Right now, the U.S. is nearing the end of the seasonal sweet spot of big-event sports gambling — the Super Bowl and Final Four have passed, and the Masters is upon us. And apparently Tiger Woods’ resurgence has made the Masters a bigger sports book trophy than usual, fueling what’s widely expected to be record gambling on golf’s greatest event.
While investor have a number of reasons to get excited about gaming and casino stocks — really, they do — this ain’t one of ‘em.
While sports gambling also helps bring people into the casinos (hotel revenue), and those same people probably hit up the slots or take in a show, sports gambling itself brings in a tiny amount of revenue. Here’s a quick look at 2010 revenues across all of Nevada’s sports books, based on information from the American Gaming Association, vs. 2010 total revenues across the “big three” publicly traded gaming stocks, Wynn (NASDAQ:WYNN), MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS):
As the AGA points out, while $2.76 billion was wagered across Nevada’s sports books, 94% of that money was returned in the form of winnings.
Past that, also of note was an estimate by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission that $380 billion in illegal wagers are made every year. Put up against those revenues, that’s a stark comparison.
If those estimated illegal wagers were on the books, even with 94% winnings returned, you’d be looking at $22.8 billion the coffers. No “right” or “wrong” on the gambling advocacy front, just a startling number to consider.
The short point: Casino stocks have plenty of potential and are worth looking into — just don’t get suckered into thinking a weekend of golf betting is going to push the needle too far.
Kyle Woodley is the assistant editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleWoodley.