Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) Q4 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Feb 16, 2016 • 05:00 pm ET
Keith E. Smith
$10 billion in projects now in the pipeline across Las Vegas Valley. This is driving strong growth in construction employment, which increased more than 14% last year, and the local economy is benefiting from record visitation. Last year, Las Vegas hosted more than 42 million visitors, up nearly 3% from the year before. These positive trends are contributing to strong growth in both gaming and non-gaming revenues throughout our Las Vegas business, helping drive our strongest fourth quarter results in eight years.
During the fourth quarter, we saw growth in every geographic segment of our customer base and grew our share of the Locals market as well. We also continue to make the most of our revenue gains with strong flow through across our Locals portfolio. EBITDA increased nearly 11% in the segment during the fourth quarter, as operating margins improved more than 150 basis points.
Within our Las Vegas Locals market, The Orleans remains a great story, producing EBITDA growth of nearly 20% thanks to solid broad-based revenue gains. With the recent completion of our hotel remodel of The Orleans, we were able to fully leverage our 1,900 hotel rooms and drive incremental business to the casino floor, contributing to 7% growth in gaming revenues. The enhanced room product directly contributed to non-gaming revenue growth as well, with an 11% gain in cash ADR at The Orleans. We're also seeing strength elsewhere in our Locals portfolio, as both Sam's Town and Gold Coast delivered strong EBITDA gains. Suncoast achieved growth in business volumes as well during the quarter, but saw EBITDA decline year-over-year due to lower slot hold.
Next, in our Downtown Las Vegas segment, we achieved 23% EBITDA growth on 5% higher revenues. Our Hawaiian business remained steady, and growth in pedestrian traffic and visitation throughout the Downtown area is driving significant gains in our casual and unrated play. Additionally, lower fuel costs at our Hawaiian charter service contributed about $800,000 to this segment -- to segment EBITDA during the quarter.
Moving outside of Nevada, we continue to see steady growth across our regional business as EBITDA rose nearly 5% on a combined basis in our Midwest and South and Peninsula segments. Once again, Blue Chip continues to be one of our company's strongest performers with 6% revenue growth and year-over-year EBITDA increase of more than 20%. This was Blue Chip's sixth straight quarter of revenue and EBITDA growth, and its eighth consecutive quarter of increased market share.
Despite significant competition throughout its region, the Blue Chip team continues to leverage their market leading amenities to deliver exceptional results. Most of our customers have closer gaming options, but they continue to choose Blue Chip because of its compelling entertainment product and outstanding customer service.
In Illinois, Par-A-Dice continues to be challenged by the continued expansion of video gaming throughout the State. There are now 22,000 video gaming machines in operation in Illinois, including nearly 4,000 in Par-A-Dice's immediate market. That's equivalent to three new riverboat casinos in our