The earnings report for Full House Resorts showed a new hotel was a good bet for Silver Slipper Casino in Hancock County.
Net revenues at Silver Slipper rose 24.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, Daniel Lee, president and CEO of Full House Resorts, reported this week. Net revenues were $13.9 million compared to $11.1 million in the last three months of 2014.
It was the first full quarter with a completed hotel and Lee said, "As a result, Adjusted Property EBITDA continued to grow, up 43 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014."
EBITDA is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and reflects a company's net income.
Certainly the new 129-unit hotel on the beach brought a big boost to business, said John Ferrucci, general manager at Silver Slipper. He also credits the overall improvement in the Coast casino market and the new direction from the corporate office on promotions.
"And we probably got a slight pop from the smoking ban in the New Orleans area," he said.
EBITDA also rose 43 percent at the company's Rising Star Casino in Illinois at the end of 2015 thanks to what was promoted as the region's first Christmas casino.
"We all decorate and get into the spirit of the festive season," Ferrucci said. "But our CEO chose to take it to another level." The promotion had live reindeer, animated Christmas scenes, celebrity holiday shows and special holiday meals and produced the best fourth quarter in several years, according to Lee.
A casino Christmas wouldn't have the same results at Silver Slipper, Ferrucci said.
"We have a good, solid business level during the holiday seasons," he said. "We're already feeding as many people as we can."
But other promotions and improvements are on the way.
"We are planning an expansion here to include a swimming pool in our amenities," he said. The casino also has a food truck the staff is taking to festivals.
"We change the menu every time we go out to match the festival," he said. Some of the specialties have been a chicken fried burger, bologna burger, hoglings braised pork shank barbecue and Italian sausage, peppers and onion sandwiches.
Promotions are everything at the casinos, he said. The recent Major League Eating Event brought almost 1,000 people who wouldn't have otherwise been at the casino.
"We have to do things that make sense for us financially and keep it fresh," he said. People like interactive promotions, he said. "They like to spin the wheel, they like to drop the Plinko puck, they like to control their own destiny."