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Penn National Gaming Reports Record Second Quarter Income from Operations and Exceeds Guidance for Adjusted EBITDA

WYOMISSING, Pa.–()–Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PENN: Nasdaq) (“Penn National” or the “Company”) today announced financial results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018, and initiated 2018 third quarter guidance.

Timothy J. Wilmott, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Penn National delivered another strong quarter in which we exceeded our guidance for income from operations and adjusted EBITDA. Our solid second quarter results are largely attributable to same store revenue growth at nearly two-thirds of our gaming operations and the continued success of our ongoing margin enhancement initiatives. As a result, all three of the Company’s operating segments generated year-over-year adjusted EBITDA growth. Our margin enhancement initiatives, which began last October, continue to yield results, with ongoing focus on procurement, marketing and labor.”

2018 Second Quarter Financial Highlights:

  • Net revenues of $826.9 million;
  • Income from operations of $181.8 million, up 34.6%;
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $247.1 million, up 8.7%;
  • Adjusted EBITDA after Master Lease payments of $131.2 million, up 15.7%;
  • Adjusted EBITDA margins increased by 133 basis points to 29.88%, with 18 of 23 gaming operations delivering improved margins; and
  • Reduced traditional debt by over $120 million. Traditional net debt ratio declined to 1.94x from 2.25x and gross and net leverage inclusive of master lease obligations declined to 5.21x and 4.99x, respectively, from 5.45x and 5.20x at March 31, 2018.
  • Pinnacle Acquisition Update

    Mr. Wilmott continued: “Last week we secured approvals from the Ohio Casino Control Commission and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, subject to customary conditions, in connection with our pending acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (PNK: Nasdaq) (“Pinnacle”).

    “Penn National had previously received approvals from six other gaming regulatory bodies, subject to customary conditions, including: the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Pennsylvania Racing Commission; the West Virginia Lottery Commission; the Illinois Gaming Control Board, the Mississippi Gaming Commission; and the Indiana Gaming Commission. In addition, on March 29, shareholders of both Penn National and Pinnacle approved the proposed merger, with over 99% of all votes cast in favor of the transaction.

    “Over the last several months, we have worked diligently with Pinnacle’s leadership to better understand the company’s culture and processes and engaged with leaders and team members from all corporate functions. With that knowledge, we have developed a new corporate organizational structure that blends proven leaders from both Penn National and Pinnacle, while maintaining our corporate headquarters in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, and retaining a significant corporate presence at Pinnacle’s Las Vegas-based Service Center.

    “Based on our progress to date in terms of regulatory approvals and transition planning, we anticipate closing the transaction in early fourth quarter. In addition, we remain confident our $100 million of cost synergy objectives are well within reach,” said Mr. Wilmott.

    Recent Development Activity

    “During the quarter, we entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the operations of Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana (“Margaritaville”) for approximately $115 million in a transaction that is expected to be immediately accretive to operating results upon closing,” said Mr. Wilmott.

    “Simultaneous with the closing of the transaction, which we anticipate will occur late in the fourth quarter, Penn National will enter into a triple net lease agreement with VICI Properties Inc. (“VICI”) for Margaritaville. We are pleased to partner with VICI to structure this tuck-in acquisition of Bossier City’s newest casino resort. With a purchase multiple of 5.5x trailing twelve months adjusted EBITDA, which we believe will decline to below 5.0x after synergies, this acquisition is consistent with our criteria for transactions that are accretive to free cash flow and present well-defined paths to the realization of significant synergies,” said Mr. Wilmott.

    “During the second quarter the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Federal ban on sports betting. We anticipate accepting wagers on sporting events at our casinos in Mississippi, West Virginia, and potentially Pennsylvania, prior to the start of the National Football League’s season opener in September,” said Mr. Wilmott. Meanwhile, we are continuing to engage with state lawmakers in our other jurisdictions to advocate for passage of sports betting laws with reasonable tax rates and license fees, similar to legislation enacted in the West Virginia, Mississippi and Nevada models.

    “In Pennsylvania, as previously reported, Penn National was the winning bidder for two of Pennsylvania’s new Category 4 ‘satellite casino’ licenses, which were created through the gaming expansion law approved last October. The licenses allow us to operate up to 750 slot machines and initially up to 30 table games at each facility. We are currently preparing our applications for these proposed facilities and will be submitting our first application to the PGCB by September 12th for a site in southern York County followed shortly thereafter for our location in Berks/Lancaster counties.

    “In addition, earlier this month we applied to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for the approval to operate online casino games. Despite the state’s high tax rate, we chose to proceed with the hope that we can continue to work to bring the tax rate in line with that of other gaming jurisdictions around the world, and if successful, we plan to market the games to our robust database of casino and social gaming customers in Pennsylvania.

    Continued Debt Reduction

    “Our strong second quarter operating performance enabled us to further delever our balance sheet with the repayment of over $120 million of indebtedness. Pro forma for the completion of all announced transactions, we continue to target a net adjusted leverage ratio of 5.0x to 5.5x.

    “Our solid second quarter results reflect our continued focus on driving operating efficiencies and generating further margin expansion at our properties. We look forward to the closing and integration of the Pinnacle and Margaritaville transactions,” concluded Mr. Wilmott.

    Financial Guidance for the Third Quarter and Full Year 2018

    Reflecting the current operating and competitive environment, the table below sets forth full year and third quarter 2018 guidance targets for financial results based on the following assumptions:

  • Excludes any impact related to the Pinnacle transaction;
  • No contribution from the Company’s management contract for Casino Rama after mid-July;
  • Corporate overhead expenses of $78.9 million, with $21.1 million to be incurred in the third quarter;
  • Depreciation and amortization charges of $235.1 million, with $58.4 million in the third quarter;
  • Rent payments to GLPI of $461.7 million, with $115.9 million in the third quarter which continues to be fully tax deductible;
  • Maintenance capital expenditures of $103.6 million, with $45.2 million in the third quarter;
  • Cash interest on traditional debt of $57.9 million, with $20.6 million in the third quarter;
  • Interest expense of $468.5 million, with $115.6 million in the third quarter, inclusive of interest expense related to the Master Lease financing obligation with GLPI;
  • Interest expense includes the impact of the five-year variable rent reset related to the Master Lease effective November 1, 2018, which reduces 2018 annual rent by $1.9 million;
  • Interest expense also includes $0.9 million related to the maximum escalation that is projected to be incurred at the conclusion of year five of the Master Lease on October 31, 2018;
  • Cash taxes of $32.7 million, with $14.7 million in the third quarter;
  • Our share of non-operating items (such as depreciation and amortization expense) associated with our Kansas JV will total $5.1 million, with $1.3 million to be incurred in the third quarter;
  • Estimated non-cash stock compensation expenses of $11.6 million, with $2.8 million to be incurred in the third quarter;
  • LIBOR is based on the forward yield curve;
  • A diluted share count of approximately 94.0 million shares for the full year; and,
  • There will be no material changes in applicable legislation, regulatory environment, world events, weather, recent consumer trends, economic conditions, oil prices, competitive landscape (other than listed above) or other circumstances beyond our control that may adversely affect the Company’s results of operations.
  • The Other category also includes the Company’s corporate overhead costs, which were $18.6 million and $37.4 million and $17.7 million and $36.0 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

    The Company’s definition of adjusted EBITDA adds back our share of the impact of non-operating items (such as depreciation and amortization) at our joint ventures that have gaming operations. At this time, Kansas Entertainment, the operator of Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, is Penn National’s only joint venture that meets this definition. Kansas Entertainment does not currently have, nor has it ever had, any indebtedness. The table below presents cash flow distributions we have received from this investment for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018 and 2017.

    The table below summarizes certain cash expenditures incurred by the Company during the periods presented in this earnings release.

    Share Repurchase Program

    Reflecting the repurchase of 1,264,149 common shares for $24,770,470 in the twelve month period ended December 31, 2017, Penn National has the authority to repurchase up to an additional $75.2 million of its common shares by February 2019.

    Non-GAAP Measures

    In addition to GAAP financial measures, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA after Master Lease payments are used by management as important measures of the Company’s operating performance.

    We define adjusted EBITDA as earnings before interest, taxes, stock compensation, debt extinguishment and financing charges, impairment charges, insurance recoveries and deductible charges, depreciation and amortization, changes in the estimated fair value of our contingent purchase price obligations, gain or loss on disposal of assets, the difference between budget and actual expense for cash-settled stock-based awards, preopening and significant transaction costs and other income or expenses. Adjusted EBITDA is also inclusive of income or loss from unconsolidated affiliates, with our share of non-operating items (such as depreciation and amortization) added back for our joint venture in Kansas Entertainment. Adjusted EBITDA excludes payments associated with our Master Lease agreement with GLPI as the transaction was accounted for as a financing obligation.

    During the first quarter of 2018, we changed the definition of Adjusted EBITDA to exclude preopening costs, significant transaction costs and the variance between our budgeted and actual costs incurred on cash-settled stock based awards which are required to be marked to market each reporting period. We determined to exclude preopening costs and significant transaction costs to more closely align the Company’s calculation of Adjusted EBITDA with our competitors. Preopening costs and significant transaction costs are also excluded from adjusted EBITDA for bonus calculation purposes. We have excluded the favorable or unfavorable difference between the budgeted expense and actual expense for our cash-settled stock-based awards as it is non-operational in nature. Additionally, this variance is excluded from adjusted EBITDA for bonus calculation purposes. In connection with the change to the definition of Adjusted EBITDA, we reclassified our prior period results to conform to the current period presentation.

    Adjusted EBITDA has economic substance because it is used by management as a performance measure to analyze the performance of our business, and is especially relevant in evaluating large, long lived casino projects because they provide a perspective on the current effects of operating decisions separated from the substantial non-operational depreciation charges and financing costs of such projects. We also present adjusted EBITDA because it is used by some investors and creditors as an indicator of the strength and performance of ongoing business operations, including our ability to service debt, fund capital expenditures, acquisitions and operations. These calculations are commonly used as a basis for investors, analysts and credit rating agencies to evaluate and compare operating performance and value companies within our industry. In addition, gaming companies have historically reported adjusted EBITDA as a supplement to financial measures in accordance with GAAP. In order to view the operations of their casinos on a more stand-alone basis, gaming companies, including us, have historically excluded from their adjusted EBITDA calculations certain corporate expenses that do not relate to the management of specific casino properties. However, adjusted EBITDA is not a measure of performance or liquidity calculated in accordance with GAAP. Adjusted EBITDA information is presented as a supplemental disclosure, as management believes that it is a widely used measure of performance in the gaming industry, is used in the valuation of gaming companies, and that it is considered by many to be a key indicator of the Company’s operating results. Management uses adjusted EBITDA as an important measure of the operating performance of its segments, including the evaluation of operating personnel. Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as an alternative to operating income, as an indicator of the Company’s operating performance, as an alternative to cash flows from operating activities, as a measure of liquidity, or as any other measure of performance determined in accordance with GAAP. The Company has significant uses of cash flows, including capital expenditures, interest payments, taxes and debt principal repayments, which are not reflected in adjusted EBITDA. It should also be noted that other gaming companies that report adjusted EBITDA information may calculate adjusted EBITDA in a different manner than the Company and therefore, comparability may be limited.

    Adjusted EBITDA after Master Lease payments is a measure we believe provides useful information to investors because it is an indicator of the performance of ongoing business operations after incorporating the cash flow impact of Master Lease payments to GLPI. In addition, adjusted EBITDA after Master Lease payments is the metric that our executive management team is measured against for incentive based compensation purposes.

    A reconciliation of the Company’s net income (loss) per GAAP to adjusted EBITDA, as well as the Company’s income (loss) from operations per GAAP to adjusted EBITDA, is included above. Additionally, a reconciliation of each segment’s income (loss) from operations to adjusted EBITDA is also included above. On a segment level, income (loss) from operations per GAAP, rather than net income (loss) per GAAP is reconciled to adjusted EBITDA due to, among other things, the impracticability of allocating interest expense, interest income, income taxes and certain other items to the Company’s segments on a segment by segment basis. Management believes that this presentation is more meaningful to investors in evaluating the performance of the Company’s segments and is consistent with the reporting of other gaming companies.

    Conference Call, Webcast and Replay Details

    Penn National Gaming is hosting a conference call and simultaneous webcast at 9:00 am ET today, both of which are open to the general public. The conference call number is 303/223-0118. Please call five minutes in advance to ensure that you are connected prior to the presentation. Questions will be reserved for call-in analysts and investors. Interested parties may also access the live call on the Internet at Please allow 15 minutes to register and download and install any necessary software. A replay of the call can be accessed for thirty days on the Internet at

    This press release, which includes financial information to be discussed by management during the conference call and disclosure and reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures, is available on the Company’s web site,, in the “Investors” section (select link for “Press Releases”).

    About Penn National Gaming

    Penn National Gaming owns, operates or has ownership interests in gaming and racing facilities and video gaming terminal operations with a focus on slot machine entertainment. At June 30, 2018, the Company operated twenty-eight facilities in sixteen jurisdictions, including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Ontario, Canada. At June 30, 2018, in aggregate, Penn National Gaming operated approximately 34,100 gaming machines, 770 table games and 4,800 hotel rooms. The Company also offers social online gaming through its Penn Interactive Ventures division.

    Important Additional Information

    In connection with the proposed transaction, on February 8, 2018, Penn filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) a registration statement on Form S-4 that contains a joint proxy statement of Penn and Pinnacle and also constitutes a prospectus of Penn (the “joint proxy statement/prospectus”). The registration statement was declared effective by the SEC on February 28, 2018 and Penn and Pinnacle commenced mailing the definitive joint proxy statement/prospectus to their respective shareholders and stockholders on February 28, 2018. This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval. Shareholders of Penn and stockholders of Pinnacle are urged to read the definitive joint proxy statement/prospectus regarding the proposed transaction and any other relevant documents filed or that will be filed with the SEC, as well as any amendments or supplements to those documents, because they contain or will contain important information. Investors may obtain a free copy of the registration statement and the joint proxy statement/prospectus, as well as other filings containing information about Penn and Pinnacle, without charge, at the SEC’s website at Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Penn can be obtained, without charge, by directing a request to Justin Sebastiano, Penn National Gaming, Inc., 825 Berkshire Boulevard, Suite 200, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania 19610, Tel. No. (610) 401-2029. Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Pinnacle can be obtained, without charge, by directing a request to Vincent Zahn, Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc., 3980 Howard Hughes Parkway, Las Vegas, Nevada 89169, Tel. No. (702) 541-7777.

    Forward-looking Statements

    This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements can be identified by the use of forward looking terminology such as “expects,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “intends,” “plans,” “seeks,” “may,” “will,” “should” or “anticipates” or the negative or other variations of these or similar words, or by discussions of future events, strategies or risks and uncertainties. Specifically, forward-looking statements may include, among others, statements concerning: our expectations of future results of operations and financial condition; expectations for our properties or our development projects; the timing, cost and expected impact of planned capital expenditures on our results of operations; our expectations with regard to the impact of competition; our expectations with regard to acquisitions and development opportunities, as well as the integration of any companies we have acquired or may acquire; the outcome and financial impact of the litigation in which we are or will be periodically involved; the actions of regulatory, legislative, executive or judicial decisions at the federal, state or local level with regard to our business and the impact of any such actions; our ability to maintain regulatory approvals for our existing businesses and to receive regulatory approvals for our new businesses; our expectations relative to margin improvement initiatives; our expectations regarding economic and consumer conditions; and our expectations for the continued availability and cost of capital. As a result, actual results may vary materially from expectations. Although the Company believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from our expectations. Meaningful factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations include, but are not limited to, risks related to the following: the assumptions included in our financial guidance; the ability of our operating teams to drive revenue and margins; the impact of significant competition from other gaming and entertainment operations; our ability to obtain timely regulatory approvals required to own, develop and/or operate our facilities, or other delays, approvals or impediments to completing our planned acquisitions or projects, construction factors, including delays, and increased costs; the passage of state, federal or local legislation (including referenda) that would expand, restrict, further tax, prevent or negatively impact operations in or adjacent to the jurisdictions in which we do or seek to do business (such as a smoking ban at any of our facilities or the award of additional gaming licenses proximate to our facilities); the effects of local and national economic, credit, capital market, housing, and energy conditions on the economy in general and on the gaming and lodging industries in particular; the activities of our competitors and the rapid emergence of new competitors (traditional, internet, social, sweepstakes based and VGTs in bars and truck stops); increases in the effective rate of taxation for any of our operations or at the corporate level; our ability to identify attractive acquisition and development opportunities (especially in new business lines) and to agree to terms with, and maintain good relationships with partners/municipalities for such transactions; the costs and risks involved in the pursuit of such opportunities and our ability to complete the acquisition or development of, and achieve the expected returns from, such opportunities; our ability to maintain market share in established markets and to continue to ramp up operations at our recently opened facilities; our expectations for the continued availability and cost of capital; the impact of weather; changes in accounting standards; the risk of failing to maintain the integrity of our information technology infrastructure and safeguard our business, employee and customer data; factors which may cause the Company to curtail or suspend the share repurchase program; with respect to our Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts, the ultimate location and timing of the other gaming facilities in the state and the region; with respect to our interactive gaming endeavors, risks related to the commencement of real money online gaming in the state of Pennsylvania, significant competition in the social gaming industry, employee retention, cyber-security, data privacy, intellectual property and legal and regulatory challenges, as well as our ability to successfully develop innovative products that attract and retain a significant number of players in order to grow our revenues and earnings; with respect to Illinois Gaming Investors, LLC, d/b/a Prairie State Gaming, risks relating to potential changes in the VGT laws, our ability to successfully compete in the VGT market, our ability to retain existing customers and secure new customers, risks relating to municipal authorization of VGT operations and the implementation and the ultimate success of the products and services being offered; with respect to our proposed Pennsylvania casinos in York and Berks or Lancaster Counties, risks related to the ultimate location of other gaming facilities in the state; risks related to the acquisition of Pinnacle by Penn National and the integration of the businesses and assets to be acquired; the possibility that the proposed transaction does not close when expected or at all because required regulatory or other approvals are not received or other conditions to the closing are not satisfied on a timely basis or at all; the risk that the financing required to fund the transaction is not obtained on the terms anticipated or at all; the possibility that the Boyd Gaming Corporation and/or GLPI deals do not close in a timely fashion or at all; potential adverse reactions or changes to business or employee relationships, including those resulting from the announcement or completion of the transaction; potential litigation challenging the transaction; the possibility that the anticipated benefits of the transaction are not realized when expected or at all, including as a result of the impact of, or issues arising from, the integration of the two companies; the possibility that the anticipated divestitures are not completed in the anticipated timeframe or at all; the possibility that additional divestitures may be required; the possibility that the transaction may be more expensive to complete than anticipated, including as a result of unexpected factors or events; diversion of management’s attention from ongoing business operations and opportunities; litigation relating to the transaction; and risks associated with increased leverage from the transaction; with respect to our management contract at Casino Rama, risks relating to the transition of management of this facility on July 18, 2018 to a newly selected operator; with respect to our pending acquisition of the Margaritaville operations, the possibility that the proposed transaction does not close when expected or at all because required regulatory or other approvals are not received or other conditions to the closing are not satisfied on a timely basis or at all; potential adverse reactions or changes to business or employee relationships, including those resulting from the announcement or completion of the transaction; potential litigation challenging the transaction; the possibility that the anticipated benefits of the transaction are not realized when expected or at all, including as a result of the impact of, or issues arising from, the integration of the companies and our ability to realize potential synergies or projected financial results; with respect to our proposed sports betting operations, risks relating to entering into a new line of business, including our ability to establish relationships with key partners or vendors and generate sufficient returns on investment, as well as risks relating to potential legislation in various jurisdictions; and other factors as discussed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, each as filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not intend to update publicly any forward-looking statements except as required by law. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events discussed in this press release may not occur.

    Source: Business Wire Entertainment News

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