Casino operator MGM Resorts 2nd-quarter performance tops Wall Street's estimates

MGM Resorts' second-quarter profit declined compared with the same period a year earlier when the casino booked a much larger income tax benefit.

It beat Wall Street expectations easily and shares took off just before the opening bell Tuesday.

The casino operator earned $97.5 million, or 17 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $110 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts predicted earnings of 11 cents per share, according to a Factset survey.

The current quarter's income tax benefit was $3.8 million. A year earlier it totaled $51.9 million.

Revenue, minus promotional allowances, fell to $2.39 billion from $2.58 billion as people spent less money on gambling and entertainment. But this managed to top the $2.37 billion Wall Street forecast.

The decline in entertainment revenue was in part because there were fewer in-house shows compared with a year earlier, according to MGM Resorts International.

Revenue per available room on the Las Vegas Strip climbed to $144 from $135 in the prior-year period. Occupancy was flat at 96 percent.

Shares rose almost 3 percent in premarket trading.