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Caesars loses more than $400 million in a quarter, and that is an improvement

Caesars Entertainment Inc. continued to battle its way back from the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of 2021, pushing quarterly losses under half a billion dollars after topping that level in the two previous quarters.

Caesars
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-1.42%

reported first-quarter losses of $423 million, or $2.03 a share, on Tuesday, an improvement from a loss of $2.52 a share a year ago for Eldorado Resorts, which subsequently closed a merger with the former Caesars and renamed itself. Net revenue was $1.7 billion, up from $473 million in sales a year ago for Eldorado.

Analysts on average expected sales of $1.71 billion, according to FactSet. Not enough analysts provided GAAP earnings estimates for a worthwhile consensus, while Caesars did not provide any non-GAAP per-share earnings to match the analysts’ consensus on that metric. The stock ticked up about 0.5% in after-hours trading immediately following the release of the results, after closing with a 1.4% daily decline at $95.53.

“Our first-quarter results improved significantly versus the fourth quarter of 2020 as the pace of vaccinations across the country accelerated and consumers started to resume more normal behavior,” Caesars Chief Executive Tom Reeg said in a statement Tuesday. Caesars lost $555 million on sales of $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter, and reported a loss of more than $900 million in the third quarter of last year, after the merger with Eldorado.

Caesar’s has walked a twisted road in the past couple of decades. After merging with Harrah’s in 2005, the company went through a large leveraged buyout by private-equity firms just before the Great Recession, and struggled with the debt even after returning to the public markets in 2012. After filing for bankruptcy protection in 2015, the company merged with Eldorado last year and then agreed to acquire bookmaker William Hill in a deal that closed last month.

After all those moves, Caesar’s appears to be popular with investors again, despite the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on casinos. The stock was added to the S&P 500 index
SPX,
-0.67%

in March, along with fellow gambling concern Penn National Gaming Inc.
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-0.90%
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Shares have gained 400% in the past year, as the S&P 500 has increased 47.5%.

The company did not provide an outlook for the current quarter, but executives tend to provide color on trends in their conference call following the release of the results. The call is scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday.

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