May 2, 2017 by Cameron Bishop

Penn National Gaming reaffirmed its commitment to expand and diversify its portfolio as it released results for the first-quarter of 2017 showing stronger than expected performance.

The company has exceeded its own guidance for the first quarter EBITDA by $17 million The Pennsylvania-based company has said that it will continue with its plans to finish the Phase 1 expansion of its property Tropicana Las Vegas in which it’s investing $40 million but added that it was putting off further investment until it can see the results of launching celebrity chef Robert Irvine’s first Las Vegas restaurant.

In a statement, Tim Wilmott Penn CEO said

Since acquiring Tropicana Las Vegas in 2015, we have leveraged the property’s high-quality room base and our player database while enhancing key amenities and the overall guest experience. Based on extensive customer research, our capital spend to date has been focused on improving the casino floor experience and expanding and upgrading food and beverage offerings.

The company is opening the Robert Irvine Public House which will be a 260-seater high-end tavernin the summer as well as a quick service food outlet. Wilmott also noted that the property would get a boost in June when a pedestrian bridge between the Tropicana and the MGM Grand is reopened.

Robert Irvine

Apart from Tropicana, Penn National Gaming operates the M Resort in Southern Nevada, and has recently decided to purchase two properties in Mississippi, Bally’s Casino Tunica and Resorts Casino Tunica. The $44 million acquisition is expected to yield synergies with existing operations at Hollywood Casino Tunica casino. The transaction is on track to close by early May according to Wilmott.

The company beat Wall Street expectations by posting revenue of $776.2 million in the first quarter, a 2.6 percent increase over the previous period. Analysts expected revenue to be in the range of $768.5 million.

Overall the group saw mixed results across its other regional properties. Its Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races located in West Virginia didn’t take a major hit which analysts expected from the opening of the mega MGM Grand National Harbor nearby in Maryland.

However the company’s new $390 million development Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego failed to live up to expectations since its October 2016 opening. Performance has improved in March and April according to company officials after increased marketing efforts. Penn National Gaming has said that it expects revenue for the current quarter ending July to be approximately $776.8 million.