Filed with the SEC from July 3 to July 9:
MTR Gaming Group (MNTG)
MTR Gaming Group Director Jeffrey Jacobs said that he wants to purchase up to $5 million of the company's common stock at a 25% premium to the market price. Jacobs is interested in buying the shares for $6.25 to $10 each prior to Jan. 15, 2009. Jacobs also may hold discussions with third parties or with the company's management, or suggest or take a position on potential changes in the company's casino and racetrack operations, management or capital structure as a means of enhancing shareholder value. Jacobs was elected to serve on the company's seven-person board on May 6. He was also appointed to serve on the company's succession committee. Jacobs holds 4,091,253 shares (14.9%).
This report includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our strategies, objectives and plans for future development or acquisitions of properties or operations, as well as expectations, future operating results and other information that is not historical information. When used in this document, the terms or phrases such as "anticipates," "believes," "projects," "plans," "intends," "estimates," "expects," "could," "would," "will likely continue," and variations of such words or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although our expectations, beliefs and projections are expressed in good faith and with what we believe is a reasonable basis, there can be no assurance that these expectations, beliefs and projections will be realized.
There are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements contained in this document. Such risks, uncertainties and other important factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in, or failure to comply with, laws, regulations, the conditions of our Pennsylvania slot license, accounting standards or environmental laws (including adverse changes in regulation by various state gaming or racing authorities and the rates of taxation on gaming revenues) and delays in regulatory licensing processes; (ii) competitive and general economic conditions in our markets, including whether and when the slot parlor recently licensed for downtown Pittsburgh obtains financing, is constructed and successfully opens and whether the harness horseracing track recently licensed in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania obtains a slot machine license, is constructed and successfully opens, and the legalization of new forms of gaming in states within our target markets; (iii) the ability to integrate future acquisitions; (iv) construction factors relating to new development or maintenance and expansion of operations, including litigation, delays, zoning issues, environmental restrictions, site conditions, weather or other hazards; (v) the effect of economic, credit and capital market conditions on the economy in general; (vi) continued dependence on Mountaineer and Presque Isle Downs for the majority of our revenues and cash flows; (vi) dependence upon key personnel and the ability to attract new personnel; (viii) weather or road conditions limiting access to our properties; and (ix) obtaining additional financing, if available, and the impact of leverage and debt service requirements.
We do not intend to update publicly any forward-looking statements, except as may be required by law.
We were incorporated in March 1988 in Delaware under the name "Secamur Corporation," a wholly-owned subsidiary of Buffalo Equities, Inc. ("Buffalo"), and later "spun-off" through the sale of its stock to the stockholders of Buffalo in January 1989. In June 1989, we merged with Pacific International Industries, Inc., which had been engaged in the contract security guard services business in Southern California. Upon completion of the merger, we were renamed Excalibur Security Services, Inc. to reflect a new line of business. After operating unprofitably, we filed a voluntary petition for reorganization with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in December 1990 and became a Chapter 11 debtor-in-possession. The Bankruptcy Court approved our sale of the security guard services business in May 1991, and confirmed our plan of reorganization in December 1991. The plan of reorganization authorized us to acquire, primarily, specified gaming and oil and gas businesses. Upon confirmation of the plan of reorganization, we changed our name to Excalibur Holding Corporation. In August 1993, we were renamed Winners Entertainment, Inc., in connection with management's decision to operate as a gaming company. At the annual meeting of stockholders on October 15, 1996, our stockholders approved a change of our name from Winners Entertainment, Inc. to MTR Gaming Group, Inc. Since 1998, we have operated only in the racing, gaming and entertainment business.
MTR Gaming Group, Inc. (the "Company"), through our wholly-owned subsidiaries, owns and operates The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester, West Virginia; Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania; and Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio. We also own a 90% interest in Jackson Trotting Association, LLC, which operates Jackson Harness Raceway in Jackson, Michigan; and a 50% interest in North Metro Harness Initiative, LLC, which is constructing a harness racetrack and card room in Anoka County, Minnesota. We also operate the Ramada Inn and Speedway Casino in North Las Vegas, Nevada pursuant to a short-term lease pending regulatory approval of the sale of the gaming assests (having sold the real property in January of 2008).
The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
Mountaineer is one of only four racetracks in West Virginia permitted to operate slot machines and one of only three racetracks in West Virginia currently permitted to operate traditional casino table gaming. Mountaineer is located at the northern tip of West Virginia's northwestern panhandle. Since acquiring Mountaineer in 1992, we continue to focus on expanding the reach of our extensive customer base and improving our operating results. As a result, Mountaineer has become a diverse gaming, entertainment and convention complex and destination resort with:
121,956 square feet of gaming space housing 3,220 slot machines, 40 poker tables, which we began operating in October of 2007, and 55 table games (including blackjack, craps, roulette and other games), which we began operating in late December of 2007;
359 hotel rooms, including the 258-room, 219,000 square foot Grande Hotel at Mountaineer, which offers 22 suites, a full-service spa and salon, a gourmet coffee shop, a 60-seat upscale steakhouse and various casual food and beverage outlets, a retail plaza and an indoor and outdoor swimming pool;
13,500 square feet of convention space, which can accommodate seated meals for groups of up to 575, as well as smaller meetings in more intimate break-out rooms that can accommodate 75 people and entertainment events for approximately 1,300 guests;
live thoroughbred horse racing on a one-mile dirt surface or a 7/8 mile grass surface with expansive clubhouse, restaurant, bars and concessions, as well as grandstand viewing areas with enclosed seating for 770 patrons and 2,800 patrons, respectively;
on-site parimutuel wagering and thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing simulcast from other prominent tracks, as well as wagering on Mountaineer's races at over 1,000 sites to which the races are simulcast;
Woodview, an eighteen-hole par 71 golf course measuring approximately 6,550 yards located approximately seven miles from Mountaineer;
a 69,000 square foot theater and events center, known as the "Harv," that seats approximately 5,000 patrons for concerts, boxing matches and other entertainment offerings;
a 12,000 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center which has a full compliment of weight training and cardiovascular equipment, as well as a health bar, locker rooms with steam and sauna facilities, and outdoor tennis courts; and
surface parking for approximately 5,400 cars.
Mountaineer's revenues and profits are driven primarily by its gaming operations and to a lesser extent its lodging, food and beverage operations, parimutuel wagering, convention center, events center, and recreational facilities fees.
Presque Isle Downs & Casino
Presque Isle Downs & Casino, which our wholly owned subsidiary opened on February 28, 2007 in Erie, Pennsylvania, is our first "green field" project and represents the culmination of planning, land acquisition, licensing, construction, financing and lobbying that began in the spring of 2001. The 140,000 square foot clubhouse consists of:
gaming space housing 2,000 ticket-in, ticket-out slot machines;
several dining options, including an up to 300-seat buffet, a 60-seat upscale steakhouse, a clubhouse restaurant and several bars, as well as entertainment; and
surface parking for approximately 3,225 cars.
In September of 2007, Presque Isle Downs commenced live thoroughbred racing on a one-mile track with a state-of-the-art synthetic racing surface, grandstand, barns, paddock and related facilities, as well as on-site parimutuel wagering and thoroughbred and harness racing simulcast from other prominent tracks. We expect to hold live racing approximately 100 days per year, primarily between June and September. Racing fans will have approximately 1,000 seats located both indoors and out.
In July 2003, we acquired 100% of the stock of Scioto Downs, Inc., which owns and operates a harness horse racetrack in Columbus, Ohio. The property includes: the racetrack, which conducts live harness racing and simulcasting from May to September; a grandstand that will accommodate 10,000 patrons; an enclosed clubhouse that will accommodate 1,500 patrons; approximately 6,000 parking spaces; and barns, paddock and related facilities for the horses, drivers, and trainers.
Jackson Harness Raceway
In December 2005, we acquired through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Jackson Racing, Inc., a 90% interest in Jackson Trotting Association, LLC, that operates Jackson Harness Raceway in Jackson, Michigan on the Jackson County Fairgrounds. Jackson Trotting offers harness racing from late-April to mid-July, parimutuel wagering and casual dining.
North Metro Harness
In June 2004, our wholly-owned subsidiary, MTR-Harness, Inc., acquired a 50% interest in the North Metro Harness Initiative, LLC, which in January of 2005 obtained a license from the Minnesota Racing Commission to construct and operate a harness racetrack and card room in Columbus Township, Anoka County, Minnesota, approximately 30 miles northeast of downtown Minneapolis.
Minnesota law permits licensed racetracks to operate a card room with up to 50 tables offering "non-banked" games (those in which the players play only against each other instead of against the house), subject to completion of the racetrack's first 50-day live race meet and regulatory approval of a card room plan of operation.
The harness race track and entertainment facility will include a harness racing track and approximately 110,750 square feet of associated grandstand, card club, horse barns and surface parking for approximately 1,850 cars. We anticipate that North Metro Harness Initiative will open its Running Aces Harness Park in April of 2008 and commence card room operations in July of 2008.
The Ramada Inn and Speedway Casino is located in North Las Vegas, Nevada, approximately five miles from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The property includes a 95-room hotel and a casino with 384 slot machines, six table games and two poker tables.
On January 11, 2008, Speakeasy Gaming of Las Vegas, Inc., our wholly-owned subsidiary, sold the casino's real property for $11.4 million in cash and entered a contract to sell the gaming assets, subject to regulatory approval, for $6.775 million of which $2 million is to be paid in cash at the closing and the balance of up to $4.775 million subject to an earn out based on the property's gross revenues over the next four years. In the interim, we continue to operate the property pursuant to a lease.
With the divestiture of our Nevada casinos nearly complete, our business strategy is to focus on driving revenues and profits from our core racetrack-based gaming properties in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, while limiting the carrying costs or otherwise maximizing our investments in our other properties, thus becoming a diversified, regional racino company. Specifically, we intend to: (i) capitalize on recently legalized table gaming to drive revenue growth and improve operating margins at Mountaineer, as we believe table gaming improves Mountaineer's ability to compete, as it attracts patrons with more disposable income and a greater propensity to utilize Mountaineer's high-end amenities; (ii) improve our operating margins at Presque Isle Downs (which commenced operations on February 28, 2007) and cross-market Presque Isle Downs with Mountaineer; (iii) promote the passage of slot machine gaming at Scioto Downs and Jackson Harness; and (iv) open North Metro Harness' Running Aces Harness Park for live racing and card room gaming in April and July of 2008 respectively.
Capitalize on Table Gaming at Mountaineer
Mountaineer began offering poker in October of 2007 and casino table games in late December of 2007. We expect table gaming's impact on Mountaineer's operations to be far more broad than the incremental revenue from the table games themselves. We believe that table games will increase Mountaineer's customer base and attract more affluent patrons, resulting in increased utilization of Mountaineer's luxury hotel, spa, steak house and entertainment offerings. We likewise believe that the increase in the number of patrons will lead to an increase in slot play. Equally important, with only one other casino offering table gaming within a 225 mile radius of Mountaineer, we believe Mountaineer will enjoy a competitive advantage over Limited Video Lottery machines permitted in West Virginia's bars and fraternal organizations and Pennsylvania's new slots-only casinos.
Fine Tuning at Presque Isle Downs; Cross Marketing with Mountaineer
Now that Presque Isle Downs has a year of operating history, we can focus on optimizing head counts, responding to customer preferences regarding types of machines and wagering limits, and eliminating other inefficiencies inherent in a start-up operation. We also intend to implement, subject to regulatory approval, a single frequent player's reward program for use at both Presque Isle Downs and Mountaineer. We believe the resulting cross marketing opportunities will benefit both properties.
Pursuing Legislation for Additional Forms of Gaming at our Properties
We have been pursuing and intend to continue to pursue legislation for video lottery or slot machine gaming at racetracks in Ohio and Michigan. We believe that such legislation will result in improvement of our business prospects and financial condition. Enhanced gaming at our properties will create new jobs and a new source of revenue, increase foot traffic at our properties, and provide a competitive advantage.
We face substantial competition in each of the markets in which our facilities are located. See "Risk Factorsâ€”Certain Risks Related to Our Businessâ€”We face significant competition from other gaming and racing facilities, and increased competition could have a material adverse effect on us."
Specific competitive factors relating to our primary gaming markets include the following:
Mountaineer. In recent years, the number of gaming options available to consumers in our West Virginia area market has increased considerably. While there are three other tracks in West Virginia that offer slot machine gaming, only one, Wheeling Downs, lies within Mountaineer's primary market (a 150-mile radius), located approximately 50 miles to the south in Wheeling, West Virginia. That competitor currently operates approximately 2,129 slot machines, 20 poker tables, and 43 casino table games. West Virginia permits limited video lottery machines ("LVL's") in local bars and fraternal organizations. The law authorizes up to 9,000 slot machines in adults-only facilities throughout West Virginia. No more than five slot machines are allowed in each establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages; and no more than ten slot machines are allowed in each licensed fraternal organization. As of February 29, 2008, there are approximately 8,100 LVL's in West Virginia's bars and fraternal organizations, approximately 500 of which are in Hancock County (where Mountaineer is located) and another 912 in total are located in nearby Brook and Ohio Counties. Although the bars and fraternal organizations housing these machines lack the amenities and ambiance of our resort, they do compete with us, particularly for the local patronage.
In addition, Pennsylvania's slot machine law contemplates the installation of slot machines at up to fourteen locations: seven racetracks (including Presque Isle Downs) each with up to 3,000 slots initially and with the ability to apply to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for up to 5,000 slots (five of which, in addition to Presque Isle Downs, have opened); five stand-alone slot parlors with up to 5,000 slots (one of which has opened); and two resort locations with up to 500 slots each. In June of 2007, The Meadows, a harness racetrack approximately 40 miles southeast of Mountaineer, opened a temporary slots facility with 1,738 slot machines (now 1,816 machines). The Meadows has announced plans to replace the temporary facility with a permanent facility with 3,000 slot machines and various food and beverage outlets in early 2009. In December 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a license for a stand-alone slot parlor to be located in downtown Pittsburgh (approximately a one-hour drive from Mountaineer and a two-hour drive from Presque Isle Downs). The owners of the planned Pittsburgh facility previously announced that they intend to open the facility with 5,000 slot machines in the summer of 2008, but most recently reported that they do not intend to open until May of 2009. Additionally, in September of 2007, the Pennsylvania Harness Horse Racing Commission, granted a license to build Valley View Downs in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, approximately 45 miles from Mountaineer and 90 miles from Presque Isle Downs. In November, Valley View applied to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for the final Category 1 racetrack slot machine license. The Gaming Control Board has announced that it does not expect to act on the application until late 2008 and that if the slots license were granted, it does not expect the new facility to open until 2010. If the downtown Pittsburgh facility successfully opens, Mountaineer will compete with it for slot patrons. Likewise, if Valley View Downs obtains a slot license and successfully opens a slot facility, it too would represent new competition for Mountaineer.
Presque Isle Downs. Presque Isle Downs competes principally with the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca, New York, approximately seventy-five miles away. That facility has 2,200 slot machines, forty table games, and a 212-room hotel with resort amenities and has announced plans to build additional hotel rooms. Presque Isle Downs would also face competition from the downtown Pittsburgh slot parlor and slots at Valley View Downs if those projects open.
All of our gaming operations also compete to a lesser extent with operations in other locations, including Native American lands, and with other forms of legalized gaming in the United States, including state-sponsored lotteries, on- and off- track wagering, high-stakes bingo, card parlors, and the emergence of Internet gaming. In addition, casinos in Canada have likewise recently begun advertising in our target markets.
Racing and Parimutuel Operations
Mountaineer. Mountaineer's racing and parimutuel operations compete directly for wagering dollars with Wheeling Downs, which is located approximately 50 miles from Mountaineer; Thistledown and Northfield Park, which are located approximately 85 miles to the northwest of Mountaineer in Cleveland, Ohio; and the Meadows, located approximately 40 miles southeast of Mountaineer in Washington, Pennsylvania. Wheeling Downs conducts parimutuel greyhound racing and casino gaming. Thistledown and Northfield Park conduct parimutuel horse racing but not video lottery or slot gaming. The Meadows conducts live harness racing, simulcasting, and slot gaming. Mountaineer would also compete for pari-mutuel wagering patrons with Valley View Downs if it is constructed and opened. Since commencing export simulcasting in August 2000, Mountaineer also competes with racetracks across the country to have its signal carried by off-track wagering parlors. Mountaineer also competes for wagering dollars with off-track wagering facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mountaineer also competes with other tracks for participation by quality racehorses.
Presque Isle Downs. Presque Isle Downs faces competition from other racetracks in Pennsylvania and off-track wagering facilities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as casinos in Western New York. Presque Isle Downs will also compete with Valley View Downs if it is constructed and opens.
Scioto Downs. Scioto Downs competes directly with other racetracks in Ohio, including Beulah Park, a thoroughbred horse racetrack which is located approximately nine miles from Scioto; River Downs Horse Racing in Cincinnati, Ohio; and to a lesser extent, casino gambling in Indiana and in Michigan. Further, Scioto Downs faces competition from off-track wagering facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Jackson Harness Raceway. Jackson Harness competes directly with other racetracks in Michigan, including Sports Creek Raceway, Northville Downs, Hazel Park Harness Raceway and Great Lakes Downs. If Jackson Harness is permitted to operate slots, those gaming operations would compete with various existing and planned Native American Casinos and, to a lesser extent, casinos in Detroit.
As of March 27, 2008, we had approximately 3,300 employees in total.
The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. Mountaineer has 2,300 employees, approximately 725 of whom were added as a result of the implementation of table gaming in December of 2007. Approximately 60 of Mountaineer's employees are represented by a union covering our parimutuel clerks and certain employees providing off-track betting services. We have an agreement in place with the parimutuel clerks until November 30, 2008. In addition, approximately 190 employees are represented by a union covering our video lottery clerks, which agreement would have expired March 1, 2008 but for the parties' agreement to extend the agreement until April 30, 2008 pending negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement. However, on March 25, 2008 the union advised Mountaineer of its intent to call for a work stoppage and such work stoppage commenced at 12:01 am on March 29, 2008.
Presque Isle Downs & Casino. Presque Isle Downs employs approximately 730 people.
Ramada Inn and Speedway Casino. There are approximately 190 employees at the Speedway property.
Scioto Downs. There are approximately 20 employees at Scioto Downs, which increases by approximately 220 during racing which is conducted from May through September.
Jackson Harness Raceway. There are approximately 40 employees at Jackson, which increases by approximately 110 during racing which is conducted from April through July.
Regulation and Licensing
All of our gaming and racing operations are subject to extensive regulation under the laws and regulations of each of the jurisdictions in which we operate and could be subjected at any time to additional or more restrictive regulations. Gaming laws are generally designed to protect gaming consumers and the integrity of the gaming industry and to keep the industry free of inappropriate or criminal influences. Gaming laws are also designed to maximize state and local revenues derived through taxes and licensing fees imposed on gaming industry participants as well as to enhance economic development, tourism, and participation of minorities in employment, contracting, and ownership. To accomplish these public policy goals, gaming laws establish procedures to ensure that participants in the gaming industry meet certain standards of character and fitness. In addition, gaming laws require gaming industry participants to:
establish procedures designed to prevent cheating and fraudulent practices;
establish and maintain responsible accounting practices and procedures;
establish practices to promote diversity in hiring, contracting and ownership;
maintain effective controls over their financial practices, including establishment of minimum procedures for internal fiscal affairs and the safeguarding of assets and revenues;
maintain systems for reliable record keeping;
file periodic reports with gaming regulators; and
establish programs to promote responsible gaming and inform patrons of the availability of help for problem gaming.
Typically, these requirements are set forth by statute and administered by a regulatory agency (either a lottery commission, gaming commission or gaming control board) with broad discretion to regulate owners, managers, and persons with financial interests in gaming operations. Among other things, gaming authorities in the various jurisdictions in which we operate:
adopt rules and regulations under the implementing statutes;
interpret and enforce gaming laws;
impose disciplinary sanctions for violations, including fines and penalties;
review the character and fitness of participants in gaming operations and make determinations regarding their suitability or qualification for licensure;
grant licenses for participation in gaming operations;
collect and review reports and information submitted by participants in gaming operations;
review and approve transactions, such as acquisitions or change-of-control transactions of gaming industry participants, securities offerings and debt transactions engaged in by such participants; and
establish and collect fees and taxes.
Any change in the laws or regulations of a gaming jurisdiction could have a material adverse effect on our gaming operations.
Licensing and Suitability
Gaming laws require us, each of our subsidiaries engaged in gaming operations, certain of our directors, officers and employees, and in some cases, certain of our shareholders and holders of our debt securities, to obtain licenses or approvals (or seek waivers) from gaming authorities. Licenses typically require a determination that the applicant qualifies or is suitable to hold the license, a determination over which gaming authorities have very broad discretion. Criteria used in determining whether to grant a license to conduct gaming operations, while varying among jurisdictions, generally include consideration of factors such as:
the financial stability, integrity and responsibility of the applicant, including whether the operation is adequately capitalized in the state and exhibits the ability to maintain adequate insurance levels;
the quality of the applicant's casino facilities;
the amount of revenue to be derived by the applicable state from the operation of the applicant's casino;
the applicant's practices with respect to minority hiring and training; and
the effect on competition and general impact on the community.
In evaluating individual applicants, gaming authorities consider the individual's business experience and reputation for good character, the individual's criminal history and credit, and the character of those with whom the individual associates. In addition to us and our subsidiaries engaged in gaming operations, gaming authorities may investigate any individual who has a material relationship to or material involvement with, any of these entities to determine whether such individual is suitable or should be licensed as a business associate of a gaming licensee. Our officers, directors and certain key employees must file applications with the gaming authorities and may be required to be licensed, qualified or be found suitable in many jurisdictions. Gaming authorities may deny an application for licensing for any cause which they deem reasonable. Qualification and suitability determinations require submission of detailed personal and financial information followed by a thorough investigation. The applicant must pay all the costs of the investigation. Changes in licensed positions must be reported to gaming authorities and in addition to their authority to deny an application for licensure, qualification or a finding of suitability, gaming authorities have jurisdiction to disapprove a change in a corporate position. If one or more gaming authorities were to find that an officer, director or key employee fails to qualify or is unsuitable for licensing or unsuitable to continue having a relationship with us, we would be required to sever all relationships with such person. In addition, gaming authorities may require us to terminate the employment of any person who refuses to file appropriate applications.
Moreover, in many jurisdictions, certain of our stockholders or holders of our debt securities may be required to undergo a suitability investigation similar to that described above. Many jurisdictions require any person who acquires beneficial ownership of more than a certain percentage of our 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. Most gaming authorities, however, allow an "institutional investor" to apply for a waiver. An "institutional investor" is generally defined as an investor acquiring and holding voting securities in the ordinary course of business as an institutional investor, and not for the purpose of causing, directly or indirectly, the election of a majority of the members of our board of directors, any change in our corporate charter, bylaws, management, policies or operations, or those of any of our gaming affiliates, or the taking of any other action which gaming authorities find to be inconsistent with holding our voting securities for investment purposes only. Even if a waiver is granted, an institutional investor generally may not take any action inconsistent with its status when the waiver was granted without once again becoming subject to the foregoing reporting and application obligations.
Generally, any person who fails or refuses to apply for a finding of suitability or a license within the prescribed period after being advised it is required by gaming authorities may be denied a license or found unsuitable, as applicable. Any stockholder found unsuitable or denied a license and who holds, directly or indirectly, any beneficial ownership of our voting securities beyond such period of time as may be prescribed by the applicable gaming authorities may be guilty of a criminal offense. Furthermore, we may be subject to disciplinary action if, after we receive notice that a person is unsuitable to be a stockholder or to have any other relationship with us or any of our subsidiaries, we: (i) pay that person any dividend or interest upon our voting securities; (ii) allow that person to exercise, directly or indirectly, any voting right conferred through securities held by that person; (iii) pay remuneration in any form to that person for services rendered or otherwise; or (iv) fail to pursue all lawful efforts to require such unsuitable person to relinquish his voting securities including, if necessary, the immediate purchase of that person's voting securities for cash at fair market value.
The gaming jurisdictions in some of the jurisdictions in which we operate also require that suppliers of certain goods and services to gaming industry participants be licensed and require us to purchase and lease gaming equipment, supplies and services only from licensed suppliers.
Licenses in most of the jurisdictions in which we conduct gaming operations are granted for limited durations and require renewal from time to time. The failure to renew any of our licenses could have a material adverse effect on our gaming operations.
Violations of Gaming Laws
If we or our subsidiaries violate applicable gaming laws, our gaming licenses could be limited, conditioned, suspended or revoked by gaming authorities, and we and any other persons involved could be subject to substantial fines. Furthermore, violations of laws in one jurisdiction could result in disciplinary action in other jurisdictions. As a result, violations by us of applicable gaming laws could have a material adverse effect on our gaming operations.
Some gaming jurisdictions prohibit certain types of political activity by a gaming licensee, its officers, directors and key people. A violation of such a prohibition may subject the offender to criminal and/or disciplinary action.
Reporting and Record-Keeping Requirements
We are required periodically to submit detailed financial and operating reports and furnish any other information about us and our subsidiaries which gaming authorities may require. Under federal law, we are required to record and submit detailed reports of currency transactions involving greater than $10,000 at our casinos as well as any suspicious activity that may occur at such facilities. We are required to maintain a current stock ledger which may be examined by gaming authorities at any time. If any securities are held in trust by an agent or by a nominee, the record holder may be required to disclose the identity of the beneficial owner to gaming authorities. A failure to make such disclosure may be grounds for finding the record holder unsuitable. Gaming authorities may, and in certain jurisdictions do, require certificates for our securities to bear a legend indicating that the securities are subject to specified gaming laws.
MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION FROM LATEST 10K
We own and operate The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester, West Virginia; Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania; and Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio. We also own a 90% interest in Jackson Trotting Association, LLC, which operates Jackson Harness Raceway in Jackson, Michigan; and a 50% interest in North Metro Harness Initiative, LLC, which is constructing a harness racetrack and card room in Anoka County, Minnesota. We also operate the Ramada Inn and Speedway Casino in North Las Vegas, Nevada pursuant to a short-term lease (having sold the real property in January of 2008) pending the completion of the sale of the property's gaming business and related assets upon regulatory approval.
During 2007, the Company also owned and operated Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, which it sold in March of 2008. The assets and liabilities of Binion's have been reflected as held for sale and the operating results and cash flows as discontinued operations. Corresponding reclassifications have been made to the prior period presentations.
Through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Presque Isle Downs, Inc. the Company commenced slot machine gaming operations at Presque Isle Downs & Casino on February 28, 2007, and commenced live thoroughbred horse racing with parimutuel wagering on September 1, 2007. Presque Isle Downs consists of a clubhouse with 2,000 slot machines, fine and casual dining, bars, a one-mile racetrack, grandstand, barns, paddock and administration building and parimutuel wagering on races simulcast from other facilities. During September 2007, we completed 25 racing dates as approved by the Pennsylvania Racing Commission. We expect that Presque Isle Downs will generate significant revenues and profits and substantially diversify our operations.
On October 19, 2007, Mountaineer opened 37 poker tables (increased to 40 in 2008) and on December 20, 2007 opened 50 table games (increased to 55 in 2008). The poker tables are located in the facility's Grandstand, and the table games are located in the Speakeasy Gaming Saloon (connected to our hotel) as well as the Grandstand.
On February 9, 2007, Speakeasy Gaming of Las Vegas, Inc., our wholly-owned subsidiary, and Mandekic Companies, LLC entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement providing for the sale of the Ramada Inn and Speedway Casino ("Speedway") for $18.175 million in cash. On May 1, 2007, Mandekic Companies, LLC assigned the Purchase and Sale Agreement to MAST Gaming, LLC, which subsequently assigned it to its affiliate, Ganaste, LLC. On January 11, 2008, Speakeasy Gaming of Las Vegas, Inc. completed the sale of its Speedway Casino's real property in North Las Vegas, NV to Ganaste, LLC. In order to expedite closing, pursuant to agreements dated January 11, 2008 that replaced a February 2007 Purchase and Sale Agreement, the Company agreed to bifurcate the transaction: first, an immediate sale of the real estate to Ganaste LLC, which did not require regulatory approval; and second, the sale of the gaming assets to Lucky Lucy D, LLC upon regulatory approval. Lucky Lucy's sole owner is a shareholder of Ganaste and has recently been found suitable by the Nevada Gaming Commission in an unrelated transaction. Ganaste LLC paid $11.4 million in cash for the real property resulting in a gain on the sale of approximately $2.8 million. Lucky Lucy has agreed to pay $6.775 million for the gaming assets, $2 million of which is to be paid in cash at the closing and the balance of up to $4.775 million subject to an earn out based on the property's gross revenues over the next four years. Pursuant to the agreements, Ganaste must spend at least $3 million on capital improvements over the next three years. The Lucky Lucy transaction with respect to the gaming assets, which is supported by a $650,000 non-refundable deposit, is subject to the approval of the Nevada Gaming Commission and the City of North Las Vegas. Pending regulatory approval and closing of the Lucky Lucy transaction, Speakeasy Gaming of Las Vegas, Inc. will continue to operate the property pursuant to a short-term lease.
The following table sets forth a reconciliation of net income (loss), a GAAP financial measure, to EBITDA, a non-GAAP measure, for the years ended December 31.
EBITDA represents earnings (losses) before interest, income tax expense (benefit), depreciation and amortization, equity in loss of unconsolidated joint venture and (gain) loss on disposal of property. EBITDA is not a measure of performance or liquidity calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), is unaudited and should not be considered an alternative to, or more meaningful than, net income or income from operations as an indicator of our operating performance, or cash flows from operating activities, as a measure of liquidity. EBITDA has been presented as a supplemental disclosure because it is a widely used measure of performance and basis for valuation of companies in our industry. Uses of cash flows that are not reflected in EBITDA include capital expenditures (which are significant given our expansion), interest payments, income taxes, and debt principal repayments. Moreover, other companies that provide EBITDA information may calculate EBITDA differently than we do.
Year Ended December 31, 2007 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2006
The following tables set forth information concerning our results of operations by property for continuing operations for the year ended December 31.
Although we experienced an increase in revenues principally because of the opening of Presque Isle Downs, operating margins and profits did not increase correspondingly. This can be attributed to the decline in margins at Mountaineer owing to the impact of new competition on revenue, pre-opening and development expenses related to the opening of Presque Isle Downs and the commencement of poker and table gaming at Mounaineer, and operating inefficiencies at Presque Isle Downs that are inherent in commencement of a new operation, but which we continue to address now that the property has a year of operating history. We expect to further enhance our market penetration and revenue growth as a result of the opening of poker and table games at Mountaineer and cross marketing initiatives between Mountaineer and Presque Isle Downs.
Mountaineer's Operating Results:
During the year ended December 31, 2007, net revenues decreased by $30.9 million, or 10.6%, primarily due to a $29.7 million decrease in gaming revenues (net of poker and table games revenues of $2.6 million). Parimutuel commissions and food, beverage and lodging revenues decreased by $0.2 million and $0.9 million, respectively. Revenue from other sources decreased by $0.6 million. Promotional allowances decreased by $0.1 million. Mountaineer's operating margin decreased to 11.0% in 2007 from 16.7% in 2006, a decrease of 34.1%.
Operating margins at Mountaineer were impacted due to:
a decrease in gross profit from gaming, parimutuel commissions, food beverage and lodging operations (as discussed below) and other revenue aggregating $14.9 million including $13.4 million from gaming; and
costs incurred in connection with the opening of table gaming at Mountaineer's facility (discussed below) in the amount of $2.6 million;
an increase in marketing and promotion costs of $2.7 million consisting of an increase in promotions (VLT, hotel and food) and advertising costs in reaction to increased competition in Pennsylvania and an awareness campaign for table games;
an increase in general and administrative costs of $2.7 million due principally to higher salaries, wages and benefits ($1.0 million) and increases in professional and outside services, repairs, utilities and West Virginia use tax; and
a decrease in depreciation expense of approximately $3.2 million.
A discussion of Mountaineer's key operations follows.
Gaming Operations. Revenues from gaming operations decreased by $29.7 million, or 11.5%, to $229.4 million during 2007 compared to 2006. Gross profit from gaming operations decreased by $13.4 million, or 13.0%, during 2007 compared to 2006. Management primarily attributes the decrease in revenue from gaming operations during 2007 to the impact on our market from the opening of gaming operations in Pennsylvania, which share some customer base in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In addition to the opening of Presque Isle Downs, on June 11 2007, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, a harness racetrack in Washington, Pennsylvania, opened its new slot casino with 1,738 machines. The Meadows is approximately 40 miles southeast of Mountaineer.
During the year ended December 31, 2007, Mountaineer's average daily net win per machine decreased by 12.2% to $194 compared to $221 during 2006. A summary of video lottery gross wagers, less winning patron payouts at Mountaineer for the years ended December 31 were as follows.
On October 19, 2007, Mountaineer introduced 37 poker tables (subsequently increased to 40 poker tables), and opened 50 banked table games (blackjack, craps and roulette) on December 20, 2007 (subsequently increased to 55 table games). The poker tables are located in the facility's Grandstand, and the table games are located in the Speakeasy Gaming Saloon (connected to our hotel) as well as the Grandstand. There are no statutory limits on the size of wagers or number of games. Gaming taxes are assessed at the rate of 35%. Poker and table games generated gaming revenues of approximately $0.8 million and $1.8 million, respectively since opening in 2007 until December 31, 2007. We believe the implementation of table games at Mountaineer will enhance its competitive position by drawing new customers and driving increased play from our existing customers, which may contribute to Mountaineer's gaming revenue growth and further development as a destination resort. Furthermore, table gaming at Mountaineer will also help distinguish our product from slot machines in local bars and clubs and slot machine operations in Pennsylvania. Additionally, with the commencement of table gaming, Mountaineer expanded its hours of operation to twenty-four hours perday, seven days per week, which we believe will also drive additional revenue. The net effect of the implementation of table games and continued competition of slot operations in Pennsylvania is not known. In addition, the continued volatility of fuel costs could impact revenue growth.
Overall, the decrease in revenues from gaming operations during 2007 resulted in a $16.8 million decrease in gaming taxes and assessments. Additionally, gaming salaries and benefits increased $0.5 million principally as a result of the addition of table games staffing.
Parimutuel Commissions. Parimutuel commissions is a predetermined percentage of the total amount wagered (wagering handle), with a higher commission earned on a more exotic wager, such as a trifecta, than on a single horse wager, such as a win, place or show. In parimutuel wagering, patrons bet against each other rather than against the operator of the facility or with pre-set odds. The total wagering handle is composed of the amounts wagered by each individual according to the wagering activity. The total amounts wagered form a pool of funds, from which winnings are paid based on odds determined solely by the wagering activity. The racetrack acts as a stakeholder for the wagering patrons and deducts a "take-out" or gross commission from the amounts wagered, from which the racetrack pays state and county taxes and racing purses. Our parimutuel commission rates are fixed as a percentage of the total wagering handle or total amounts wagered.
Edson R. Arneault
First of all Iâ€™d like to thank everybody for our fourth quarter, turning end over fourth quarter and 2007 report. And I would just like to say that the fourth quarter was really what we regard as the culmination of kind of the preparation stage for our business plan that we really started about four years ago.
First I want to deal with the accounting issue that weâ€™ve had. We did have an untimely filing of our 10K. It was late by, I think, a day and a half. And there were several issues involved. First of all, going from the fourth quarter, we had a table games implementation. At the same time in the first quarter we sold two of our what we considered non-strategic assets. We sold the real estate portion of the Speedway and also have a contract to sell as soon as the buyer would get licensed the gaming portion of the Speedway, which entailed a substantial amount of documentation be provided to the buyers. In addition, we sold Binionâ€™s and likewise it was part of our overall plan in selling non-strategic assets that did require substantial amounts of time and effort in order to get that sale done.
Because of the fourth quarter results we had to deal with some of our banking issues which further delayed some of the accounting and projections that we were going to use and had to be provided to our auditors Ernst and Young so that they could give us a report. We did that after finishing the bank negotiations in late March. Ernst and Young felt they needed additional time to work out our projection in order to sign off.
Further complicating that, as probably some of you know, we were working on a couple, actually several strategic alternatives in the first quarter which also demanded a substantial amount of time and effort on our accounting staff. We are making some changes and we feel that weâ€™ve got the system ready and in order to make sure we file on a timely manner. I donâ€™t think we could ever see another quarter with as much activity as we saw in this first quarter, but we plan to make sure that those Ks not only are filed on time, but not extended in the future.
As I said, I look at the fourth quarter as the culmination of the implementation of our business plan. As you know, we had anticipated that at some time at MTR or Mountaineer we would have additional competition or at least the initiation of competition from other states. In anticipation of that we had built and moved Mountaineer to be a destination resort.
The key to establish Mountaineer as a destination resort was twofold. One, that it certainly helped us from a legislative stand point in having the legislature willing to work with us to increase the amount of gaming offerings we would have. And secondly, it became a requirement as part of the legislation in order to have table games.
Also part of the game plan, we felt that it was needed to have a presence in both Ohio and Pennsylvania to protect both sides of the Mountaineer market. To that end we built in Erie Presque Isle. We opened it in February of last year. And also acquired Scioto Downs, which while Ohio has not moved into any form of gaming legislation certainly it has been attempted. I think we would have to be imprudent if we felt that it wasnâ€™t going to keep having attempts. If it does, you know, our Scioto Downs facility, I think, is as good as any location that they would have in the state of Ohio. So we proceeded over the last four years to develop the property with those goals in mind.
And as anticipated in 2007 we did start to receive some of that competition that we thought. The first that we received was from Presque Isle, which fortunately is of course owned by us so it was not really a cannibalization, but rather a trading of customers, if you will, but still within the Mountaineer family. The second, of course, came from the Meadows and started just at the end of the second quarter and proceeded into the third and fourth quarter. Iâ€™ll be frank that it had a bigger effect than we had originally anticipated. But we did have the fix in place. We had been lobbying for two years for table games. We were successful in March of last year to have legislation passed in June, to have an election, and in the fall and early winter to have implementation of table games. The reason for table games became pretty obvious and are becoming even more obvious as we go along. We felt that we needed to have that differentiation of product so that Mountaineer, while itâ€™s not close to any great population base, would have a product differential over any competition that we would have. And we were successful in achieving that. So weâ€™ve seen not only a tremendous increase in table game play over the last three months, but we have seen a very successful start of a (inaudible) on our slot play at Mountaineer.
If you look at it, the fourth quarter we were kind of hit by the perfect storm where you had competition coming in, the economy having its own issues, although Iâ€™ll deal with that a little bit later, and having to incur the cost of preparing for table games. Which fortunately, because we had decided to become a destination resort in the prior three years, was not as much as it would have been for a lot of other facilities, but nonetheless did occupy both money, time, and resources in order to prepare. And as you know, in October we started poker, which has been very successful, and in December 20th we started our table game operation. Unfortunately late enough in the fourth quarter where we did not see any tremendous effects.
But the trends that we have been working on have all been positive, both from a balance sheet standpoint and a P&L standpoint. If you look at the balance sheet, weâ€™ve been able to look at non-strategic assets, such as weâ€™ve always had Binionâ€™s and Speedway were and generate additional cash and pay down on our line of credit.
In addition, we have looked at our capex because of the situation and we have spent the money in the past few years to become a destination resort and because of frankly the newness of Erie weâ€™ve been able to cut down substantially on our capex expenditures this year. We would have to go over the exact dollars, but theyâ€™re in the $16 million range for the rest of the year. Plus, all of those moves have an additional affect on P&L. If you look at Binionâ€™s, we were able to cut the cost of operating Binionâ€™s. Going into the second quarter of this year we did have still the first couple of months of this year, which will have some impact on the first quarter, but we will cut the going-forward losses at Binionâ€™s. Weâ€™ve been able to really, since we are no longer really in the development stage of table games, weâ€™ve been able to have cost containment at Mountaineer and, in addition, we have been working right along at cost containment at Presque Isle Downs.
The other great factor that we have had, as I said, we looked at table games as being the key, is the decrease in the loss of slot play that we have. If you look at the fourth quarter of last year compared to 2006 we had a decreased slot play of 17.9%. But since implementing table games for the first quarter of 2008 weâ€™re down to about 9.6%, which includes March, which anybody who follows the weather in our area of the Great Lakes knows that we got hit with a very strange amount of bad weather. But if you look at January we were only down 6% and if you look at February we were down 5.7%. So a tremendous decrease in the loss of slot play.
Table game growth has been phenomenal. Weâ€™ve been able to reap the amounts that we had anticipated on a drop in net win and on a net win per position basis. We see that table game play continuing to grow to the extent that we increased from 37 poker tables to 40 and we have increased from about 50 games to 55 games for regular table game play. But as we anticipated, because we had built Mountaineer out as a destination resort, weâ€™ve also seen the ancillary growth in other areas. Thirty-six percent growth in our food and beverage in the first quarter. Our hotel room, not just the occupancy rate has grown, but the ADR has grown. And weâ€™re looking at both our spa, our fitness centre, all of the ancillary activities that we have had a great growth factor.
Now turning to Presque Isle Downs, weâ€™ve got interesting developments going on at Presque Isle Downs. We have initiated seven simulated table games at Presque Isle Downs, each of which is meeting great success. We think, as I discuss our marketing plans in a little bit, youâ€™ll see thatâ€™s going to tie directly into our marketing plans and ensuring that we can still capture the Northeast Ohio and Central Pennsylvania business, especially when I introduce the marketing plan that weâ€™re going to talk about.
I want to talk a little bit about EBIDTA margins. Mountaineerâ€™s EBIDTA margins were affected a lot by pre-opening costs and a lot of the campaign costs that are not necessarily associated with opening costs, but nonetheless are incurred. They also were affected by the slot trends that we felt in the fourth quarter, which we feel we have substantially reversed, as Iâ€™ve talked about before.
I also want to talk about EBIDTA margins at Presque Isle Downs because itâ€™s a concept that has to be looked at just a little bit differently at Presque Isle Downs. We feel that weâ€™re going to be in that 17% to 20% range, but Presque Isle Downs is burdened with a $10 million local tax, which is a fixed cost. Now that tax we have challenged, all of the gaming facilities in Pennsylvania challenged but lost when the revenue department decided that that was part of the bill. So it is part of our permanent structure. But if youâ€™re going to look at the efficiency of operations you almost really need to back that $10 million out. I know itâ€™s still an accounting issue and I know it still winds up from an accounting concept as part of our EBIDTA margin, but nonetheless I think if youâ€™re going to really look at efficiency factors then you really need to back that out and almost have it a sub-category.
That $10 million at the level of play that weâ€™re at right now has a direct 7% hit on our EBIDTA margin, which I think makes it look a little eschew. Glad to talk about that, but I think we almost need to look at Presque Isle Downs as having two different markets. Or two different factors.
One of the big things that I want to talk about going forward is our marketing strategy. We have been able to lobby and work with both the State of West Virginia, the lottery department, and the State of Pennsylvania, the Gaming Control Board, and receive approval that we can use just one player card between Presque Isle Downs and Mountaineer Casino. That is important as we attempt to control the Northeast Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia market in that people can go to Presque Isle Downs for a summer visit, come back down to Mountaineer to play table games. Weâ€™ve got, like I said, the simulated table games at Presque Isle and we actually just received this approval last Friday from Pennsylvania. We had received it about two weeks before that from West Virginia.
So we really attempted and because we did not know when table games were going to be fully implemented we had delayed really a coordinated marketing effort until this quarter so that we would know exactly how to market a combined coordinated marketing effort between Presque Isle Downs and Mountaineer Racetrack. I think itâ€™s going to be an extremely successful campaign. It will have a coordinated player system that allows us to really concentrate on data mining and use the ability of both facilities to work with their customers. So we looked at that as being one of our great growth potentials.
Another thing that has been in the press is our strike issues. Iâ€™m happy to say, as of 4:00 today, the strike has been resolved. Weâ€™ve had verbal agreements between the parties. The attorneys have worked out the verbiage. We will have a joint press conference, we hope, later this evening and we think itâ€™s a great package for our employees. Certainly itâ€™s one that we can live in and feel very comfortable with and a lot of our people worked hard to get that. I think theyâ€™ve done a tremendous job getting that and I think no matter what you just hate to have your employees out on a picket line like that. So we think itâ€™s going to have a positive marketing effect. We think itâ€™s going to have a positive psychological effect on our employees, our customers, and we think that with that it will be a three-year contract that is a very workable contract for us.
Also there was the Wells Fargo trustee issue and we were informed by Wells Fargo from their trust department that they had received word from their loan department that there was a conflict and that they could no longer be the trustee for our senior bond. We donâ€™t see that as a major issue. Weâ€™ve already talked to other people who would fulfill that trustee status. And like I said, weâ€™ve got our loan arrangements done with Wells Fargo bank and our other banks. But they worked hard also on working with us to get this done so that itâ€™s a very workable package.
Just kind of to talk about legislative issues. We still are always faced with legislative issues, even though weâ€™ve come this far. West Virginia over the next couple of years are going to have changes in the local video lottery law, which will become important to us. Pennsylvania, of course, major tax issues that we have to deal with.
Ohio still offers tremendous opportunities for Mountaineer because of Scioto Downs. While they have not been moving towards any form of gambling, even the governor was kind of rebuffed when he recommended that Keno go into the bars. I think that to think that they are not going to move sometime down the road for tables or some form of gaming I think would be naive and I think itâ€™s important for us to look at Scioto Downs as an extremely strategic asset. And because of its geographic location itâ€™s the kind of asset that, while we do have to incur some costs, we have been able to work with both the racing commission and our neighbours at Beulah Park to have cost-cutting arrangements where Beulah Park is open about six months out of the year and Scioto is open six months of the year. We think that could save Scioto Downs upwards of a half million dollars a year. So we look at all of that as being an important part of going forward.
We continue to look at Michigan and see if there are any legislative opportunities there. And of course weâ€™re getting ready to open Minnesota on April 11th and will soon have a car groom in July. We see that, once again, turning around from an asset that took a lot of administrative time, financial resources, and other costs into becoming a profit centre for us as we go into the third and fourth quarters of next year.
As far as thereâ€™s been discussions about new directors. Our committees have been looking at applications for new directors. We have sent out questionnaires and information packets. As you know, in gaming any directors have to be first approved by the compliance committees of the facility and then also potentially by the different gaming institutions. We look forward to having a lot of input from any potential directors that we would bring on and look forward to having people with experience, different kinds of skills and talents to bring to the board.
Once again, just in summary, we had anticipated that we would have this competition. We really initiated a program, like I said, starting about four years ago to prepare both MTR Gaming and Mountaineer to be ready for such competition. And those plans obviously included Presque Isle Downs and Ohio as strategic assets and Michigan and Minnesota, while not in our core market, certainly within our overall market. So the MTR plan has worked. I think weâ€™re going to see the initiation of the benefits of those net plans.
In addition, Mountaineer of course had the plan of becoming a destination resort, going after table games which would allow it to become a destination resort. Weâ€™ve seen that we have been able to achieve that. We think itâ€™s an extremely core asset for us. In the future we think itâ€™s going to be the cause for a lot of growth in the future and we can see that down the road we would have additional tables beyond where we already have.
So I think those plans are well in place. Presque Isle Downs I dealt with. I think as we penetrate our market weâ€™ve looked at the guidance that weâ€™ve issued. When we looked at that guidance we assumed only a 3% growth for Presque Isle Downs and weâ€™re hoping that coordinated table games or coordinated market plans with the unified card is going to allow us to do that and perhaps substantially more. We have to just wait and see how that works. But I tell you, thereâ€™s a lot of excitement in the market about it.
So weâ€™ve issued 2008 guidance and we felt like we could do that because in 2007, as I said, in the fourth quarter it was the culmination of all the planning that we had done to get to this point and we feel that now we donâ€™t have as many moving parts and we can sit and know where table games go and we know that itâ€™s open. We know Presque Isle Downsâ€™ market as we develop it. We certainly know Mountaineerâ€™s market. We think the potential for increasing our market due to table games is substantial.
We looked at the new demographic that weâ€™ve been able to attract. Our crowds are younger. They have a different excitement level. And the interesting thing is that weâ€™re pretty sure we are penetrating a new market as we look at the overall market between the Meadows, Presque Isle Downs, Mountaineer, and Wheeling, and we see that thereâ€™s actually been overall growth in spite of a down economy that a lot of others would perceive.
Other intangible forms of growth. We still are working on the bridge, which would help ingress and egress. Weâ€™ve had progress on that in that West Virginia passed a bill this year for public-private partnerships which was really the key for our ability to get a bridge down the road. I never quite realized how much effort would go into building a bridge, but we do have that bill that was just passed. It was really passed with this bridge partially in mind as the legislators passed it. So we have that. And thereâ€™s actually different economic growth potential in the Ohio Valley.
Weâ€™ve got one of the power plants actually adding a substantial number of employees as it develops its clean air standards. We think thatâ€™s going to be in the neighbourhood of a thousand employees right across the river. And we also have a new power house that they, at least the planners believe itâ€™s within a year of commencement, which could bring up to 3,000 or 4,000 construction workers to our area over the next three or four years. So we look at that as an extremely positive event and weâ€™re here and weâ€™ll be prepared to take advantage of that. It would be good to have construction workers back in this area.
Anyway, Iâ€™m going to open it up for questions. I have John Bittner here with me and David Hughes. We will each take questions as appropriate and I want to thank you for your forbearance and having a call this late in the season. But our next quarter call will be much more close to what would be a normal time.