Short Sellers Lighten Up on Bets Against Casinos and Gambling (BYD, CZR, LVS, MPEL, MGM, PENN, WYNN, IGT)

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Short sellers have actually lightened up on their bets against the casinos and against the gambling machine makers. Perhaps the drop from the highs has taken the easy money out of the short bets. We compared the short interest as of the September 14 settlement date versus the August 31 date and prior dates if applicable.

We tracked the following casino and casino related stocks: Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD), Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS), Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (NASDAQ: MPEL), MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), Penn National Gaming Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN), Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) and International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT).

Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD) saw a drop of more than 5% in its bets against it as the short interest was 9.82 million shares as of 9/14, versus 10.56 million as of 8/31. The days to cover is still high at 8.8, but it was almost 12.5 last month.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR) is still hard to short due to the size of the float. Still, its short interest gain looks small as the short interest rose to 4.364 million shares on 9/14 from 4.239 million shares short as of 8/31. That being said, it is important to know that the short interest has risen for what is now 12 reports in a row. The days to cover is almost 13 and that is the lowest reading in four reports.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) saw only a gain of about 4% in its short interest to 12.704 million shares at the 9/14 date, versus 12.286 million shares short as of the 8/31 date. The days to cover of 1.55 is the highest it has been in a year.

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (NASDAQ: MPEL) saw another small drop in its short interest as the bets against Macau are lightening up. The mid-September short interest was 8.651 million shares, versus 8.867 million shares short at the end of August. This short interest peaked at more than 14.75 million shares short back in June.

MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) saw a rather large double-digit percentage drop in the bets against it. The mid-September short interest was 24.51 million shares, versus 28.49 million shares short at the end of August. The days to cover of 2.08 is also the lowest reading going all the way back to February.

Penn National Gaming Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN) saw small increase in the short interest: 4.36 million as of September 14, versus 4.27 million as of August 31. The days to cover is still high at almost 5.8, but that is lower than the past two reports.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) saw a rather large decline of about 13% in its short interest. The 9/14 settlement date had 4.007 million shares short, versus 4.602 million shares on August 31. The days to cover also fell handily to 1.74 from 3.2 in the same period.

International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) saw a very large drop in the bets against it. The 9/14 short interest was 10.13 million shares, versus 12.77 million shares of 8/31. The days to cover also fell to 2.61 from 3.29 in the same period.

JON C. OGG

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