I would have thought CC would be making some money, aren't
all their buildings paid off by now ? So if you don't have
a huge mortgage payment, then it seems like your biggest
expense is behind you.
If Circus Circus were a company that owed only a single casino that would probably be true. But businesses usually borrow against equity. In the case of Circus Circus they used the equity in the property to borrow against it to get money for ARIA casino.
There are several methods of assessing the earnings of a company. The highest is EBITDA or "Earnings Before Income Taxes Deductibles and Amortization". This number is almost impossible to be negative. It would be difficult to stay in business. The EBITDA for CC was only $1.7 million last quarter. The next level is operational income (or loss). The operational loss for CC was $3.6 million last quarter. It is the only MGM-MIRAGE property on the strip that has an operational loss.
The minor properties around Nevada in Jean, Railroad Pass, Circus Circus in Reno, and their 50% share in the Silver Legacy (also in Reno) are collectively running at an operational loss.
The level that you are talking about where you include interest (i.e. mortgage payment) and taxes is assessed at the company as a whole. That is of course a hugely negative number since they borrowed so much to finish City Center. It is not calculated for individual properties.
From the perspective of MGM as a whole, they may not talk about Circus Circus very much. Just because it is losing money it is not the major problem of the company. They may feel that closing the casino won't help much because the cost of knocking it down, and the taxes they would owe on the empty land might be worse than running it at a loss. Selling it is an unlikely option since it is so big that few companies could operate it. They may think the land is valuable at some point.
MGM has really big problems. City Center is bleeding money. ARIA is doing terribly. They had an amazing couple of weeks when they opened, but now it is just awful. All of the properties are down, but Mandalay Bay is barely breaking even. Mandalay Bay is dragging Luxor down with it. Monte Carlo is performing poorly (which is a surprise since it was assumed that ARIA would drag Monte Carlo up). The smaller properties like Excalibur and NY/NY are performing at the highest percentage of income over revenue. MGM Grand is doing reasonably well. Steve Wynn's old properties Mirage and Bellagio have weathered the years very well, and exceptional performers.
Judging by the number Steve Wynn may not build in Las Vegas again. It could take years until Wynn/Encore is profitable in Vegas. The growth rate now in Macau is phenomenal. When they opened it up to foreign investment in 2002 it was a reasonable guess that it would eventually surpass Vegas (which it did in 2006). I don't think anyone would have predicted that it would be this successful. The gaming revenue in first quarter 2010 was greater than Vegas for the whole year 2009.
Singapore is supposed to be off to a great start. Most people are predicting it will easily be the largest grossing single casino in the world by it's first year.