Caesars 4Q loss widens following impairment charge

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Business,Gambling

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Caesars Entertainment Corp. on Tuesday posted a large quarterly loss after taking a hefty impairment charge.

The casino corporation said it took goodwill and asset-impairment charges because of the continuing slump in Atlantic City and expectations that some of its property holdings may not last as long as expected. The company took nearly $2 billion in impairment charges for the quarter.

The Las Vegas-based company, which runs the Caesars, Harrah's, and Horseshoe brands, has struggled since the recession, and has not posted a profit since 2009.

Caesars said it lost $1.76 billion in the last three months of 2013, or $12.83 per share. That's compared to the $480.3 million Caesars lost in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The company's revenue rose 3 percent, to $2.08 billion from $2.01 billion, helped by a strong showing in Las Vegas, where income from operations rose dramatically.

For the full year, revenue remained steady at about $8.6 billion, while losses grew to $2.9 billion from $1.5 billion. Caesars runs more than 50 casinos, most of them in the U.S. and Britain, making it one of the largest casino companies by properties owned.

The company is in the process of selling four properties to a separate unit in an attempt to manage its debt load of nearly $21 billion, an unusual burden in an industry that has been making a steady recovery from the recession.

CEO Gary Loveman touted the company's dominance on the Las Vegas Strip, citing the growth of food and beverage business and growth in the number of international tourists flying into the desert to gamble.

"There's, I think, lots of reasons for buoyancy in the Las Vegas market and we see a very bright future for us here," he said.

Caesars is in the final stages of transforming Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon into the luxury Gansevoort Las Vegas and is opening the Linq, a $550 million project designed to appeal to Gen Xers, which includes the world's largest Ferris wheel. The company has also entered the real money poker market in New Jersey and Nevada.

However, it remains hobbled by its lack of a presence in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, which has been the center of the gambling world for years. Rivals Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands both posted big quarterly gains, helped by their lucrative Macau resorts.

In after-hours trading, shares in Caesars slipped more than 4 percent after the release of the results.

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Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier

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