Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Top 5 Casino Stocks To Invest In 2012

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Top 5 Casino Stocks To Invest In 2012:Ameristar Casinos Inc. (ASCA)

 Ameristar Casinos, Inc. operates as a gaming and entertainment company in the United States. The company develops, owns, and operates casino, and related hotel, food and beverage, entertainment, and other facilities. It primarily offers slot plays, as well as a range of table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette, and poker. The company?s signature dining concepts include steakhouses, buffets, and casual dining restaurants with sports bars. As of May 6, 2011, it operated a portfolio of eight casinos in seven markets, including Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles serving greater St. Louis, Missouri; Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City serving the Kansas City metropolitan area; Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs serving Omaha, Nebraska and southwestern Iowa; Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk serving the Denver metropolitan area; Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg serving Jackson, Mississippi and Monroe, Louisiana; Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago serving the Chicagoland area; and Cactus Petes Resort Casino and The Horseshu Hotel and Casino in Jackpot, Nevada. The company was founded in 1954 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Advisors' Opinion:
  • By Conrad At 2011-10-27
    Ameristar Casinos(ASCA) was singing "St. Louis Blues" as it swung to a loss in its second quarter.
    The casino operator faces significant pressure in St. Louis from Pinnacle Entertainment's(PNK) new River City property, which opened in March.
    During the quarter, Ameristar lost $24.9 million, or 43 cents a share, compared with a profit of $14.3 million, or 25 cents, in the year-ago period.
    Excluding a negative impact related to Ameristar's casino in East Chicago, Ind., where a bridge that is closed is impacting revenue, it earned 13 cents per share, still less than the 20 cents analysts' estimated.
    Revenue dropped 5% to $293 million from $308.9 million.
    "While Ameristar is cheap on a relative valuation basis, we believe competition and challenges in East Chicago, coupled with a lack of visible positive catalysts, will keep the stock range-bound in the near to mid-term," J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note.
  • By Zacks At 2011-10-24
    Ameristar Casinos, Inc. (ASCA) advanced 24% during November. The company reached a 52-week high on Nov 20 due to takeover speculation following the unexpected death of Chairman, CEO and majority shareholder Craig H. Neilsen on Nov 19. Mr. Neilsen’s stock in Ameristar will be transferred to his private foundation, The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, which is primarily focused on spinal cord injury research and treatment. The company’s Board elected President John M. Boushy as the new CEO.
    Ameristar Casinos is a leading Las Vegas-based gaming and entertainment company known for its premier properties characterized by innovative architecture, state-of-the-art casino floors and superior dining, lodging and entertainment offerings.

Top 5 Casino Stocks To Invest In 2012:Wynn Resorts Limited (WYNN)

 Wynn Resorts, Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development, ownership, and operation of destination casino resorts. The company owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas casino resort in Las Vegas, which includes approximately 22 food and beverage outlets comprising 5 dining restaurants; 2 nightclubs; 1 spa and salon; 1 Ferrari and Maserati automobile dealership; wedding chapels; an 18-hole golf course; meeting space; and foot retail promenade featuring boutiques. Wynn Las Vegas casino resort also features approximately 147 table games, 1 baccarat salon, private VIP gaming rooms, 1 poker room, 1,842 slot machines, and 1 race and sports book. It also owns and operates an Encore at Wynn Las Vegas resort, a destination casino resort located adjacent to Wynn Las Vegas that features a 2,034 all-suite hotel, as well as a casino with 95 table games, 1 sky casino, 1 baccarat salon, private VIP gaming rooms, and 778 slot machines. In addition, the company operates Wynn Macau casino resort located in the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People?s Republic of China. Wynn Macau casino resort features approximately 595 hotel rooms and suites, 410 table games, 935 slot machines, 1 poker room, 1 sky casino, 6 restaurants, 1 spa and salon, lounges, meeting facilities, and retail space featuring boutiques. Further, it operates Encore at Wynn Macau resort located adjacent to Wynn Macau. Encore at Wynn Macau resort features approximately 410 luxury suites and 4 villas, as well as casino gaming space, including a sky casino consisting of 60 table games and 80 slot machines, 2 restaurants, 1 luxury spa, and retail space. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Advisors' Opinion:
  • By Jeanine Poggi At 2011-10-27
    Wynn Resorts'(WYNN) run up of more than 55% this year has caused Wall Street to question its valuation.
    Currently, eight analysts have a buy rating on Wynn, 16 say hold, two rate it underperform rating and one says to sell the stock.
    "With little on the growth horizon in the intermediate term, new competition from Cotai coming in 2011 and 2012 ... and the unclear timing of a true recovery in Las Vegas, we see few catalysts not yet priced-in to pull valuation higher than current levels," Bain wrote in a note following its third-quarter earnings report.
    During the quarter, Wynn lost $33.5 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with a profit of $34.2 million, or 28 cents, in the year-ago period. The loss was attributed to charges related to servicing its debt. On an adjusted basis, Wynn actually earned 39 cents, matching Wall Street's outlook.
    Total Revenue grew to $1 billion from $773.1 million, better than the $990.8 million analysts predicted.
    In Macau, Wynn reported a 50% surge in revenue to $671.4 million, while EBITDA was $198 million, up 54.5% from $128.2 million in the third quarter of 2009. Earlier in the year the company opened its $600 million Wynn Encore Macau, which added 414 rooms to the market.
    Looking ahead, Wynn expects to break ground on its Cotai development in early 2011. The $2 billion to $3 billion project is slated to open in 2015, and management said it would provide additional details following its fourth-quarter earnings report.
    In Las Vegas, CEO Steve Wynn says the Strip is on the road to recovery. "I believe we have seen the bottom in Las Vegas," he said during the company's third-quarter conference call. "I don't know how fast it is going to get better but it isn't going to get any worse."
    Las Vegas revenue inched up 3.1% to $334.5 million during the three-month period, and EBITDA grew 9.3% to $76.5 million.
    Wynn also issued a cash dividend of $8 a share payable on Dec. 7 to shareholders of record on Nov. 23.
  • By Carlson At 2011-10-27
    Wynn Resorts(WYNN) saw its second-quarter profit more than double, but most of that strength came from casino wins, and investors were unimpressed.
    During the quarter, the casino operator earned $52. 4 million, or 52 cents a share, on revenue of $1.03 billion, higher than forecasts of 42 cents on revenue of $992.3 million. This compares with a profit of $25.5 million, or 21 cents, on revenue of $723.3 million, in the year-ago period.
    Wynn had already pre-announced disappointing results for its Las Vegas properties, citing higher costs, including employee health care and benefits, and marketing expenses. Its operating loss for its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore widened to $17.2 million from $8.3 million last year. Revenue rose 1.7% to $318 million.
    Occupancy at the Wynn Las Vegas jumped to 92.6% from 86.6% a year earlier, but revenue per available room fell 3.2%.
    Still, management indicated that there is a slight improvement on the Strip, with an increase in forward group bookings and some bright spots for the ability to yield rates. But management tempered enthusiasm by saying there are some struggles and uncertainty in the marketplace.
    "We hope for continued improvement in Las Vegas or -- let me put it different, we hope that we'll get smarter in Las Vegas in dealing with the peculiarities of this market --and this very, very mercurial, national economic market we're living with," said Steve Wynn, chief executive, in a conference call. "The national economy and the political environment in the country as we head up to the elections [is] very, very touchy. And it is impacting all businesses."
    The biggest boost, of course, came from Macau, where revenue surged 74% to $714.4 million from $410.4 million last year.
    The company opened its Encore Macau in the spring, boosting its market share to about 16% from about 13%, Sterne Agee analyst David Bain wrote in a note.
    Wynn is in the process of working on a new development on the Cotai strip, which should spike investors' interest as more details are revealed in the coming quarters.
    Still, investors are concerned that as comparisons get harder in Macau, and second-quarter results are adjusted for hold (how much the casino won), Wynn may not be able to outperform. But Bain reassures, "this has been discussed as nauseam by investors, sell-side analysts, the press -- and even dinner-table relatives -- for some time. We believe the Street is underestimating the summer months in Macua, which may help to produce a new leg up for Macau stories, with Wynn being the most profitable on a per position basis."

Top 5 Casino Stocks To Invest In 2012:MGM Resorts International (MGM)

 MGM Resorts International, through its subsidiaries, primarily owns and operates casino resorts in the United States. The company?s resorts offer gaming, hotel, dining, entertainment, retail, and other resort amenities. It also owns and operates golf courses and a golf club. As of December 31, 2010, the company owned and operated 15 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi, and Michigan; and has 50% investments in 4 other casino resorts in Nevada, Illinois, and Macau. In addition, MGM Resorts International has an agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns and operates a casino resort in Connecticut, to carry the ?MGM Grand? brand name. The company was formerly known as MGM MIRAGE and changed its name to MGM Resorts International in June 2010. MGM Resorts International was founded in 1986 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Advisors' Opinion:
  • By Hawkinvest At 2012-2-23
    MGM Resorts International (MGM) is one of the world's largest hotel and casino companies, based in Las Vegas. Since December, MGM shares have been trading in a range of about $9, to almost $15 per share. The stock is now at the upper limit of the recent trading range which means that the risk of holding or buying this stock right now, could be elevated. MGM shares have rallied with the markets but appear extended and vulnerable to a sell-off. The company has a heavy debt load and it has been reporting losses. The balance sheet has about $13.45 billion in debt and only about $1.97 billion in cash. MGM could be impacted by higher oil prices because many consumers could cut back on spending if they go to Las Vegas, and some might decide not to go at all, and instead opt for a "staycation." With MGM facing challenges and the shares near recent highs, it could make sense to sell now and buy on dips later this year.

    Here are some key points for MGM:

    Current share price: $14.18
    The 52 week range is $7.40 to $16.05
    Earnings estimates for 2011: a loss of 53 cents per share
    Earnings estimates for 2012: a loss of 39 cents per share
    Annual dividend: none
  • By Jeanine Poggi At 2011-10-27
    It was another rocky year for MGM Resorts, but sentiment could turn slightly more bullish heading into 2011.
    For the year, shares of the Las Vegas-based casino operator grew 33%, as trends improved on the Strip in the second-half of the year.
    In October, Las Vegas reported a 16.1% jump in gaming revenue to $494.8 million. MGM generates about 80% of its EBITDA on the Strip.
    While gaming revenue in Nevada is still expected to decline 2.9% in 2010, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the market could return to pre-recession levels by 2010. The first predicts Nevada could book mid-single-digit gains between 2012 and 2014 and grow at an annual compound rate of 4.1%.
    Macau will also be in focus as MGM readies itself for a potential initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The company filed an application for the IPO on Sept. 1, and analysts expect, if approved, the deal could be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2011.
    The potential legalization of online gaming could be a tailwind for MGM in 2011. If a bill is passed, MGM will be able to tap into its database of about 60 million customers and capitalize on its well recognized and trusted brand name, Bain says.
    "We do not think investors are giving MGM any credit for the potential opportunity, and believe it provides only upside at this point," Greff wrote in a note.
    MGM is also in the process of divesting its 50% stake in the Borgata in Atlantic City, which it co-owns with Boyd Gaming. The company said it received a $250 million offer for the casino, but declined to reveal the identity of the bidder. MGM agreed to sell its half after Atlantic City regulators expressed concern over MGM's partnership in Macau with Pansy Ho, whose family was allegedly linked to organized crime in China.
    Despite these catalysts, there are still long-term issues facing MGM, most notably increasing competition in Las Vegas.
    The Cosmopolitan, which opened this week, is one of CityCenter's biggest threats in the New Year. The resort-casino, which is owned by Deutsche Bank, includes about 3,000 rooms, a 10,000-square-foot casino, 1,500 slot machines and 83 table games.
    The old school of thought is that the opening of Cosmopolitan could help bolster the Las Vegas Strip, generating traffic at other destination properties. But while the theory that when a new casino property opens it grows the market may have been true in the heyday of Vegas, it is no longer valid in today's economy, says Alex Calderone. "Cosmopolitan opening is not good for anyone. There's a good chance it will cannibalize [MGM's] Bellagio and CityCenter," he predicts.
    There are also rumblings that CityCenter may have to take drastic measures in 2011 and that MGM could be considering some sort of restructuring for the property, according to several sources.
    But upcoming potential momentum could push these concerns out of investors' minds, at least in the early months of the New Year.
  • By Goodwin At 2011-10-27
    MGM Resorts International(MGM) has the most exposure to the Las Vegas market, making it a bet only for those with thick skin.
    For the second quarter, the casino operator lost $883.5 million, or $2 a share, compared with a loss of $212.5 million, or 60 cents, in the year-ago period.
    A majority of the loss was attributed to a $1.12 billion writedown on its investment in CityCenter in Las Vegas. This is the third time MGM has had to write down CityCenter, as the casino has seen little improvement in operating profit since it opened in December. The $8.5 billion development took a loss of $128 million.
    Excluding this writedown, MGM actually lost 35 cents a share, still significantly more than analysts estimates of a 24-cent loss. MGM's revenue rose 3% to $1.54 billion from $1.49 billion, ahead of analysts' estimates of $1.46 billion.
    Revenue-per-available room on the Las Vegas Strip decreased 2%, although Bellagio and MGM Grand showed improvement, the company said. Occupancy levels slipped to 93% from 94% while the average daily rate fell a dollar to $110. "The Las Vegas operating environment remains difficult, but as we expected, we are seeing a gradual recovery," Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren said in a statement.
    Some of MGM's losses in Las Vegas were offset by its joint venture in Macau with Pansy Ho. MGM Macau earned $40 million, compared with a loss of $8 million last year
    Outside of Vegas, MGM said last week that it agreed to sell land from its Borgata hotel in Atlantic City for $73 million to Vornado Realty Trust and Geyser Holdings. The Borgata land, which is co-owned with Boyd Gaming(BYD), is about 11.3 acres, which would translate into about $6.5 million per acre.
    The transaction still needs to be approved by New Jersey regulators, and is expected to close by the fourth quarter. Once this transaction is complete, MGM will still own about 85 acres of developable land in Atlantic City.
    Earlier in the year, MGM said it planned to divest its 50% stake in the Atlantic City casino, which is currently in trust. The casino operator is still in talks with potential buyers of Borgata casino, and hotel and investors will be waiting for an update on its progress when second-quarter earnings are released.
    "We view this [deal] as a very modest positive in that there are still buyers of Atlantic City assets out there, at least at the right price," J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note. "We don't necessarily interpret [the] news as any indication that MGM is closer to selling its 50% stake in Borgata."

Top 5 Casino Stocks To Invest In 2012:Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD)

 Boyd Gaming Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a multi-jurisdictional gaming company in the United States. As of December 31, 2009, the company owned and operated 15 casino entertainment facilities located in Nevada, Mississippi, Illinois, Louisiana, Indiana, and New Jersey. It owned approximately 812,500 square feet of casino space, containing approximately 21,400 slot machines, 425 table games, and 7,550 hotel rooms. The company also owns and operates a pari-mutuel jai-alai facility located in Dania Beach, Florida, as well as engages in travel agency business. In addition, Boyd Gaming Corporation holds a 50% interest in a limited liability company that operates Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The company was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Advisors' Opinion:
  • By Jeanine Poggi At 2011-10-27
    The Las Vegas locals and Atlantic City markets have the longest road to recovery, making Boyd Gaming (BYD) one of the most challenged stocks in the sector long-term.
    It's not a surprise then that Boyd saw some of the most muted gains in 2010, with shares rising just 13.8% since the beginning of the year.
    In Atlantic City, where Boyd owns a 50% stake in the Borgata, gambling revenue plunged 13% in November. The New Jersey Boardwalk has been under pressure even before the recession began, as nearby regions expand their gaming presence.
    Both West Virginia and Pennsylvania added table games to casinos in the second half of the year and new properties opened in Philadelphia and Maryland. In 2011, Atlantic City will also have to contend with additional growth in Pennsylvania and the pending opening of the Aqueduct in New York City.
    Given this, Boyd decided not to exercise its right to match a $250 million offer MGM Resorts(MGM) received for its 50% stake in the Borgata. MGM decided to divest its joint venture with Boyd after the Atlantic City Gaming Commission criticized its relationship with Pansy Ho in Macau, whose family has allegedly been tied to organized crime in China.
    In the Las Vegas locals market, where Boyd generates about 44% of its EBITDA, trends are improving, but not as quickly as analysts would have hoped. In October, gaming revenue in the market grew 6.2% to $169.4 million.
    In its third quarter, Boyd disappointed Wall Street, with adjusted earnings coming in at 2 cents a share, shy of consensus estimates of 5 cents. Revenue dropped 4% to $595.4 million.
    Boyd also announced plans to sell $500 million of eight-year notes. Proceeds will be used to buy back senior subordinated notes due 2012 and to repay bank loans.
  • By Hesler At 2011-10-27
    Boyd Gaming(BYD) posted a bigger-than-expected drop in its second-quarter earnings, citing weak performance in Las Vegas, the Midwest and the South.
    During the quarter, the casino operator earned $3.4 million, or 4 cents a share, a 73% plunge from $12.8 million, or 15 cents, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings came in at 5 cents a share, significantly lower than the 10 cents Wall Street predicted for Boyd.
    Boyd's revenue fell 6% to $578.4 million, also short of the consensus of $588 million.
    "The lingering effects of the recession have left consumers unusually sensitive to shifts in the economy, and they now react more quickly to economic data and other developments, such as fluctuations in the stock market," said CEO Keith Smith, in a statement. "Although conditions remain uncertain, we believe long-term stabilizing trends are still in place, and that year-over-year growth is achievable by the end of 2010."
    In the Las Vegas locals market, the rate of decline in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to 16.2% from 10.8%, J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note. Boyd previously reported a 9.9% decline for its Borgata property in Atlantic City. Revenue came in at $186.9 million, a 2.4% decrease from the year-ago period.
    "We think second-quarter results are less important than the coming operating results in the second-half of 2010, when the Atlantic City market faces increased regional competitive pressures from tables in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the first Philadelphia casino opens this summer," J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note.
    Greff reaffirmed his underweight rating on Boyd, given increasing competition in Atlantic City, a weak recovery in the Las Vegas locals market and stagnant regional gaming trends.
    While there is no doubt the Atlantic City gaming market remains one of the most depressed, Borgata continues to dominate the market and gain share. Atlantic City saw gaming revenues plunge 11.1% in June to $286.8 million. Boyd co-owns Borgata with MGM Resorts, which is currently in the process of divesting its 50% stake.

Top 5 Casino Stocks To Invest In 2012:Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK)

 Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. owns, develops, and operates casinos, and related hospitality and entertainment facilities in the United States. It operates casinos, such as L'Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana; River City Casino and Lumiere Place in St. Louis, Missouri; Boomtown New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana; Belterra Casino Resort in Vevay, Indiana; Boomtown Bossier City in Bossier City, Louisiana; and Boomtown Reno in Reno, Nevada. The company also operates River Downs racetrack in southeast Cincinnati, Ohio. As of May 26, 2011, it operated seven casinos and one racetrack. The company was formerly known as Hollywood Park, Inc. and changed its name to Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. in February 2000. Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. was founded in 1935 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Advisors' Opinion:
  • By Jeanine Poggi At 2011-10-27
    Pinnacle Entertainment(PNK) was the great transition story of 2010, with shares spiking about 45% this year.
    The regional casino operator's most impressive story has been in its gross margins, as management, under the leadership of new CEO Anthony Sanfilippo, is in the process of increasing the company's operating efficiencies and prudently allocating capital. Analysts believe Pinnacle is in the early stages of this process, and will continue to drive revenue growth.
    In its third quarter, Pinnacle reported a surprise profit of 10 cents a share on an adjusted basis, better than consensus estimates of a loss of 7 cents. Revenue grew 15% to $287.8 million, while property-level margins reached 23.4%, also ahead of forecasts.
    Last month, Pinnacle purchased Cincinnati's River Downs Racetrack for $45 million. The deal includes 155 acres, 35 of which are still undeveloped. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2011.
    This deal could generate significant returns in the event that Ohio decides to legalize video lottery terminals at racetracks, Santarelli said.
    Pinnacle is also in the process of looking for a buyer of its oceanfront land in Atlantic City, where it originally intended to build a $1.5 billion casino, before squelching plans. The casino operator bought the land in 2006 for $270 million from groups affiliated with Carl Icahn and later added another piece of land for $70 million.
    While the land's currently value is $38 million, Pinnacle insists it will not sell it on the cheap, holding out for the best deal.
    Pinnacle currently has $228 million in cash and $375 million of availability under its revolver.
  • By Sherry Jim At 2011-10-27
    Pinnacle Entertainment(PNK) swung to a loss in its second quarter, as costs rose.
    During the quarter, the regional casino operator lost $49.3 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with a profit of $4.7 million, or 8 cents, in the year-ago period for Pinnacle.
    Excluding items, Pinnacle actually lost 14 cents a share, 10 cents worse than analysts' estimates of a 4-cent loss.
    Pinnacle's revenue rose 8.5% to $273.6 million from $252.3 million, but also fell short of Wall Street's forecast of $284.4 million.
    Even though revenue was weaker, margins rebounded at all but one of Pinnacle's properties. "Margins are the story for Pinnacle ahead of any longer-term potential true rebound in the economy, and we continue to believe there are multiple opportunities for near-term operational improvements across the Pinnacle portfolio," Bain wrote in a note.
    At a time when most casino operators are striving to reduce costs to offset the decline in consumer spending, Pinnacle saw expenses rise 21% to $289.3 million. But Bain said Pinnacle is still in the early stages of cost-refining. "Given what we view as several areas of potential improvements in this regard, we believe Pinnacle is less dependent on an economic recovery than some of its regional peers," he wrote.
    J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff also reaffirms his overweight rating on the stock, viewing Pinnacle as a transition story. "We continue to believe that new CEO Anthony Sanfilippo and team will drive increased operating efficiencies and allocate capital prudently," he wrote in a note.
    Greff praises Sanfilippo for shelving the Sugarcane Bay project and instead focusing on Baton Rouge.
    Pinnacle's liquidity remains strong, with $200 million in cash and $375 million of availability under its revolver

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