Bankrupt Station Casinos Staging a Comeback

No company in Las Vegas may better reflect the collapse in the economy than Station Casinos. The owner of 18 properties caters to the locals market - residents who visit once or twice a week for a break.

These same residents are living in a city with 15 percent unemployment and where one in 29 homes received a foreclosure notice in the third quarter.

While gaming companies on the Strip catering to international tourists are starting to see improvement, the verdict's still out on the off-Strip properties. However, it's generally considered that what's considered good for the Strip is good for Station Casinos, as the money made by employees trickles into its coffers.

Station Casinos went bankrupt last year, seeking to reorganize itself in Chapter 11. After a long negotiation, a plan has been approved by the court, keeping the company in the control of its founding family, the Fertittas, who also own the UFC.

Creditors are getting a stake in the company, and a reported $4 billion in debt is being erased. It's expected state gaming officials will sign off on the plan in January.

"Station will make it, no question," says analyst Bill Lerner at Union Gaming. In fact, he believes the company will successfully expand beyond the Las Vegas market.

The company is now hiring again. "I think we're seeing a general flattening" in business, says COO Kevin Kelley. "No one can deny it's going to be a tough slog."

Here is Kevin Kelley talking about his outlook for the local Vegas economy.

Here Station Casinos COO Kevin Kelley on the future of his company.

Finally, Bill Lerner of Union Gaming believes Vegas is on the rebound, at least on the high end.