Casino operator Caesars Entertainment (CZR) widened its fourth-quarter loss on higher interest expenses that could not be wholly offset by stronger sales on the Strip.  

The Las Vegas-based casino and resort operator, which went public this month, reported a net loss of $220.6 million, or $1.76 a share, compared with a year-earlier $196.7 million, or $1.71.

The company’s interest expenses climbed 32%.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $2.17 billion, up 2.4% from $2.12 billion a year ago, a result of strong growth in Las Vegas and from international resorts and online gaming.

“The continued growth in Las Vegas was driven by robust international play and higher room and occupancy rates at our properties," CEO Gary Loveman said in a statement.

He noted those gains were partially offset by challenges in “certain regional domestic markets,” including Atlantic City, which saw a slight decline in revenues.  

The company, which operates primarily under the Caesars, Harrah’s and Horseshoe brands, is lobbying for a new law in Washington that would allow it to operate online poker websites in the U.S. It acquired the remaining 49% stake in online social-games operator Playtika during the quarter.

The government allowed states to individually approve of online poker at the end of December.

Loveman said he expects continued strong group bookings and increased visitation to Las Vegas which will help boost its rejuvenated resorts.

The company is progressing on the Linq retail, dining and entertainment experience that will open on the Strip in phase in mid to late 2013.

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