Caesars Entertainment bets big on online sports wagering

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Caesars Entertainment is making a major bet on online gambling and its new sports wagering app. The company announced a $1 billion investment in digital technologies during a second-quarter earnings call Tuesday afternoon.

The Reno-based company reported a quarterly income of $71 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. The casino and resort operator posted revenue of $2.5 billion in the period, topping Wall Street expectations and representing record year-over-year growth.

Caesars announced a company-wide push to promote its new mobile sports betting app, which includes a nationwide advertising and social media campaign. The app launched Monday and will compete with other established gambling brands, such as Bet MGM. Tom Reeg, Caesars CEO, said commercials will begin airing this week during national television broadcasts.

Reeg said Caesars is activating its entire workforce to promote the app and encourage guests to enroll. The launch comes on the heels of Caesars selling its London-based William Hill sportsbook brand.

Caesars reported 89% occupancy across its properties from May to July. Reeg said he expects higher demand in the third quarter, with a return of more group reservations and conferences. Anthony Carano, Caesars president, said the new Caesars Forum conference center has 176 events booked for the coming months.

Carano said construction is underway on new Caesars’ properties in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and New Orleans. In Las Vegas, work is underway on a multimillion-dollar renovation of Caesars Palace’s original main entrance and porte-cochere, along with redesigned gaming areas and a new lobby bar. Most of the project is expected to be completed by New Year’s Eve.

Company executives are closely watching the changing health situation, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus surges across the country and specifically in Nevada. Reeg said Nevada’s new mask mandate is significantly less intrusive for businesses than previous mitigation rules, which included capacity limits and social distancing requirements.

A nationwide worker shortage is being felt across the hospitality industry. Caesars is offering bonuses and other incentives for new employees, as the company seeks to fill open positions.

Reeg reiterated Caesars’ plans to sell one resort property on the Las Vegas Strip. He declined to say which hotel the company will shed but said a deal will likely happen in 2022.

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