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Gambling Stock Roundup: Macau Remains in Focus, Century Casinos Opens Century Downs Racetrack and Casino - Analyst Blog

Last week, Macau gaming revenues fell for the tenth consecutive month and marked the seventh consecutive month of double-digit decline. Though Iao Kun Group Holding Company Limited IKGH posted better-than-expected fourth quarter results, its Rolling Chip Turnover fell for the sixth consecutive month in March due to weakness in Macau.

Meanwhile, Century Casinos Inc. CNTY and MGM Resorts International MGM carried on with their efforts to survive in the challenging environment. While Century Casinos opened Century Downs Racetrack and Casino in Calgary, Canada, MGM Resorts is pinning its hopes on possibly the most awaited boxing bout of this generation to be held at MGM Grand in May between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. (Read last development: Gambling Stock Round Up for Mar 31, 2015 ).

Recap of the Week's Important Stories:

1. Gross gaming revenues for the month of March fell 39.4% on a yearly basis to approximately $2.69 billion, or 21.49 billion patacas, per the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The decline was more or less in line with analysts' expectations. The rate of decline moderated from 49% decline recorded in February.

However, this marked the tenth month of consecutive decline and the seventh consecutive month of double-digit decline. The consistent downside reflects the nationwide crackdown on corruption in China. This has compelled Macau officials to impose restrictions on high rollers to stop billions of dollars from being siphoned off illegally from mainland China to Macau.

Consequently, it has lowered footfall at the local casinos. Meanwhile, a cooling Chinese economy, tighter visa policies, political unrest and a smoking ban on mass market gaming floors have compounded woes. (Read: Macau Revenues Fall the Tenth Time in March; Down 39% )

2. Iao Kun Group Holding posted earnings of 13 cents per share in the fourth quarter that compared favorably with the year-ago loss of 6 cents. It also significantly beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 4 cents per share. The upside reflects an improvement in revenues.

Net revenue of $52.3 million went up 4% year over year and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $49.0 million by 6.7%. The increase in win rate was partially offset by slower revenue growth of VIP baccarat and an economic downturn and tightening of credit in mainland China, where the majority of Iao Kun Group's VIP gaming patrons reside.

In one other development, Iao Kun Group provided Rolling Chip Turnover update for the month of Mar 2015. Rolling Chip Turnover is used by casinos to measure the volume of VIP business transacted and represents the aggregate amount of non-negotiable chips players purchase. Iao Kun Group's Rolling Chip Turnover of $0.76 billion fell 57% year over year. It had declined 30%, 48% in Nov and Dec 2014, respectively and 37% and 64% in Jan and Feb 2015, respectively. Win rate for the month of Mar 2015 was 4.51%. Rolling Chip Turnover for the fourth quarter declined 34% year over year to $2.9 billion.

The downside reflects slower revenue growth of VIP baccarat in addition to economic downturn and tightening of credit in mainland China, where the majority of the company's VIP gaming patrons reside. Iao Kun Group is engaged in the promotion of five major luxury VIP gaming facilities in Macau, which exposes it to the sluggish economic conditions in the region.

In 2015, the company expects Rolling Chip Turnover for its five existing VIP rooms in Macau in the range of $8.5 billion and $10.0 billion.

3. Century Casinos announced the opening of Century Downs Racetrack and Casino in Calgary. The casino features 550 gaming machines and electronic gaming tables, an off-track betting room, a restaurant and a lounge area as well as meeting and event space. The casino is ideally positioned as it has the potential to capture both the north and northwest Calgary markets that do not have a casino currently. With the casino open, the company is now preparing for the first weekend of harness racing, which is scheduled to start Apr 25.

Only recently, Century Casinos acquired 75% stake in United Horsemen of Alberta Inc. - the developer of this casino.

4. Tickets for the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to be held on May 2 at MGM Resorts' MGM Grand are reportedly being sold for record prices. Per price tracker SeatGeek, the median price is currently $8,805 for tickets sold on the resale market - the highest median price for any sporting event in U.S. history. The cheapest floor seat is currently listed for $28,080.

Per SeatGeek, the face-value of the tickets start at $1,500 for a seat in the rafters and reach approximately $10,000 for ring side. In order to get the best seats, one has to be either a celebrity or a high roller customer of the MGM Grand. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao had sealed the deal for a match in Feb 2015. (Read: Will Mayweather-Pacquiao Turn MGM Resorts' Luck? )

Share Price Performance

Share prices of most of the companies increased over the last five trading sessions with the highest increase of 12.5% recorded by Caesars Entertainment Corp. CZR . However, this sudden increase cannot be regarded as a turnaround. With the situation worsening in Macau - a key operating region for companies like Wynn Resorts Ltd. WYNN , MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. MPEL -- we believe that the improvement is temporary.

We therefore prefer to wait for more substantial and consistent improvement in share prices. Nevertheless, the share price of Caesars Acquisition Company fell 0.3% over the same time frame.

Over the last six months, share price of most of the gambling stocks lost value with Caesars Acquisition Company experiencing a decline of 30.3%, followed by Wynn Resorts that plunged 28.9%. However, Boyd Gaming Corp. gained over the same time frame.

Company Last Week Last 6 months
WYNN 2.5% -28.9%
LVS 2.6% -9.6%
MGM 0.2% -3.2%
MPEL 6.5% -12.1%
CACQ -0.3% -30.3%
BYD 1.5% 39.7%
CZR 12.5% -19.7%

What's Next in the Gambling World?

We note that gambling stocks have oscillated between gains and losses in recent sessions and investors can expect this volatile movement to continue in the coming days as well.

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LAS VEGAS SANDS (LVS): Free Stock Analysis Report

WYNN RESRTS LTD (WYNN): Free Stock Analysis Report

MGM RESORTS INT (MGM): Free Stock Analysis Report

MELCO CROWN ENT (MPEL): Free Stock Analysis Report

CAESARS ENTERTN (CZR): Free Stock Analysis Report

CENTURY CASINOS (CNTY): Free Stock Analysis Report

IAO KUN GROUP (IKGH): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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