02/04/2010 1:00AM

Penn National reports 2009 loss


Penn National Gaming Inc., one of the largest casino and racetrack operators in the U.S., had a net loss of $264.9 million in 2009, or $3.39 per share, according to financial documents released by the company on Thursday.

Penn took a $520.5 million charge in the fourth quarter to reflect lower values for its properties, contributing to the loss. Last year, when company posted a net loss of $153.3 million, Penn took a $481.3 million impairment charge, under new accounting rules that require companies to estimate the book values of their assets every year. Previous accounting rules were not as stringent.

Net revenue for the year was $2.37 billion, down slightly from net revenue of $2.42 billion in 2008, according to the financial statements. Peter Carlino, the chief executive of the company, said in a statement accompanying the financial documents that casino customers were gambling less in the recession, contributing to the decline.

Among its 18 properties, Penn National owns Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania, and Black Gold Casino at Zia Park in New Mexico. Late last year, voters in Ohio approved a measure that will allow Penn National to open casinos in Columbus and Toledo, and state legislatures in West Virginia and Pennsylvania passed measures allowing casinos to run table games.