Investors hear Rachael Rothman ’91 offer ‘bullish’ Vegas report

The Wall Street Transcript features an interview with analyst Rachael Rothman ’91, who covers the restaurant, gaming, lodging and leisure industries for Susquehanna Financial Group.

In terms of Vegas casino operators, “our view on 2012 is pretty bullish. We’re optimistic,” Rothman says.

Photograph of Las Vegas strip by Moyan Brenn.

One reason is that convention business, about 15 percent of a Vegas hotel’s business, is improving.

“But that isn’t just because current demand has improved,” Rothman explains. The upturn also reflects the nature of convention bookings: About a third of convention business is booked two years in advance, a third one year ahead, and a third during the year.

For 2012, “you’re swapping out a portion of the business booked in 2009,” when hotels “just wanted occupancy, and they were going to take it regardless of the rate” for business that was “booked in 2010, once the rate recovery had already begun. You’re swapping out lower-rated business for higher-rated business just by definition of when the convention business is booked.”

In terms of gaming revenues, Rothman explains, “baccarat in Vegas has been extremely volatile, so gaming revenues are down.”

Bottom line? “Our focus name is MGM: That’s our top pick in the Vegas-based, larger-cap destination casinos,” Rothman concludes.

A recognized expert in the field, Rotham has been selected to The Wall Street Journal‘s Best on the Street and Financial Times‘ World’s Best Analysts.

A Spanish major at Bates, she earned a master’s in hotel and restaurant management from Cornell University, a graduate degree in economics from the University of Virginia.

View The Wall Street Transcript report, Dec. 5, 2011


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