[[Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Dec. 16, 2019, to correct the opening date for the Resorts World Las Vegas.]]
Representing one of the oldest vices in human civilization, casinos have always tempted people with their get-rich-quick allure. Naturally, it doesn’t take much to interest speculative investors toward casino stocks to buy. However, the impact from the still ongoing U.S.-China trade war has taken the wind out of this sector’s international market.
Still, multiple reasons exist why 2020 could see a sentiment resurgence in casino stocks. First, gambling experts believe that Macau may enjoy a rebound next year. Although Las Vegas receives the notoriety of the gambling image — and probably will forever — Macau is home to the industry’s richest hub. Analysts predict that we’ll see a return of mass market gambling, which is less directly affected from trade war issues than VIP gamblers.
Second, our own economy and labor market is, at least on print, robust. Primarily, consider the November 2019 jobs report, which produced non-farm payrolls of 266,000, far exceeding the 187,000 that economists expected. Combined with near record-low unemployment, theoretically, Americans have both the money and the time (via employee-earned vacation hours) to gamble.
To add to that point, President Donald Trump’s public opinion polls have routinely soured. In order to win reelection, he must implement policies that keep the economy going. Logically, this is a net positive for casino stocks to buy.
Finally, the casino industry is building out new projects, particularly in Sin City. For example, the much hyped and highly anticipated Resorts World Las Vegas is still scheduled to open in summer of 2021, featuring new upgrades from the original plan. Again, this points the needle in a positive direction for the industry.
So, if you’re ready to roll the dice, here are (lucky) seven casino stocks to buy
Casino Stocks to Buy: Las Vegas Sands (LVS)
When it comes to premium casino stocks to buy, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) often tops several lists. With luxurious properties in the major gambling meccas of the world under its belt, LVS stock is an easy buy for those who want serious exposure to this market.
To be fair, LVS stock hasn’t exactly earned its lofty reputation from its market performance in recent years. For instance, if you compare the trailing five-year period, Las Vegas Sands shares are basically flat. However, I think this is also appealing for those who have a contrarian mindset.
Recall above that analysts expect the Macau gambling sector to rebound. If so, this will have a material impact on LVS stock: The underlying company owns several properties there. And while you’re waiting for this narrative to play out, LVS offers a generous 4.7% dividend yield.
MGM Growth Properties (MGP)
Levered to one of the most powerful names in entertainment, MGM Growth Properties (NYSE:MGP) offers unique gambling exposure to investors. First, MGP stock provides investors with equity against a broad sector footprint. Although obviously geared toward Las Vegas, MGM Growth Properties also has assets in Atlantic City, as well as in states such as Michigan and Mississippi.
Second, MGP stock separates itself from other major casino stocks to buy because it’s a real estate investment trust. As a REIT, MGM Growth Properties must pay out most of its taxable income as a dividend to shareholders. Currently, it pays out a very handsome yield of 6.3%.
Finally, MGP stock has steadily moved higher this year. If we see a resurgence among casino stocks as analysts forecast, expect shares to have a little more pep.
Golden Entertainment (GDEN)
Standing out in Las Vegas is an impossible task. With an endless supply of garish displays, you’d have to be over the top to be conspicuous there. Naturally, you can multiply that sentiment five-fold for casino stocks to buy. However, Golden Entertainment (NASDAQ:GDEN) has one asset that tops the rest, literally: The Strat Hotel.
Housing this remarkable hotel is the building known as the Stratosphere Tower. Not only does it dominate the Las Vegas skyline — sorry Mr. President — the Stratosphere is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the U.S. This adds another reason to visit Las Vegas besides gambling — and something else. As a family friendly asset, the Stratosphere offers lucrative opportunities for GDEN stock.
With renovations of the building nearing completion, GDEN stock should indeed see a revenue boost. However, do note the one bummer impacting shares: As of this writing, they don’t offer passive income.
Century Casinos (CNTY)
As you probably know, casino stocks represent an extremely competitive business. Realistically, though, this segment offers much room for industry players, especially if they’re outside the typical Vegas fare. Should sentiment resume in this market next year, Century Casinos (NASDAQ:CNTY) and CNTY stock facilitate an interesting take.
Miles away from the gaudy lights of Sin City, you’ll find Century assets in states such as Colorado. Furthermore, CNTY stock offers international exposure, such as in the Canadian gambling market as well as in Europe.
One of the reasons that CNTY stock piqued my curiosity is its Casinos Poland asset. I’m not Polish, and I don’t pretend to be Polish on TV. However, Poland is one of the underappreciated economic gems in Europe. According to some expert views, the central European nation is enjoying an economic golden age.
If you like smart contrarian plays, keep CNTY stock on your shopping list.
Penn National Gaming (PENN)
If casino stocks are supposed to enjoy a resounding year of profitability in 2020, Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) got the memo early. On a year-to-date basis, PENN stock is up 31%. While that doesn’t sound like much compared to other high-flying investments, consider this: Basically, all these gains came in the second half of this year and specifically in the last three months.
Naturally, investors may question whether PENN stock still has room to run. After all, many enticing casino stocks to buy are still comparatively undervalued in the technical charts. Admittedly, I don’t like buying into momentum. However, Penn National Gaming offers a possible hedge in this sometimes wild industry. Here’s what I’m talking about.
As a regional gaming operator, the company doesn’t have the big bills associated with international casinos. Therefore, PENN stock limits its geopolitical risk, especially if the trade war talks go awry.
That said, like Century Casinos above, Penn National currently doesn’t pay passive income. Thus, it’s all about the capital returns.
Scientific Games (SGMS)
Another distinct play on casino stocks to buy, Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS) plays an ancillary but critical role in the industry. As the name suggests, Scientific Games is an expert in the science of providing gambling machines and services. Therefore, SGMS stock also acts as a hedge in that it doesn’t have the overhead of premium properties.
Still, don’t confuse SGMS stock as a minor player in the gaming industry. Although headquartered in Las Vegas, the company has offices on six continents. For this market’s alpha dogs, Scientific Games is a very well-known commodity.
Thus, I’m not surprised that SGMS stock has enjoyed a resurgence in bullish sentiment. On a year-to-date basis, shares are up over 54%. I don’t care what sector you’re looking at: This is a fantastic return. And if worldwide gambling takes off in 2020 like experts predict, you’ll want exposure to this name.
William Hill (WIMHF)
As a bookmaker, William Hill (OTCMKTS:WIMHF) technically doesn’t belong in a list of casino stocks to buy. Nevertheless, the storied company has invested heavily in the mobile gaming app business. Furthermore, William Hill has greatly expanded its footprint in the U.S. over the years. Thus, WIMHF stock benefits from essentially bringing the casino to you.
On the surface, this sounds great. However, as an over-the-counter equity, WIMHF stock is an extremely speculative bet. With a share price a little above $2, it’s really flirting with penny stock status. And over the last five years, shares have declined over 62%.
However, WIMHF stock is levered to one of the most recognized brands in international betting. And since the global market is apparently due for a rebound, William Hill might receive some love. As a further temptation, consider its 5.5% dividend yield.
As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.