A failure to comply with the covenants contained in the agreements that govern our indebtedness could result in an event of default thereunder, which, if not cured or waived, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In the event of any default under the indebtedness of CEC, CRC or CEOC LLC, the lenders or noteholders thereunder:
will not be required to lend any additional amounts to such borrowers;
could elect to declare all indebtedness outstanding, together with accrued and unpaid interest and fees, to be due and payable and terminate all commitments to extend further credit; or
require such borrowers to apply all of our available cash to repay such indebtedness.
Such actions by the lenders or noteholders under CEC’s, CRC’s or CEOC LLC’s indebtedness could cause cross defaults under the other indebtedness of CEC, CRC or CEOC LLC, respectively, and in the case of lenders or noteholders under CRC’s or CEOC LLC’s indebtedness, could cause additional cross defaults under CEC’s indebtedness. If we are unable to repay amounts under our secured credit facilities, the lenders under such secured credit facilities could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure that indebtedness.
If the indebtedness under CEC’s, CRC’s or CEOC LLC’s credit facilities or other indebtedness were to be accelerated, there can be no assurance that their assets would be sufficient to repay such indebtedness in full.
CEC, CEOC LLC, CRC and/or their respective subsidiaries are parties to certain leasing and related arrangements that may have a negative effect on CEC’s business and operations.
CEC, CEOC LLC, CRC, and certain of their subsidiaries are parties to certain leasing and financial commitments, including three lease agreements relating to properties operated by CEOC LLC or its subsidiaries (the “CEOC LLC Lease Agreements”), three related management and lease support agreements, a lease agreement relating to a property operated by a subsidiary of CRC (the “HLV Lease Agreement” and collectively with the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements, the “Lease Agreements”) and related guaranties (collectively, the “Lease Documents”). Pursuant to the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements, VICI leases properties to CEOC LLC (or the applicable subsidiaries of CEOC LLC) and CEOC LLC (or the applicable subsidiaries of CEOC LLC) is responsible for lease payments and other obligations for: (i) Caesars Palace Las Vegas; (ii) substantially all domestic properties owned by CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries other than Caesars Palace Las Vegas; and (iii) Harrah’s Joliet Hotel & Casino in Joliet, Illinois. CEC guarantees the payment and performance of all monetary obligations of CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries under the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements. Pursuant to the HLV Lease Agreement, VICI leases Harrah’s Las Vegas to a subsidiary of CRC, which is responsible for lease payments and other obligations for Harrah’s Las Vegas. CRC guarantees the payment and performance of all monetary obligations of its subsidiary under the HLV Lease Agreement.
CEC has entered into call right agreements with VICI pursuant to which VICI has the right for five years from October 6, 2017, the date of those agreements, to purchase and lease to CEC or one of its subsidiaries interests in the real property assets associated with Harrah’s Laughlin, Harrah’s Atlantic City and Harrah’s New Orleans, which could also impose additional lease payments and other obligations on CEC and its subsidiaries. CEC and VICI also entered into a right of first refusal agreement that provides, among other things, for (a) a grant by CEC (on behalf of itself and all of its majority owned subsidiaries) to VICI (on behalf of itself and all of its majority owned subsidiaries) of a right of first refusal to own and lease to an affiliate of CEC certain non-Las Vegas domestic real estate that CEC or its affiliates may have the opportunity to acquire or develop and (b) a grant by VICI to CEC of a right of first refusal to lease and manage certain non-Las Vegas domestic real estate that VICI may have the opportunity to acquire or develop.
Pursuant to the Lease Agreements, as amended in December 2018, CEC’s subsidiaries are obligated to pay, in the aggregate, approximately $782 million in fixed annual rents, subject to certain escalators and adjustments beginning at various points in the initial term and continuing through the renewal terms. If CEC’s businesses and properties fail to generate sufficient earnings, the payments required to service these leasing commitments may materially and adversely limit the ability of CEC to make investments to maintain and grow its portfolio of businesses and properties. Additionally, CEC may be subject to other significant obligations under its guarantees if its subsidiaries are unable to satisfy their lease payments and other monetary obligations which could materially and adversely affect CEC’s business and operating results.
CEC’s guarantees of the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements impose restrictions on certain business activities of CEC, including restrictions on sales of assets and making dividends and distributions. The Lease Documents generally impose restrictions on the business activities of CEOC LLC, CRC and their applicable subsidiaries, including restrictions on transfers of the leased properties, requirements to make specified minimum levels of capital expenditures and limitations regarding how the leased properties may be operated. Compliance with the restrictions in the Lease Documents may constrain the ability of CEC to implement any growth plans as well as its flexibility to react and adapt to unexpected operational challenges and adverse changes in economic and legal conditions. Additionally, with respect to properties leased pursuant to the Lease Agreements, CEOC LLC or CRC (or their applicable subsidiaries) generally will be required to restore properties that are damaged by casualties regardless of whether any insurance proceeds are sufficient to pay for the restoration.
Each of CEOC LLC, CRC and/or their respective subsidiaries are required to pay a significant portion of their cash flow from operations to VICI pursuant to and subject to the terms and conditions of the Lease Agreements, which could adversely affect our ability to fund our operations or development projects, raise capital, make acquisitions, and otherwise respond to competitive and economic changes.
Each of CEOC LLC, CRC and/or their applicable subsidiaries are required to pay a significant portion of their cash flow from operations to VICI pursuant to and subject to the terms and conditions of the Lease Agreements. As a result of this commitment, their ability to fund their own operations or development projects, raise capital, make acquisitions and otherwise respond to competitive and economic changes may be adversely affected. For example, their obligations under the Lease Agreements may:
make it more difficult for the applicable entity to satisfy their obligations with respect to their indebtedness and to obtain additional indebtedness;
increase the applicable entity’s vulnerability to general or regional adverse economic and industry conditions or a downturn in its business;
require the applicable entity to dedicate a substantial portion of its cash flow from operations to making lease payments, thereby reducing the availability of its cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes;
limit the applicable entity’s flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in its business and the industry in which it operates; and
restrict the applicable entity’s ability to raise capital, make acquisitions and divestitures and engage in other significant transactions.
In addition, the annual rent escalations under the Lease Agreements will continue to apply regardless of the amount of cash flows generated by the properties that are subject to the Lease Agreements (subject to certain EBITDAR to rent ratio-based caps). Accordingly, if the cash flows generated by such properties decrease, or do not increase at the same rate as the rent escalations, the rents payable under the Lease Agreements could comprise a higher percentage of the cash flows generated by the applicable entity, which could exacerbate, perhaps materially, the issues described above.
Any of the above listed factors could have a material adverse effect on CEOC LLC’s and CRC’s respective business, financial condition, and results of operations.
The CEC Convertible Notes are exercisable for shares of our common stock. The exercise of such equity instruments would have a dilutive effect to stockholders of CEC.
The $1.1 billion aggregate principal amount of 5.00% convertible senior notes maturing in 2024 (the “CEC Convertible Notes”) are exercisable for shares of our common stock. The exercise of such equity instruments would have a dilutive effect to stockholders of CEC. In accordance with the terms of the Plan, on the Effective Date, we issued approximately $1.1 billion aggregate principal amount of CEC Convertible Notes that are convertible at the option of holders into a number of shares of our common stock that is initially equal to 0.139 shares of our common stock per $1.00 principal amount of CEC Convertible Notes, or approximately 156 million shares, of which 151 million shares are net of amounts held by CEC. If all the shares were issued on the Effective Date, they would have represented approximately 17.9% of the shares of our common stock outstanding after giving effect to the shares issued in accordance with the Plan. The CEC Convertibles Notes are subject to conversion at our option beginning in October 2020 if the last reported sale price of our common stock equals or exceeds 140% of the conversion price for the CEC Convertible Notes in effect on each of at least 20 trading days during any 30 consecutive trading day period. CEC does not have any other redemption rights for the CEC Convertible Notes. As of December 31, 2018, the remaining life of the CEC Convertible Notes is 5.75 years.
Most of CEOC LLC’s U.S. gaming facilities, as well as Harrah’s Las Vegas, are leased and could experience risks associated with leased property, including risks relating to lease termination, lease extensions, consents and approvals, charges and our relationship with VICI, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position or results of operations.
Most of CEOC LLC’s U.S. gaming facilities are leased and could experience risks associated with leased property, including risks relating to lease termination, lease extensions, consents and approvals, charges and our relationship with VICI, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, or results of operations. CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries lease most of the gaming facilities they operate pursuant to the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements. Termination of any or all of the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements would result in CEOC LLC or its applicable subsidiaries losing some or all of their rights with respect to the applicable properties, could result in a default under CEOC LLC’s debt agreements, and could have a material adverse effect on CEOC LLC’s business, financial position, or results of operations. In the event of certain terminations of the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements, CEOC LLC or its applicable subsidiaries may be required to cooperate to transfer all personal property located at the applicable facility to a designated successor. Moreover, since as a lessee CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries do not completely control the land and improvements underlying their operations, VICI, as lessor, could take certain actions to disrupt CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries’ rights in the facilities leased under the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements, which are beyond our control. If VICI chose to disrupt CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries’ use either permanently or for a significant period of time, then the value of their assets could be impaired and their business and operations could be adversely affected. There can also be no assurance that CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries will be able to comply with their obligations under the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements in the future. In addition, if VICI has financial, operational, regulatory or other challenges there can be no assurance that VICI will be able to comply with its obligations under its agreements with CEC, CEOC LLC, or their subsidiaries.
CRC’s subsidiary leases Harrah’s Las Vegas from VICI pursuant to the HLV Lease Agreement on terms that are similar to those of the CEOC LLC Lease Agreements. CRC and its subsidiary, therefore, are subject to many of the same risks described above with respect to Harrah’s Las Vegas.
The Lease Agreements are a type of lease that is commonly known as a triple net lease. Accordingly, in addition to rent, the tenants under the Lease Agreements are required to pay all operating costs associated with the respective facilities, including the payment of taxes, insurance, and all repairs, and providing indemnities to VICI against liabilities associated with the operations of each facility. CEC’s applicable subsidiaries are responsible for incurring the costs described in the preceding sentence notwithstanding the fact that many of the benefits received in exchange for such costs may in part accrue to VICI as owner of the associated facilities. In addition, if some of the leased facilities should prove to be unprofitable, CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries or CRC’s subsidiary, as applicable, could remain obligated for lease payments and other obligations under the Lease Agreements even if they decided to withdraw from those locations, and consequently, CEC and CRC would remain obligated under the corresponding lease guarantees. CEOC LLC and its subsidiaries or CRC’s subsidiary, as applicable, could incur special charges relating to the closing of such facilities including lease termination costs, impairment charges, and other special charges that would reduce their net income and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may be unable to generate sufficient cash to service all of our indebtedness and lease commitments, and may be forced to take other actions to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness and lease commitments that may not be successful.
We may be unable to generate sufficient cash flow from operations, or may be unable to draw under our credit facilities or otherwise, in an amount sufficient to fund our liquidity needs. Our operating cash inflows are typically used for operating expenses, debt service costs, lease payments, working capital needs, and capital expenditures in the normal course of business. Our estimated debt service (including principal and interest) is $644 million for 2019 and $11.3 billion thereafter to maturity for our outstanding indebtedness and our estimated financing obligations are $753 million for 2019 and $37.7 billion thereafter to maturity for our outstanding lease arrangements. If we are unable to service our debt obligations or pay our financing obligations, there can be no assurances that our business will continue in its current state. See Note 12 for details of our debt outstanding and Note 10 for details of our lease commitments.
We may incur additional indebtedness and lease commitments, which could adversely affect our ability to pursue certain business opportunities.
We and our subsidiaries may incur additional indebtedness and lease commitments at any time and from time to time in the future. Although the terms of the agreements governing our indebtedness and lease commitments contain restrictions on our ability to incur additional indebtedness and certain types of lease commitments, these restrictions are subject to a number of important qualifications and exceptions, and the indebtedness and lease commitments incurred in compliance with these restrictions could be substantial. For example, as of December 31, 2018, CRC had $864 million of additional borrowing capacity available under its senior secured credit facility, net of $100 million outstanding and $36 million committed to outstanding letters of credit, and CEOC LLC had a total of $161 million of additional borrowing capacity available under its senior secured credit facility, net of $39 million committed to outstanding letters of credit. We may consider incurring additional indebtedness in the future to fund our growth strategy.
Our subsidiary debt agreements allow for limited future issuances of additional secured or unsecured indebtedness, which may include, in each case, indebtedness secured on a pari passu basis with the obligations under CRC’s or CEOC LLC’s credit facilities. This indebtedness could be used for a variety of purposes, including financing capital expenditures, refinancing or repurchasing our outstanding indebtedness, including existing unsecured indebtedness, or for general corporate purposes. We have raised and expect to continue to raise debt, including secured debt, to directly or indirectly refinance our outstanding unsecured debt on an opportunistic basis, as well as development and acquisition opportunities. Additional indebtedness would require greater servicing payments, and accordingly, may affect our future liquidity and limit our ability to pursue certain opportunities and implement any growth plans in the future.
Repayment of our and our subsidiaries’ debt is dependent on cash flow generated by our subsidiaries.
Our subsidiaries currently own a significant portion of our assets and conduct a significant portion of our operations. Accordingly, repayment of our and our subsidiaries’ indebtedness is dependent, to a significant extent, on the generation of cash flow by our subsidiaries and, in the case of CEC’s debt, their ability to make such cash available to us by dividend, if needed, or otherwise. Our subsidiaries do not have any obligation to pay amounts due on our other subsidiaries’ indebtedness or to make funds available for that purpose (other than with respect to subsidiary guarantees granted by certain subsidiaries of CEOC LLC to guarantee CEOC LLC’s indebtedness and by certain subsidiaries of CRC to guarantee CRC’s indebtedness). Our subsidiaries may not be able to, or may not be permitted to, make distributions to enable us to make payments in respect of our or our other subsidiaries’ indebtedness. Each subsidiary is a distinct legal entity and, under certain circumstances, legal and contractual restrictions may limit our ability to obtain cash from our subsidiaries.
Our business and results of operations could be negatively affected as a result of the actions of activist stockholders, which could impact our stock price.
We have been the subject of actions taken by activist stockholders. For instance, on February 19, 2019, Carl C. Icahn and various affiliated entities (collectively, “Icahn”) filed with the SEC a Schedule 13D indicating that Icahn beneficially owns 9.8 percent of our common stock. The Schedule 13D disclosed that Icahn had spoken to, and intended to continue to speak with, our Board of Directors and management regarding enhancing shareholder value, improving asset optimization and seeking board representation, including, if necessary, by nominating a slate of directors at the 2019 Annual Meeting. The Schedule 13D also indicated that Icahn believes the Board of Directors should conduct a strategic process to comprehensively assess the best path forward for our company and Icahn’s belief that stockholder value might be best served, and enhanced, by selling our Company.
While we strive to maintain constructive, ongoing communications with all of our stockholders, and welcome their views and opinions with the goal of enhancing value for all stockholders, activist stockholders may, from time to time, engage in proxy solicitations or advance stockholder proposals, or otherwise attempt to effect changes and assert influence on our Board of Directors
and management. Responding to proposals by activist stockholders may, and responding to a proxy contest instituted by stockholders would, require us to incur significant legal and advisory fees, proxy solicitation expenses (in the case of a proxy contest) and administrative and associated costs and require significant time and attention by our Board of Directors and management, diverting their attention from the pursuit of our business strategy. Any perceived uncertainties as to our future direction and control, our ability to execute on our strategy or changes to the composition of our Board of Directors or senior management team arising from proposals by activist stockholders or a proxy contest could lead to the perception of a change in the direction of our business or instability which may be exploited by our competitors, result in the loss of potential business opportunities and make it more difficult to pursue our strategic initiatives or attract and retain qualified personnel and business partners, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results. In addition, stockholder activism and potential resulting changes in governance may have implications under the various gaming laws to which we are subject, and could have an adverse impact on our gaming licenses. We may choose to initiate, or may become subject to, litigation as a result of proposals by activist stockholders or proxy contests or matters relating thereto, which would serve as a further distraction to our Board of Directors and management and could require us to incur significant additional costs.
In addition, actions such as those described above could cause significant fluctuations in the trading prices of our common stock, based on temporary or speculative market perceptions or other factors that do not necessarily reflect the underlying fundamentals and prospects of our business.
As we continue to engage in discussions with Icahn, the trading prices of our common stock may be subject to significant fluctuations, including as a result of actions taken by activist stockholders and our responses thereto, which may be material.
Likewise, to the extent that we implement any proposals made by Icahn or any other activist stockholder to change the composition of our Board of Directors, engage in particular transactions or change certain aspects of our strategy, the resulting changes in our business, assets, results of operations and financial condition may be material and may have an impact, which may be material, on the market prices of our common stock, and may also cause substantial volatility in the trading price of those securities.
We may not realize any or all of our anticipated value creation opportunities, which would have a negative effect on our results of operations.
As part of our enterprise-wide strategy, we have implemented a program of continuous improvement designed to identify value creation opportunities to improve operations and results, including without limitation through identifying opportunities to improve profitability by reducing costs. Any cost savings or other value creation that we ultimately realize from such efforts may differ materially from originally anticipated amounts or be offset by other unanticipated developments. These plans are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that may change at any time. We cannot assure you that cost-savings or other value creation initiatives will be completed as anticipated or that the benefits we expect will be achieved on a timely basis or at all.
It is unclear what long-term impact our business structure will have on our key business relationships and our ability to compete with other gaming operators.
As a result of the consummation of the Plan, we are among a few gaming operators that lease a significant portion of its properties from a single lessor under lease arrangements. As a result, it is difficult to predict whether and to what extent our relationship with VICI, including any actual or perceived conflicts of interest, will affect our relationships with suppliers, customers, or regulators or our ability to compete with other gaming operators that are not subject to a master lease arrangement with a single lessor. In addition, VICI has numerous consent, audit, and other rights under the Lease Documents. As a result, a number of CEOC LLC’s and CRC’s strategic and operational decisions are subject to review and/or agreement with VICI, and there can be no assurance that VICI’s exercise of its rights under the Lease Documents will not be adverse to CEOC LLC’s or CRC’s business or operations, particularly where our interests and the interests of VICI (or those who control it) are not aligned.
The development and construction of new hotels, casinos, and gaming and non-gaming venues and the expansion of existing ones could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations due to various factors including delays, cost overruns, and other uncertainties.
We intend to develop, construct, and open new hotels, casinos, and other gaming venues and develop and manage non-gaming venues in response to opportunities that may arise. Future development projects may require significant capital commitments, the incurrence of additional debt, guarantees of third-party debt, the incurrence of contingent liabilities and an increase in depreciation and amortization expense, which could have an adverse effect upon our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flow. The development and construction of new hotels, casinos and gaming venues and the expansion of existing ones is susceptible to various risks and uncertainties, such as:
the existence of acceptable market conditions and demand for the completed project;
general construction risks, including cost overruns, change orders and plan or specification modification, shortages of construction resources, labor disputes, unforeseen environmental, engineering or geological problems, work stoppages, fire and other natural disasters, construction scheduling problems, and weather interferences;
changes and concessions required by governmental or regulatory authorities;
the ability to finance the projects, especially in light of our substantial indebtedness;
delays in obtaining, or inability to obtain, all licenses, permits and authorizations required to complete and/or operate the project; and
disruption of our existing operations and facilities.
Moreover, our development and expansion projects are sometimes jointly pursued with third parties or by licensing our brands to third parties. These joint development, expansion project, or license agreements are subject to risks, in addition to those disclosed above, as they are dependent on our ability to reach and maintain agreements with third parties.
Our failure to complete any new development or expansion project, or complete any joint development or expansion projects or projects where we license our brands, as planned, on schedule, within budget, or in a manner that generates anticipated profits, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flow.
We may pursue strategic acquisitions of third-party assets and businesses as a complement to our future growth strategy, which could raise material investment risk and affect our businesses and operations, if integration is unsuccessful or the acquired assets and businesses perform poorly.
We intend to implement a growth plan centered on an organic growth strategy for our non-gaming entertainment, hospitality, and leisure offerings. We also intend to pursue strategic acquisitions as a complement to the extent such acquisitions present attractive opportunities that would bolster our organic growth strategy. Additionally, we will also look to become a more active participant in certain high-growth sports and mobile gaming opportunities in order to leverage our extensive experience and management expertise in the gaming industry and build an enhanced high-growth portfolio.
Our ability to realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions will depend, in part, on our ability to integrate the acquired businesses with our businesses. The combination of two independent companies is a complex, costly, and time-consuming process. This process may disrupt the business of either or both of the companies and may not result in the full benefits expected. The difficulties of combining the operations of the companies include, among other things:
coordinating marketing functions;
unanticipated issues in integrating information, communications and other systems;
unanticipated incompatibility of purchasing, logistics, marketing, and administration methods;
retaining key employees;
consolidating corporate and administrative infrastructures;
the diversion of management attention from ongoing business concerns; and
coordinating geographically separate organizations.
Additionally, even if integration is successful, the overall integration of acquired assets and businesses may result in material unanticipated problems, expenses, liabilities, competitive responses, loss of customer and other business relationships and diversion of management attention. There is also no guarantee that the acquired assets or businesses will generate any of the projected synergies and earnings growth, and the failure to realize such projected synergies and earnings growth may adversely affect our operating and financial results and derail any growth plans.
The risks associated with our existing and potential future international operations could reduce our profits.
Some of our properties are located outside the United States, and we are currently pursuing additional international opportunities. International operations are subject to inherent risks including:
political and economic instability;
variation in local economies;
greater difficulty in accounts receivable collection;
burden of complying with a variety of international laws.
We are or may become involved in legal proceedings that, if adversely adjudicated or settled, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
From time to time, we are a defendant in various lawsuits or other legal proceedings relating to matters incidental to our business. Some of these matters involve commercial or contractual disputes, intellectual property claims, legal compliance, personal injury claims, and employment claims. As with all legal proceedings, no assurance can be provided as to the outcome of these matters and, in general, legal proceedings can be expensive and time consuming. We may not be successful in the defense or prosecution of these lawsuits, which could result in settlements or damages that could significantly impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Compromises of our information systems or unauthorized access to confidential information or our customers’ personal information could materially harm our reputation and business.
We collect and store confidential, personal information relating to our customers for various business purposes, including marketing and financial purposes, and credit card information for processing payments. For example, we handle, collect and store personal information in connection with our customers staying at our hotels and enrolling in Caesars Rewards. We may share this personal and confidential information with vendors or other third parties in connection with processing of transactions, operating certain aspects of our business, or for marketing purposes. Our collection and use of personal data are governed by state and federal privacy laws and regulations as well as the applicable laws and regulations in other countries in which we operate. Privacy law is subject to frequent changes and varies significantly by jurisdiction. We may incur significant costs in order to ensure compliance with the various applicable privacy requirements. In addition, privacy laws and regulations may limit our ability to market to our customers.
We assess and monitor the security of collection, storage, and transmission of customer information on an ongoing basis. We utilize commercially available software and technologies to monitor, assess and secure our network. Further, some of the systems currently used for transmission and approval of payment card transactions and the technology utilized in payment cards themselves, all of which can put payment card data at risk, are determined and controlled by the payment card industry, and other such systems are determined and controlled by us. Although we have taken steps designed to safeguard our customers’ confidential personal information and important internal company data, our network and other systems and those of third parties, such as service providers, could be compromised, damaged, or disrupted by a third-party breach of our system security or that of a third-party provider or as a result of purposeful or accidental actions of third parties, our employees, or those employees of a third party, power outages, computer viruses, system failures, natural disasters, or other catastrophic events. Our third-party information system service providers face risks relating to cybersecurity similar to ours, and we do not directly control any of such parties’ information security operations. Advances in computer and software capabilities, encryption technology, new tools, and other developments may increase the risk of a security breach. As a result of any security breach, customer information or other proprietary data may be accessed or transmitted by or to a third party. Despite the measures we have implemented to safeguard our information, there can be no assurance that we are adequately protecting our information.
Any loss, disclosure of, misappropriation of, or access to customers’ or other proprietary information or other breach of our information security could result in legal claims or legal proceedings, including regulatory investigations and actions, or liability for failure to comply with privacy and information security laws, including for failure to protect personal information or for misusing personal information, which could disrupt our operations, damage our reputation, and expose us to claims from customers, financial institutions, regulators, payment card associations, employees, and other persons, any of which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flow.
We have cybersecurity insurance to respond to a breach which is designed to cover expenses around notification, credit monitoring, investigation, crisis management, public relations and legal advice. We also carry other insurance which may cover ancillary
aspects of the event. However, damage and claims arising from a breach may not be completely covered or may exceed the amount of any insurance available.
Our reliance on our computer systems and software could expose us to great financial harm if any of our computer systems or software were subject to any material disruption or corruption.
We rely significantly on our computer systems and software to receive and properly process internal and external data, including data related to Caesars Rewards. A disruption or corruption of the proper functioning of our computer systems or software could cause us to lose data or record erroneous data, which could result in material losses. We cannot guarantee that our efforts to maintain competitive computer systems and software will be successful. Our computer systems and software may fail or be subject to bugs or other errors, resulting in service interruptions or other unintended consequences. If any of these risks materialize, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We may sell or divest different properties or assets as a result of our evaluation of our portfolio of businesses. Such sales or divestitures could affect our costs, revenues, profitability, and financial position.
From time to time, we evaluate our properties and our portfolio of businesses and may, as a result, sell or attempt to sell, divest, or spin-off different properties or assets (subject to any restrictions in the agreements governing our indebtedness and leases). These sales or divestitures affect our costs, revenues, profitability, financial position, liquidity, and our ability to comply with our debt covenants. Divestitures have inherent risks, including possible delays in closing transactions (including potential difficulties in obtaining regulatory approvals), the risk of lower-than-expected sales proceeds for the divested businesses, and potential post-closing claims for indemnification. In addition, current economic conditions and relatively illiquid real estate markets may result in fewer potential bidders and unsuccessful sales efforts. Expected costs savings, which are offset by revenue losses from divested properties, may also be difficult to achieve or maximize due to our fixed cost structure.
Reduction in discretionary consumer spending resulting from a downturn in the national economy, the volatility and disruption of the capital and credit markets, adverse changes in the global economy, and other factors could negatively impact our financial performance and our ability to access financing.
Changes in discretionary consumer spending or consumer preferences are driven by factors beyond our control, such as perceived or actual general economic conditions; high energy, fuel and other commodity costs; the cost of travel; the potential for bank failures; a soft job market; an actual or perceived decrease in disposable consumer income and wealth; increases in payroll taxes; increases in gaming taxes or fees; fears of recession and changes in consumer confidence in the economy; and terrorist attacks or other global events. Our business is susceptible to any such changes because our properties offer a highly-discretionary set of entertainment and leisure activities and amenities. Gaming and other leisure activities we offer represent discretionary expenditures and participation in such activities may decline if discretionary consumer spending declines, including during economic downturns, during which consumers generally earn less disposable income. Particularly, we have business concentrations in gaming offerings and in Las Vegas, which are sensitive to declines in discretionary consumer spending and changes in consumer preferences. During periods of economic contraction, our revenues may decrease while most of our costs remain fixed and some costs even increase, resulting in decreased earnings.
We are subject to significant risks associated with joint ventures, strategic alliances and other third-party collaborations.
We pursue certain of our new license opportunities, development projects and other strategic business opportunities through third party collaborations such as joint ventures, license arrangements and other alliances. Examples include our joint ventures for Horseshoe Baltimore and our development project in Korea, our recently announced deal with Turner Sports regarding gaming-related sports content, and other sports-related opportunities.
Our joint ventures are governed by mutually established agreements that we entered into with our partners. As such, we do not unilaterally control the joint ventures or other initiatives. The terms of the joint venture and the rights of our joint venture partners may preclude us from taking actions that we believe to be in the best interests of the Company. Alternatively, our joint venture partners could take actions binding on the joint venture without our consent. Disagreements with our joint venture partners could result in delays in project development, including construction delays, and ultimate failure of the project. Moreover, our joint venture partners may not be able to provide capital to the joint venture on the terms agreed to or at all, and the joint venture may be unable to obtain external financing to finance its operations. Also, our ability to exit the joint venture may be subject to contractual and other limitations.
With any third-party collaboration, there is a risk that our partners’ economic, business or legal interests or objectives may not be aligned with ours, leading to potential disagreements and/or failure of the applicable project or initiative. Additionally, we are
subject to the risks relating to our partners’ failure to satisfy contractual obligations, conflicts arising between us and any of our partners and changes in the ownership of any of our partners.
Any of the foregoing with respect to our third-party collaborations could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Our strategies to grow our business may be unsuccessful, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
Our success depends in part on our ability to grow our business. In addition to increasing our revenues from operations, we plan to grow our business through (i) real estate development domestically and internationally, (ii) traditional mergers and acquisitions, (iii) expanding our Caesars Rewards partnerships, and (iv) pursuing licensing and management agreements to utilize our brands on third party-owned properties. Our ability to execute on our growth strategy is dependent upon, among other things, our ability to finance development projects and to obtain all necessary zoning, land-use, building, occupancy and other governmental permits and authorizations, and upon risks inherent in acquisitions including the ability to finance acquisitions, the ability to integrate acquisitions, the ability to realize anticipated benefits of the acquisitions and the diversion of management’s attention from Company resources. In addition, we may be unsuccessful in identifying acceptable third parties for Caesars Rewards and for licensing and managing properties. As a result, we may not be able to realize the growth we expect from our strategies, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Moreover, even if our growth strategy is successful, we may not realize the benefit we expect from our growth strategy on a timely basis or at all, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.
In addition, the Company may from time to time pursue strategic investments in pursuit of its growth strategy. There can be no assurance that any such investment will be successful or result in the benefits we expect within the expected time frame or at all. A failure of any strategic investment could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.
We are subject to extensive governmental regulation and taxation policies, and the enforcement of or any changes in such regulation or policy could adversely impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We are subject to extensive gaming regulations and political and regulatory uncertainty. Regulatory authorities in the jurisdictions where we operate have broad powers with respect to the licensing of casino operations and may revoke, suspend, condition, or limit our gaming or other licenses, impose substantial fines and take other actions, any one of which could adversely impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Furthermore, in many jurisdictions where we operate, licenses are granted for limited durations and require renewal from time to time. There can be no assurance that continued gaming activity will be approved in any referendum in the future. If we do not obtain the requisite approval in any future referendum, we will not be able to operate our gaming operations in the affected jurisdiction, which would negatively impact our future performance. In addition, the gaming and other laws and regulations to which we are subject could change or could be interpreted differently in the future, or new laws and regulations could be enacted. For example, in 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) reversed its previously-issued opinion published in 2011, which stated that interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a “sporting event or contest” fall outside the purview of the Wire Act of 1961 (the “Wire Act”). The DOJ’s updated opinion, which is still being evaluated by industry members, concluded instead that the Wire Act was not uniformly limited to gaming relating to sporting events or contests and that certain of its provisions apply to non-sports-related wagering activity. Any such material changes, new laws or regulations, or material differences in interpretations by courts or governmental authorities could adversely affect our business and operating results.
From time to time, individual jurisdictions have also considered legislation or referendums, such as bans on smoking in casinos and other entertainment and dining facilities, which could adversely impact our operations. These smoking bans have adversely affected revenues and operating results at our properties. The likelihood or outcome of similar legislation in other jurisdictions and referendums in the future cannot be predicted, though any smoking ban would be expected to negatively impact our financial performance.
Furthermore, because we are subject to regulation in each jurisdiction in which we operate, and because regulatory agencies within each jurisdiction review our compliance with gaming laws in other jurisdictions, it is possible that gaming compliance issues in one jurisdiction may lead to reviews and compliance issues in other jurisdictions.
The casino entertainment industry represents a significant source of tax revenues to the various jurisdictions in which casinos operate. From time to time, various state and federal legislators and officials have proposed changes in tax laws, or in the administration of such laws, including increases in tax rates, which would affect the industry. If adopted, such changes could adversely impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our ability to utilize net operating loss (“NOL”) carryforwards may be limited as a result of any future stock ownership changes.
In general, Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code provides an annual limitation with respect to the ability of a corporation to utilize its net operating loss carryovers, as well as certain built-in losses, against future taxable income in the event of a change in ownership. CEOC’s emergence from bankruptcy and the CAC Merger resulted in a change in ownership for purposes of Section 382, making its provisions applicable to the Company. It is unlikely that the annual limitation caused as a result of the CAC Merger and CEOC’s emergence from bankruptcy will adversely affect the Company’s ability to utilize its net operating loss carryovers against its future taxable income. However, if the Company undergoes another ownership change before all the net operating loss carryovers have offset taxable income, a future limitation may restrict the Company’s ability to utilize its net operating loss carryover prospectively.
Any violation of the Bank Secrecy Act or other similar anti-money laundering laws and regulations could have a negative impact on us.
We deal with significant amounts of cash in our operations and are subject to various reporting and AML regulations. In recent years, governmental authorities have been increasingly focused on AML policies and procedures, with a particular focus on the gaming industry. Any violation of AML or regulations by any of our resorts could have a negative effect on our results of operations.
Any violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other similar anti-corruption laws and regulations could have a negative impact on us.
We are subject to risks associated with doing business outside of the United States, which exposes us to complex foreign and U.S. regulations inherent in doing business cross-border and in each of the countries in which we conduct business. We are subject to requirements imposed by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and other anti-corruption laws that generally prohibit U.S. companies and their affiliates from offering, promising, authorizing, or making improper payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Violations of the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws may result in severe criminal and civil sanctions and other penalties, and the SEC and DOJ have increased their enforcement activities with respect to the FCPA. Policies and procedures and employee training and compliance programs that we have implemented to deter prohibited practices may not be effective in prohibiting our employees, contractors, or agents from violating or circumventing our policies and the law. If our employees or agents fail to comply with applicable laws or company policies governing our international operations, we may face investigations, prosecutions, and other legal proceedings and actions that could result in civil penalties, administrative remedies, and criminal sanctions. Any determination that we have violated any anti-corruption laws could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition. Compliance with international and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to our international operations increases our cost of doing business in foreign jurisdictions.
Our stockholders are subject to extensive governmental regulation, and if a stockholder is found unsuitable by the gaming authority, that stockholder would not be able to beneficially own our common stock directly or indirectly.
In many jurisdictions, gaming laws can require any of our stockholders to file an application, be investigated, and qualify or have his, her or its suitability determined by gaming authorities. Gaming authorities have very broad discretion in determining whether an applicant should be deemed suitable. For any cause deemed reasonable by the gaming authorities, subject to certain administrative proceeding requirements, the gaming regulators have the authority to deny any application; limit, condition, restrict, revoke, or suspend any license, registration, finding of suitability or approval; or fine any person licensed, registered, or found suitable or approved. For additional information on the criteria used in making determinations regarding suitability, see Item 1, “Business—Governmental Regulation.”
For example, under Nevada gaming laws, each person who acquires, directly or indirectly, beneficial ownership of any voting security, or beneficial or record ownership of any non-voting security or any debt security, in a public corporation that is registered with the Nevada Gaming Commission (“NGC”), may be required to be found suitable if the NGC has reason to believe that his or her acquisition of that ownership, or his or her continued ownership in general, would be inconsistent with the declared public policy of Nevada, in the sole discretion of the NGC. Any person required by the NGC to be found suitable must apply for a finding of suitability within 30 days after the NGC’s request that he or she should do so and, together with his or her application for suitability, deposit with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (“NGCB”) a sum of money which, in the sole discretion of the NGCB, will be adequate to pay the anticipated costs and charges incurred in the investigation and processing of that application for suitability, and deposit such additional sums as are required by the NGCB to pay final costs and charges.
Furthermore, any person required by a gaming authority to be found suitable, who is found unsuitable by the gaming authority, may not hold, directly or indirectly, the beneficial ownership of any voting security or the beneficial or record ownership of any non-voting security or any debt security of any public corporation that is registered with the gaming authority beyond the time prescribed by the gaming authority. A violation of the foregoing may constitute a criminal offense. A finding of unsuitability by a
particular gaming authority impacts that person’s ability to associate or affiliate with gaming licensees in that particular jurisdiction and could impact the person’s ability to associate or affiliate with gaming licensees in other jurisdictions.
Many jurisdictions also require any person who acquires beneficial ownership of more than a certain percentage of voting securities of a gaming company and, in some jurisdictions, non-voting securities, typically 5%, to report the acquisition to gaming authorities, and gaming authorities may require such holders to apply for qualification or a finding of suitability, subject to limited exceptions for “institutional investors” that hold a company’s voting securities for investment purposes only. Under Maryland gaming laws, we may not sell or otherwise transfer more than 5% of the legal or beneficial interest in Horseshoe Baltimore without the approval of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission if it determines that the transferee is qualified or grants the transferee an institutional investor waiver.
Some jurisdictions may also limit the number of gaming licenses in which a person may hold an ownership or a controlling interest. For example, in Indiana, a person may not have an ownership interest in more than two Indiana riverboat owner’s licenses, and in Maryland, an individual or business entity may not own an interest in more than one video lottery facility.
If we are unable to effectively compete against our competitors, our profits will decline.
The gaming industry is highly competitive and our competitors vary considerably in size, quality of facilities, number of operations, brand identities, marketing and growth strategies, financial strength and capabilities, and geographic diversity. We also compete with other non-gaming resorts and vacation areas, and with various other entertainment businesses. Our competitors in each region in which we participate may have greater financial, marketing, or other resources than we do, and there can be no assurance that they will not engage in aggressive pricing action to compete with us. Although we believe we are currently able to compete effectively in each of the various regions in which we participate, we cannot ensure that we will be able to continue to do so or that we will be capable of maintaining or further increasing our current market share. Our failure to compete successfully in our various regions could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flow.
In recent years, many casino operators, including us, have been reinvesting in existing jurisdictions to attract new customers or to gain market share, thereby increasing competition in those jurisdictions. As companies have completed new expansion projects, supply has typically grown at a faster pace than demand in some areas. For example, in Baltimore, Maryland, the opening of MGM Resorts National Harbor Resort & Casino has resulted in significant declines in revenue at our Horseshoe Baltimore property. In Las Vegas, our largest jurisdiction, competition has increased significantly. For example, the Genting Group is developing a casino and hotel called Resorts World Las Vegas, and Marriott International and New York-based global real estate firm Witkoff are developing a casino and hotel called The Drew Las Vegas. Both are expected to open in 2020 on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip. In response to changing trends, Las Vegas operators have been focused on expanding their non-gaming offerings, including upgrades to hotel rooms, new food and beverage offerings, and new entertainment offerings. In May 2018, MGM rebranded the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino as Park MGM, which underwent non-gaming renovations focused on room, food and beverage, and entertainment enhancements. There have also been proposals for other large scale non-gaming development projects in Las Vegas by various other developers. The expansion of existing casino entertainment properties, the increase in the number of properties, and the aggressive marketing strategies of many of our competitors have increased competition in many markets in which we operate, and this intense competition is expected to continue. These competitive pressures have and are expected to continue to adversely affect our financial performance in certain areas, including Atlantic City, where Hard Rock Hotel Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino were introduced into the market in 2018, causing increased competition in the market. Growth in consumer demand for non-gaming offerings could also negatively impact our gaming revenue.
In particular, our business may be adversely impacted by the additional gaming and room capacity in Nevada, Louisiana, and Atlantic City and by the initiation and growth of online gaming in Nevada, Louisiana and other states. In addition, our operations located in New Jersey may be adversely impacted by the expansion of gaming in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania, our operations in Louisiana may be adversely impacted by the expansion of gaming in Mississippi and the Gulf Coast, and our operations located in Nevada may be adversely impacted by the expansion of gaming in California.
In addition, the gaming industry has expanded into new jurisdictions in which gaming was not previously permitted. This growth is likely to continue in the future and will result in increased competition for our facilities in the jurisdictions in which we operate.
The loss of the services of key personnel or the failure to manage our Chief Executive Officer transition could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We believe that the leadership of our executive officers has been a critical element of our success. On November 1, 2018, we announced that Mark P. Frissora, our President and Chief Executive Officer, will leave the Company. Subject to the terms of the Separation Agreement, Mr. Frissora will continue as President and Chief Executive Officer until a termination date of April 30, 2019 (which the Company may extend by one month) for purposes of continuity of leadership as the Company searches for a
successor to Mr. Frissora with the nationally recognized third-party search firm the Company has engaged for that purpose. Any failure by us to manage this leadership transition or a failure to timely identify a qualified permanent Chief Executive Officer could have a material adverse effect on our businesses. Our other executive officers and other members of senior management have substantial experience and expertise in our businesses that we believe will make significant contributions to our growth and success. The unexpected loss of services of one or more of these individuals could also adversely affect us. We do not have key man or similar life insurance policies covering members of our senior management. We have employment agreements with our executive officers, but these agreements do not guarantee that any given executive will remain with us, and there can be no assurance that any such officers will remain with us.
If we cannot attract, retain, and motivate employees, we may be unable to compete effectively, and lose the ability to improve and expand our businesses.
Our success and ability to grow depend, in part, on our ability to hire, retain, and motivate sufficient numbers of talented people with the increasingly diverse skills needed to serve clients and expand our business in many locations around the world. We face intense competition for highly qualified, specialized technical, managerial, and consulting personnel. Recruiting, training, retention, and benefit costs place significant demands on our resources. Additionally, the impending departure of our Chief Executive Officer, Mark P. Frissora, and the ongoing search for a successor to Mr. Frissora may make recruiting executives to our businesses more difficult. The inability to attract qualified employees in sufficient numbers to meet particular demands or the loss of a significant number of our employees could have an adverse effect on us.
Our business may be subject to seasonal fluctuations that could result in volatility and have an adverse effect on our operating results.
Our business may be subject to some degree of seasonality. Weather conditions may deter or prevent customers from reaching the facilities or undertaking trips. Such conditions would particularly affect customers who are traveling longer distances to visit our properties. Seasonality may cause our properties working capital cash flow requirements to vary from quarter to quarter depending on the variability in the volume and timing of sales. Business in our properties can also fluctuate due to specific holidays or other significant events, such as Easter (particularly when the holiday falls in a different quarter than the prior year), the World Series of Poker tournament (with respect to our Las Vegas properties), city-wide conventions, a large sporting event or a concert, or visits by our premium players. We also believe that any seasonality, holiday, or other significant event may affect our various properties or regions differently. These factors, among other things, make forecasting more difficult and may adversely affect our properties’ ability to manage working capital and to predict financial results accurately, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
Our business is particularly sensitive to energy prices and a rise in energy prices could harm our operating results.
We are a large consumer of electricity and other energy and, therefore, higher energy prices may have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Accordingly, increases in energy costs may have a negative impact on our operating results. Additionally, higher electricity and gasoline prices that affect our customers may result in reduced visitation to our resorts and a reduction in our revenues. We may be indirectly impacted by regulatory requirements aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change directed at up-stream utility providers, as we could experience potentially higher utility, fuel, and transportation costs.
Win rates (hold rates) for our casino operations depend on a variety of factors, some of which are beyond our control.
The gaming industry is characterized by an element of chance. Accordingly, we employ theoretical win rates to estimate what a certain type of game, on average, will win or lose in the long run. In addition to the element of chance, win rates (hold percentages) are also affected by the spread of table limits and factors that are beyond our control, such as a player’s skill, experience, and behavior, the mix of games played, the financial resources of players, the volume of bets placed, and the amount of time players spend gambling. As a result of the variability in these factors, the actual win rates at our casinos may differ from the theoretical win rates we have estimated and could result in the winnings of our gaming customers exceeding those anticipated. The variability of win rates (hold rates) also have the potential to negatively impact our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
We face the risk of fraud, theft, and cheating.
We face the risk that gaming customers may attempt or commit fraud or theft or cheat in order to increase winnings. Such acts of fraud, theft, or cheating could involve the use of counterfeit chips or other tactics, possibly in collusion with our employees. Internal acts of cheating could also be conducted by employees through collusion with dealers, surveillance staff, floor managers, or other casino or gaming area staff. Additionally, we also face the risk that customers may attempt or commit fraud or theft with respect to our non-gaming offerings or against other customers. Such risks include stolen credit or charge cards or cash, falsified checks, theft of retail inventory and purchased goods, and unpaid or counterfeit receipts. Failure to discover such acts or schemes in a
timely manner could result in losses in our operations. Negative publicity related to such acts or schemes could have an adverse effect on our reputation, potentially causing a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
We may not be able to protect the intellectual property rights we own or may be prevented from using intellectual property necessary for our business.
The development of intellectual property is part of our overall business strategy, and we regard our intellectual property to be an important element of our success. We rely primarily on trade secret, trademark, domain name, copyright, and contract law to protect the intellectual property and proprietary technology we own. We also actively pursue business opportunities in the United States and in international jurisdictions involving the licensing of our trademarks to third parties. It is possible that third parties may copy or otherwise obtain and use our intellectual property or proprietary technology without authorization or otherwise infringe on our rights. For example, while we have a policy of entering into confidentiality, intellectual property invention assignment, and/or non-competition and non-solicitation agreements or restrictions with our employees, independent contractors, and business partners, such agreements may not provide adequate protection or may be breached, or our proprietary technology may otherwise become available to or be independently developed by our competitors. The laws of some foreign countries may not protect proprietary rights or intellectual property to as great an extent as do the laws of the United States. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, the unauthorized use or reproduction of our trademarks could diminish the value of our trademarks and our market acceptance, competitive advantages, or goodwill, which could adversely affect our business.
Third parties have alleged and may in the future allege that we are infringing, misappropriating, or otherwise violating their intellectual property rights. Third parties may initiate litigation against us without warning or may send us letters or other communications that make allegations without initiating litigation. We may elect not to respond to these letters or other communications if we believe they are without merit, or we may attempt to resolve these disputes out of court by negotiating a license, but in either case it is possible that such disputes will ultimately result in litigation. Any such claims could interfere with our ability to use technology or intellectual property that is material to the operation of our business. Such claims may be made by competitors seeking to obtain a competitive advantage or by other parties, such as entities that purchase intellectual property assets for the purpose of bringing infringement claims. We also periodically employ individuals who were previously employed by our competitors or potential competitors, and we may therefore be subject to claims that such employees have used or disclosed the alleged trade secrets or other proprietary information of their former employers.
In the future, we may have to rely on litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect our trade secrets, determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others, or defend against claims of infringement or invalidity. Any such litigation, whether successful or unsuccessful, could result in substantial costs and the diversion of resources and the attention of management. If unsuccessful, such litigation could result in the loss of important intellectual property rights, require us to pay substantial damages, subject us to injunctions that prevent us from using certain intellectual property, require us to make admissions that affect our reputation in the marketplace, and require us to enter into license agreements that may not be available on favorable terms or at all. Finally, even if we prevail in any litigation, the remedy may not be commercially meaningful or fully compensate us for the harm we suffer or the costs we incur. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We cannot assure you that we will be able to retain our performers and other entertainment offerings on acceptable terms or at all.
Our properties’ entertainment offerings are only under contract for a limited time. For example, Jennifer Lopez’s contract expired in 2018 and the contracts for Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion are scheduled to end in 2019. These and other of our performers draw customers to our properties and are a significant source of our revenue. We cannot assure you that we will be able to retain our performers or other shows on acceptable terms or at all. In addition, the third parties that we depend on for our properties’ entertainment offerings may become incapable or unwilling to provide their services at the level agreed upon or at all. These and other of our entertainment offerings draw customers to the properties and are a significant source of our revenue.
We extend credit to a portion of our customers, and we may not be able to collect gaming receivables from our credit customers.
We conduct our gaming activities on a credit and cash basis at many of our properties. Any such credit we extend is unsecured. Table games players typically are extended more credit than slot players, and high-stakes players typically are extended more credit than customers who tend to wager lower amounts. High-end gaming is more volatile than other forms of gaming, and variances in win-loss results attributable to high-end gaming may have a significant positive or negative impact on cash flow and earnings in a particular quarter. We extend credit to those customers whose level of play and financial resources warrant, in the opinion of management, an extension of credit. These large receivables could have a significant impact on our results of operations if deemed uncollectible. Gaming debts evidenced by a credit instrument, including what is commonly referred to as a “marker,”
and judgments on gaming debts are enforceable under the current laws of the jurisdictions in which we allow play on a credit basis, and judgments on gaming debts in such jurisdictions are enforceable in all U.S. states under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution. However, other jurisdictions may determine that enforcement of gaming debts is against public policy. Although courts of some foreign nations will enforce gaming debts directly and the assets in the U.S. of foreign debtors may be reached to satisfy a judgment, judgments on gaming debts from U.S. courts are not binding on the courts of many foreign nations.
Acts of terrorism, war, natural disasters, severe weather, and political, economic and military conditions may impede our ability to operate or may negatively impact our financial results.
Terrorist attacks and other acts of war or hostility have created many economic and political uncertainties. For example, a substantial number of the customers of our properties in Las Vegas use air travel. As a result of terrorist acts that occurred on September 11, 2001, domestic and international travel was severely disrupted, which resulted in a decrease in customer visits to our properties in Las Vegas. Visitation to Las Vegas also declined for a period of time following the mass shooting tragedy on October 1, 2017. We cannot predict the extent to which disruptions in air or other forms of travel as a result of any further terrorist act, security alerts or war, uprisings, or hostilities in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and/or Syria or other countries throughout the world, and governmental responses to those acts or hostilities, will directly or indirectly impact our business and operating results. For example, our operations in Cairo, Egypt, were negatively affected from the uprising there in January 2011. As a consequence of the threat of terrorist attacks and other acts of war or hostility in the future, premiums for a variety of insurance products have increased, and some types of insurance are no longer available. If any such event were to affect our properties, we would likely be adversely affected.
In addition, natural and man-made disasters such as major fires, floods, severe snowstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and oil spills could also adversely impact our business and operating results. Such events could lead to the loss of use of one or more of our properties for an extended period of time and disrupt our ability to attract customers to certain of our gaming facilities. For example, Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel & Casino and Horseshoe Southern Indiana each closed in late February 2018 for an extended period of time due to flooding from the Ohio River. In most cases, we have insurance that covers portions of any losses from a natural disaster, but it is subject to deductibles and maximum payouts in many cases. Although we may be covered by insurance from a natural disaster, the timing of our receipt of insurance proceeds, if any, may be out of our control. In some cases, however, we may receive no proceeds from insurance.
Additionally, a natural disaster affecting one or more of our properties may affect the level and cost of insurance coverage we may be able to obtain in the future, which may adversely affect our financial position.
As our operations depend in part on our customers’ ability to travel, severe or inclement weather can also have a negative impact on our results of operations.
We have in the past and may in the future incur impairments to goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets, or long-lived assets, which could negatively affect our future profits.
We perform our annual goodwill impairment assessment as of October 1. We perform this assessment more frequently if impairment indicators exist. We performed our annual goodwill impairment test by comparing the fair value of each reporting unit with its carrying amount. We determine the estimated fair value of each reporting unit based on a combination of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (“EBITDA”), valuation multiples, and estimated future cash flows discounted at rates commensurate with the capital structure and cost of capital of comparable market participants, giving appropriate consideration to the prevailing borrowing rates within the casino industry in general. We also evaluate the aggregate fair value of all of our reporting units and other non-operating assets in comparison to our aggregate debt and equity market capitalization at the test date. EBITDA multiples and discounted cash flows are common measures used to value businesses in our industry.
We perform our annual impairment assessment of other non-amortizing intangible assets as of October 1. We perform this assessment more frequently if impairment indicators exist. We determine the estimated fair value of our non-amortizing intangible assets by primarily using the “Relief from Royalty Method” and “Excess Earnings Method” under the income approach.
We review the carrying value of our long-lived assets whenever events and circumstances indicate that the carrying value of an asset may not be recoverable from the estimated future cash flows expected to result from its use and eventual disposition. As necessary, we typically estimate the fair value of assets starting with a “Replacement Cost New” approach and then deduct appropriate amounts for both functional and economic obsolescence to arrive at the fair value estimates. Other factors considered by management in performing this assessment may include current operating results, trends, prospects, and third-party appraisals, as well as the effect of demand, competition, and other economic, legal, and regulatory factors.
Declines in our stock price and increases in market yields within our industry, which are both factors used to determine the discount rate, along with downward adjustments to expectations of future performance at certain of our properties and the closure of casino operations at one of our properties outside of Las Vegas resulted in impairment charges during the year ended December 31, 2018. If significant negative industry or economic trends, reduced estimates of future cash flows, disruptions to our business, slower growth rates or lack of growth in our business, or property closures or divestitures occur, we may be required to record additional impairment charges in future periods which may be material.
Work stoppages and other labor problems could negatively impact our future profits.
Some of our employees are represented by labor unions and, accordingly, we are subject to the risk of work stoppages or other labor disruptions from time to time. Approximately half of our hourly team members employed in the U.S. are covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). Our CBAs are the product of good faith negotiations with the respective unions that represent employees in many of our facilities.
We currently have 32 CBAs covering various employees in Las Vegas expiring in 2019. Four unions represent the employees covered by 31 of those expiring agreements. Five agreements covering employees outside of Las Vegas were set to expire in 2018. We successfully negotiated renewal agreements for four of the five agreements, and the renewal terms expire in 2021 or later. With respect to the fifth agreement, we concluded negotiations, but the union was eventually decertified and replaced by another union. We anticipate that the new union will soon request to negotiate an agreement. All agreements are subject to automatic extension unless one party gives 60 days’ prior notice of intent to terminate. No such notice has been given. We intend to negotiate renewal agreements or agree to extensions for all CBAs expiring and are hopeful that we will be able to reach agreements with the respective unions without any work stoppage. Work stoppages and other labor disruptions could have a material adverse impact on our operations.
From time to time, we have also experienced attempts by labor organizations to organize certain of our non-union employees. These efforts have achieved some success to date. We cannot provide any assurance that we will not experience additional and successful union activity in the future. The impact of this union activity is undetermined and could negatively impact our profits.
Any deterioration in our reputation or the reputation of our brands could adversely impact our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Our business is dependent on the quality and reputation of our Company and brands. Events beyond our control could affect the reputation of one or more of our properties or more generally impact our corporate or brand image. Other factors that could influence our reputation include the quality of the services we offer and our actions with regard to social issues such as diversity, human rights and support for local communities. Broad access to social media makes it easy for anyone to provide public feedback that can influence perceptions of us, our brands or our properties. It may be difficult to control or effectively manage negative publicity, regardless of whether it is accurate. Negative events and publicity could quickly and materially damage perceptions of us, our brands or our properties, which, in turn, could adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations through loss of customers, loss of business opportunities, lack of acceptance of our company to operate in host communities, employee retention or recruiting difficulties or other difficulties.
We may be subject to material environmental liability, including as a result of unknown environmental contamination.
Our business is subject to certain federal, state, and local environmental, health, and safety laws, regulations, and ordinances that govern activities or operations that may have adverse environmental effects, such as emissions to air, discharges to streams and rivers, and releases of hazardous substances and pollutants into the environment, as well as handling and disposal from municipal/non-hazardous waste, and that also apply to current and previous owners or operators of real estate generally. Federal examples of these laws include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation Recovery Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Our failure to comply with these laws, including any required permits or licenses, could result in substantial fines or possible revocation of our authority to conduct some of our operations. Certain of these laws may impose cleanup responsibility and liability without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of or caused particular contamination or release of hazardous substances and regardless of whether the practices that resulted in the contamination were legal at the time that they occurred. Should unknown contamination be discovered on any of our properties, or should a release of hazardous substances occur on any of our properties, we could be required to investigate and clean up the contamination and could also be held responsible to a governmental entity or third parties for property damage, personal injury, or investigation and cleanup costs incurred in connection with the contamination or release, which may be substantial. Moreover, such contamination may also impair our ability to use or develop the affected property. Such liability could be joint and several in nature, regardless of fault, and could affect us even if such property is vacated. The potential for substantial costs and an inability to use the property could adversely affect our business. New and more stringent environmental, health, and
safety regulations and permit requirements or stricter interpretations of current laws or regulations, such as those related to climate change, could also impose substantial additional costs on our business.
Our insurance coverage may not be adequate to cover all possible losses we could suffer, and, in the future, our insurance costs may increase significantly, or we may be unable to obtain the same level of insurance coverage.
We may suffer damage to our property caused by a casualty loss (such as fire, natural disasters, and acts of war or terrorism) that could severely disrupt our business or subject it to claims by third parties who are injured or harmed. Although we maintain insurance (including property, casualty, terrorism, and business interruption), it may be inadequate or unavailable to cover all of the risks to which our business and assets may be exposed. In several cases, we maintain extremely high deductibles or self-insure against specific losses. Should an uninsured loss (including a loss that is less than our deductible) or loss in excess of insured limits occur, it could have a significant adverse impact on our operations and revenues.
We generally renew our insurance policies on an annual basis. If the cost of coverage becomes too high, we may need to reduce our policy limits or agree to certain exclusions from our coverage in order to reduce the premiums to an acceptable amount. Among other factors, homeland security concerns, other catastrophic events, or any change in the current U.S. statutory requirement that insurance carriers offer coverage for certain acts of terrorism could adversely affect available insurance coverage and result in increased premiums on available coverage (which may cause us to elect to reduce our policy limits) and additional exclusions from coverage. Among other potential future adverse changes, in the future we may elect to not, or may be unable to, obtain any coverage for losses due to acts of terrorism.
The success of third parties adjacent to our properties is important to our ability to generate revenue and operate our business and any deterioration to their success could materially adversely affect our revenue and result of operations.
In certain cases, we do not own the businesses and amenities adjacent to our properties. However, the adjacent third-party businesses and amenities stimulate additional traffic through our complexes, including the casinos, which are our largest generators of revenue. Any decrease in the popularity of, or the number of customers visiting, these adjacent businesses and amenities may lead to a corresponding decrease in the traffic through our complexes, which would negatively affect our business and operating results. Further, if newly opened properties are not as popular as expected, we will not realize the increase in traffic through our properties that we expect as a result of their opening, which would negatively affect our business projections.
We may require additional capital to support business growth, and this capital might not be available on acceptable terms or at all.
We intend to continue to make significant investments to support our business growth and may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, expand into new markets, improve our operating infrastructure, or acquire complementary businesses, personnel, and technologies. Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds. Any debt financing we secure in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions. We may not be able to obtain additional financing on favorable terms, if at all. There can be no assurances that we could pursue a future offering of securities or enter into a new credit facility at an appropriate price and/or terms to raise the necessary financing. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when required, our ability to continue to support our business growth and to respond to business challenges could be significantly impaired, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and operating results.
Our obligation to contribute to multi-employer pension plans, or discontinuance of such obligations, may have an adverse impact on us.
We contribute to and participate in various multi-employer pension plans for employees represented by certain unions. We are required to make contributions to these plans in amounts established under CBAs. We do not administer these plans and, generally, are not represented on the boards of trustees of these plans. The Pension Protection Act enacted in 2006 (the “PPA”) requires under-funded pension plans to improve their funding ratios. Based on the information available to us, some of the multi-employer plans to which we contribute are either “critical” or “endangered” as those terms are defined in the PPA. Specifically, the HEREIU Intermediary Plan (a spin-off of the Pension Plan of the UNITE HERE National Retirement Fund, effective January 1, 2018) is less than 65% funded. We cannot determine at this time the amount of additional funding, if any, we may be required to make to these plans. However, plan assessments could have an adverse impact on our results of operations or cash flows for a given period. Furthermore, under current law, upon the termination of a multi-employer pension plan, due to the withdrawal of all its contributing employers (a mass withdrawal), or in the event of a withdrawal by us, which we consider from time to time, we would be required to make payments to the plan for our proportionate share of the plan’s unfunded vested liabilities, and that would have a material adverse impact on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
Future sales or the possibility of future sales of a substantial amount of our common stock may depress the price of shares of our common stock.
Future sales or the availability for sale of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market could adversely affect the prevailing market price of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through future sales of equity securities.
As of February 19, 2019, there were 670 million shares of our common stock outstanding, all of which are the same class of voting common stock. All of the outstanding shares of our common stock will be eligible for resale under Rule 144 or Rule 701 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”), subject to volume limitations, applicable holding period requirements or other contractual restrictions.
In connection with the CAC Merger, the Plan, and CEOC’s emergence from bankruptcy, we issued a significant number of shares of our common stock and a significant amount of notes that are convertible into shares of our common stock. We may issue shares of common stock or other securities from time to time as consideration for future acquisitions and investments or for any other reason that our Board of Directors deems advisable. If any such acquisition or investment is significant, the number of shares of our common stock, or the number or aggregate principal amount, as the case may be, of other securities that we may issue may in turn be substantial. We may also grant registration rights covering those shares of common stock or other securities in connection with any such acquisitions and investments.
We cannot predict the size of future issuances of our common stock or other securities or the effect, if any, that future issuances and sales of our common stock or other securities will have on the market price of our common stock. Sales of substantial amounts of common stock (including shares of common stock issued in connection with an acquisition), or the perception that such sales could occur, may adversely affect prevailing market prices for our common stock.
The price and trading volume of our common stock may fluctuate significantly.
The market price of our common stock may be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations. In addition, the trading volume of our common stock may fluctuate and cause significant price variations to occur. Volatility in the market price of our common stock may prevent a holder of our common stock from being able to sell their shares. The market price for our common stock could fluctuate significantly for various reasons, including:
our operating and financial performance and prospects;
our quarterly or annual earnings or those of other companies in our industry;
conditions that impact demand for our products and services;
the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements and filings with the SEC;
changes in earnings estimates or recommendations by securities analysts who track our common stock;
market and industry perception of our success, or lack thereof, in pursuing our growth strategy;
strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions or restructurings;
changes in government and environmental regulation, including gaming taxes;
changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations, or principles;
arrival and departure of key personnel;
changes in our capital structure;
sales of common stock by us or members of our management team;
the expiration of contractual lockup agreements; and
changes in general market, economic, and political conditions in the United States and global economies or financial markets, including those resulting from natural disasters, terrorist attacks, acts of war, and responses to such events.
In addition, the stock market experiences significant price and volume fluctuations. This volatility has had a significant impact on the market price of securities issued by many companies, including companies in the gaming, lodging, hospitality, and entertainment industries. The changes frequently appear to occur without regard to the operating performance of the affected companies. Hence,
the price of our common stock could fluctuate based upon factors that have little or nothing to do with us, and these fluctuations could materially reduce our share price.
Holders of our common stock should not expect to receive dividends on shares of our common stock.
We have no present plans to pay cash dividends to our stockholders and, for the foreseeable future, intend to retain all of our earnings for use in our business. The declaration of any future dividends by us is within the discretion of our Board of Directors and will be dependent on our earnings, financial condition and capital requirements, as well as any other factors deemed relevant by our Board of Directors.
Our actual financial results after CEOC’s emergence from bankruptcy may not be comparable to our historical financial information as a result of the implementation of the Plan and the transactions contemplated thereby.
In connection with the disclosure statement CEOC filed with the Bankruptcy Court, and the hearing to consider confirmation of the Plan, CEOC prepared projected financial information to demonstrate to the Bankruptcy Court the feasibility of the Plan and CEOC’s ability to continue operations upon its emergence from bankruptcy. In connection with the proxy statement/prospectus relating to the merger of CAC and CEC filed with the SEC, we also disclosed certain projections. These projections were prepared solely for the purpose for which they were filed and have not been, and will not be, updated on an ongoing basis and should not be relied upon by investors. Although the financial projections disclosed in the disclosure statement filed with the Bankruptcy Court and the proxy statement/prospectus relating to the merger of CAC and CEC represented certain views based on then current known facts and assumptions about the future operations of CEOC and the Company, there is no guarantee that the financial projections will be realized. We may not be able to meet the projected financial results or achieve projected revenues and cash flows assumed in projecting future business prospects. To the extent we do not meet the projected financial results or achieve projected revenues and cash flows, we may lack sufficient liquidity to continue operating as planned and may be unable to service our debt obligations as they come due or may not be able to meet our operational needs. Any one of these failures may preclude us from, among other things: (a) taking advantage of future opportunities; (b) growing our businesses; or (c) responding to future changes in the gaming industry. Further, our failure to meet the projected financial results or achieve projected revenues and cash flows could lead to cash flow and working capital constraints, which constraints may require us to seek additional working capital. We may not be able to obtain such working capital, when it is required.
PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT
This Form 10-K contains or may contain “forward-looking statements” intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations about future events. Further, statements that include words such as “may,” “will,” “project,” “might,” “expect,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “could,” “would,” “estimate,” “continue,” “present,” or “pursue,” or the negative of these words or other words or expressions of similar meaning may identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are found at various places throughout this report. These forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, those relating to future actions, new projects, strategies, future performance, the outcome of contingencies such as legal proceedings, and future financial results, wherever they occur in this report, are necessarily estimates reflecting the best judgment of our management and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements should, therefore, be considered in light of various important factors set forth above and from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In addition to the risk factors set forth above, important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in the forward-looking statements include without limitation:
our ability to respond to changes in the industry, particularly digital transformation, and to take advantage of the opportunity for legalized sports betting in multiple jurisdictions in the United States (which may require third-party arrangements and/or regulatory approval);
development of our announced convention center in Las Vegas, CAESARS FORUM, and certain of our other announced projects are subject to risks associated with new construction projects, including those described below;
we may not be able to realize the anticipated benefits of our acquisition of Centaur, including anticipated benefits from introducing table games to the acquired properties which is subject to approvals and may not occur;
the impact of our operating structure following CEOC’s emergence from bankruptcy;
the effects of local and national economic, credit, and capital market conditions on the economy, in general, and on the gaming industry, in particular;
the effect of reductions in consumer discretionary spending due to economic downturns or other factors and changes in consumer demands;
the ability to realize improvements in our business and results of operations through our property renovation investments, technology deployments, business process improvement initiatives, and other continuous improvement initiatives;
the ability to take advantage of opportunities to grow our revenue;
the ability to use NOLs to offset future taxable income as anticipated;
the ability to realize all of the anticipated benefits of current or potential future acquisitions;
the ability to effectively compete against our competitors;
the financial results of our consolidated businesses;
the impact of our substantial indebtedness, including its impact on our ability to raise additional capital in the future and react to changes in the economy, and lease obligations and the restrictions in our debt and lease agreements;
the ability to access available and reasonable financing or additional capital on a timely basis and on acceptable terms or at all, including our ability to refinance our indebtedness on acceptable terms;
the ability of our customer tracking, customer loyalty, and yield management programs to continue to increase customer loyalty and hotel sales;
changes in the extensive governmental regulations to which we are subject and (i) changes in laws, including increased tax rates, smoking bans, regulations, or accounting standards; (ii) third-party relations; and (iii) approvals, decisions, disciplines and fines of courts, regulators, and governmental bodies;
compliance with the extensive laws and regulations to which we are subject, including applicable gaming laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-corruption laws, and the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering laws;
our ability to recoup costs of capital investments through higher revenues;
growth in consumer demand for non-gaming offerings;
abnormal gaming holds (“gaming hold” is the amount of money that is retained by the casino from wagers by customers);
the effects of competition, including locations of competitors, growth of online gaming, competition for new licenses, and operating and market competition;
our ability to protect our intellectual property rights and damages caused to our brands due to the unauthorized use of our brand names by third parties in ways outside of our control;
the ability to timely and cost-effectively integrate companies that we acquire into our operations;
the ability to execute on our brand licensing and management strategy is subject to third-party agreements and other risks associated with new projects;
not being able to realize all of our anticipated cost savings;
the potential difficulties in employee retention, recruitment, and motivation, including in connection with our Chief Executive Officer transition;
our ability to retain our performers or other entertainment offerings on acceptable terms or at all;
the risk of fraud, theft, and cheating;
seasonal fluctuations resulting in volatility and an adverse effect on our operating results;
any impairments to goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets, or long-lived assets that we may incur;
construction factors, including delays, increased costs of labor and materials, availability of labor and materials, zoning issues, environmental restrictions, soil and water conditions, weather and other hazards, site access matters, and building permit issues;
the impact of adverse legal proceedings and judicial and governmental body actions, including gaming legislative action, referenda, regulatory disciplinary actions, and fines and taxation;
acts of war or terrorist incidents, severe weather conditions, uprisings, or natural disasters, including losses therefrom, losses in revenues and damage to property, and the impact of severe weather conditions on our ability to attract customers to certain facilities of ours;
fluctuations in energy prices;
work stoppages and other labor problems;
our ability to collect on credit extended to our customers;
the effects of environmental and structural building conditions relating to our properties and our exposure to environmental liability, including as a result of unknown environmental contamination;
a disruption, failure, or breach of our network, information systems, or other technology, or those of our vendors, on which we are dependent;
risks and costs associated with protecting the integrity and security of internal, employee, and customer data;
access to insurance for our assets on reasonable terms;
the impact, if any, of unfunded pension benefits under multi-employer pension plans; and
the other factors set forth under Item 1A, “Risk Factors.”
You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Form 10-K or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.
Unresolved Staff Comments
As of December 31, 2018, the following are our properties. All amounts are approximations.
Las Vegas Segment
Bally’s Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, NV
Flamingo Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
The LINQ Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
The LINQ Promenade (1)
Las Vegas, NV
Paris Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Leased from VICI Properties Inc.
Caesars Palace Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
Harrah’s Las Vegas