Casinos & Hotels

March Madness Means Big Sports Betting: 4 Top Casino Stocks to Buy

If there is any time during the year where productivity in the workplace drops, it’s during the annual NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. Almost everybody from teenagers to grandparents play in some sort of bracket challenge, but the place where the action is really hot is the major sports books around the country. With the laws changing last year allowing sports gaming in any state where it has been approved, you can bet lots of money is changing hands.

We decided to screen our 24/7 Wall St. research database looking for Buy ratings from top Wall Street firms on some of the biggest names in the business. We found four top stocks that could be big winners in this year’s tournament. With baseball right around the corner, there should be plenty of action to go around.

Caesars Entertainment

This well-known old-school gaming company is offering solid upside. Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR) provides casino-entertainment and hospitality services, and its resorts operate primarily under the Harrah’s, Caesars and Horseshoe brand names.

Caesars facilities include gaming offerings, food and beverage outlets, hotel and convention space, and non-gaming entertainment options. Caesars Entertainment is one of the largest gaming companies in the world and currently owns or operates 49 casino properties in 13 states and in four other countries.

Activist investor Carl Icahn is said to be building a massive position in the company, which could be very positive for Caesars investors.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s Buy rating comes with an $11 price target, in line with the $11.16 Wall Street consensus target. The stock closed Friday’s trading at $8.67 a share.

Las Vegas Sands

This top company is not only a great way to play gaming but a solid dividend payer as well. Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) is the world’s leading developer and operator of integrated resorts. It owns the Venetian Resort, the Palazzo and the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, as well as Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.

The company also owns the Sands Macao, Venetian Macao, Four Seasons Macau, Parisian and Sands Cotai Central in Macau, and also the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Investors receive a 5.03% dividend. Goldman Sachs has a Buy rating and a $65 price target. The consensus target is $65.38, and shares were last seen trading at $59.57.

MGM Resorts

This old-school company combines a very strong presence in Las Vegas and growing clout in Macau. MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) owns or operates casino resorts in the United States and China. Its casino resorts offer gaming, hotel, convention, dining, entertainment, retail and other resort amenities.

MGM’s casino operations include various slots, table games, and race and sports book wagering. The company operates 12 wholly owned resorts in the United States and MGM Macau resort and casino in China, as well as develops an integrated casino, hotel and entertainment resort on the Cotai Strip, Macau.

Shareholders receive a 1.98% dividend. The $33 Merrill Lynch price target on the Buy-rated shares compares with the $34.15 consensus estimate. Shares closed most recently at $26.09.

Wynn Resorts

This top company saw the departure of its namesake founder last year, but shares have rallied back smartly. Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) operates Wynn Macau and Encore at Wynn Macau resort located in the People’s Republic of China.

The Macau resorts feature approximately 284,000 square feet of casino space, which offers 24-hour gaming and a range of games, with 458 table games and 708 slot machines, private gaming salons, sky casinos and a poker room. Its two luxury hotel towers have a total of 1,008 guest rooms and suites, as well as casual and fine dining in eight restaurants, about 57,000 square feet of retail shopping in stores and boutiques, around 31,000 square feet of space for lounges and meeting facilities, and the Rotunda show. Recreation and leisure facilities include two health clubs, spas, a salon and a pool.

The company also owns and operates the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas resorts, with a total of 4,748 hotel rooms, suites, and villas; 232 table games; 1,866 slot machines; a race and sportsbook and poker room in approximately 186,000 square feet of casino gaming space, including a sky casino and private gaming salons.

Wynn shareholders receive a 2.48% dividend. Deutsche Bank has a Buy rating and a $145 price target. The consensus price objective is $135.56, and the stock ended last week at $116.91.

These four top companies should be reeling in the gamblers for the March Madness. Also, it’s good to remember the weather in Las Vegas this time of year is awesome, so many flock to the desert to enjoy the tournament and spend spring break.