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July, 2020

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MGM Stock Still Looks Like A Good Long-Term Bet

a sign on the side of a building: a photo of the logo on the MGM casino building

 © Source: Michael Neil Thomas / Shutterstock.Com a photo of the logo on the MGM casino building

Casinos on the Las Vegas strip haven’t performed as well as I had previously expected. And while there are a number of reasons for the disappointment, I still believe that the casinos will generate enough revenue to keep their owners afloat until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is ready. That’s why I continue to recommend that long-term investors buy MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) stock.

a sign in front of a building: a photo of the logo on the MGM casino building

 © Provided by InvestorPlace a photo of the logo on the MGM casino building

To be sure, the spike in novel coronavirus cases in the Las Vegas area has caused a slight drop in visitor numbers lately, as JPMorgan analyst Joseph Greff advised clients on July 20.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal cited a gaming and hospitality consultant who believes that “travel restrictions in other states, quarantine mandates and limited air traffic could also hinder visitation rates.” Finally, a third travel analyst said that “a lack of meeting and convention business, limited traditional entertainment offerings and rising cases in neighboring states such as California and Arizona — two major sources for drive-in traffic — could also hurt numbers.”

CONSTELLATION BRANDS, INC.

July 18 saw about 350,000 visitors visit area casinos, according to estimates, down from 400,000 a week earlier and about 550,000 on July 4. Although traffic usually drops in the weeks following holiday weekends, the decline this year has been more substantial than expected.More Time in Casinos

Visits to area casinos were down an estimated 44% on July 12 versus February, before it was announced that the pandemic had reached the U.S. The decline on July 12 compared with February was higher than the 38% drop seen during the previous week. But the figures suggest that MGM’s business is still generating a meaningful amount of revenue, boding well for the longer-term outlook of MGM stock.

Another positive sign for MGM is the fact that, according to one analyst, those visiting Las Vegas are spending more time in the city’s casinos during their stays. That suggests that the visitors are more prolific gamblers than those who are staying away from the city. And many operators plan to reopen their casinos on the Strip in coming weeks, suggesting that they expect the current trends to either continue or improve in the near-to-medium term.

Finally, in Q2, Las Vegas Sands’ (NYSE:LVS) revenue from the table games in its Las Vegas casinos came in at $99 million, d0wn from $514 million in Q2 of 2019. But its casinos were only open for one month of Q2 (June). That means its table games’ revenue came in at a quarterly run rate of about $300 million, or nearly 60% of the amount they generated in Q2 of 2019.Good News Could be on the Horizon

There’s some evidence that the number of new daily cases of the coronavirus are plateauing or dropping in the hotspots of California, Arizona, Florida,  Texas and Nevada. If that trend continues and intensifies, Americans are likely to become much less concerned about traveling to Las Vegas casinos in August and September. Moreover, the decline in cases could prompt the states that have imposed quarantines on those returning from certain regions of the U.S. To drop those quarantines.

And most importantly of all, there’s some hope that a vaccine could be ready by October or November.Bottom Line on MGM Stock

The MGM stock price is still down more than 50% from its 52-week highs. Yet data indicates that the casino operator’s business has not collapsed, and there are some signs that help could be on the way soon in the form of easing coronavirus case increases.

More importantly, given the help from the Fed, the likely additional aid from Congress, and the significant revenue it’s currently generating, MGM will, in all probability, be able to stay afloat until a vaccine is ready. At that point, those who held onto MGM stock will realize a meaningful, market-beating profit.

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. Stocks for 13 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015. Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been Roku, oil stocks and Snap. 

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MLB’s Release Of Starting Lineup Info Will Remain For 60-game Season

Bookmakers and bettors are gearing up for a daily race for information, with the winners at an advantage during what’s expected to be a turbulent baseball season with frequent changes to starting lineups and pitching rotations.

Major League Baseball has informed clubs that the protocols for releasing starting lineups, which were revised before last season, will remain in place for this year’s 60-game season. Teams are required to submit their starting lineups to the league office before releasing them publicly. Once received, MLB will transmit the starting lineups to league partners, including domestic and international sportsbooks, via its official data feed.

In the U.S., MLB has partnerships with sportsbooks DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM Resorts and PointsBet, among others. Theoretically, those sportsbooks would receive the starting lineups first. Jay Croucher, head of trading for PointsBet, said access to a “faster official MLB data feed,” especially when lineups could be impacted often by the coronavirus pandemic, is an advantage for his book.

“The PointsBet trading team will see a benefit … In being able to respond to noteworthy substitutions, such as a starting pitcher, in real time,” Croucher told ESPN.

With the legal sports betting market expanding rapidly in the U.S., MLB wanted to add uniformity to the release of the information that could impact the odds. Traditionally, pitching rotations were announced before the start of a new series and daily starting lineups were released three or four hours before first pitch. Sometimes the lineups first appeared on teams’ twitter feeds; other times they were posted on the wall at clubhouses, where reporters had access and often posted the lineups on social media. This season, however, clubhouses will be closed to the media due to COVID-19 safety measures, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan, president of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

“Lineup changes, especially pitchers, in the age of COVID will be huge,” a professional sports bettor who goes by Jack Andrews told ESPN. “It’s going to be an information race each day.”

The tweak of releasing the lineups on MLB’s official data feed first was hardly noticeable last season, according to multiple beat writers and fantasy site operators.

“From a practical standpoint, we didn’t see any difference,” said Peter Schoenke, president and owner of Rotowire.Com, a fantasy sports site known to gather and post starters quickly by using publicly available information.

“Baseball could change,” Schoenke added. “Hopefully this year’s setup won’t result in cultural change, where all that information becomes a lot more guarded. I certainly understand the league, with sports betting, wanting to unify the release of their data so everyone has the same access. But I hope that doesn’t decrease its availability and the amount of time it comes out before a game.”

A core group of Rotowire’s 25 full-time editorial employees are charged with tracking starting lineups. They monitor twitter feeds of beat writers and the clubs, in addition to listening to pregame radio and TV spots featuring managers or players. The same process plays out in sportsbook offices around the nation, with bookmakers scouring social media for the latest news on lineups. However, with clubhouses closed to the media, digging up leaked lineup news from beat writers might not be as productive as in past years. Some sportsbooks might know if a superstar like Mike Trout or the entire left side of the New York Yankees infield is ruled out before others.

“It’s a unique situation that we’ve never seen before,” Randy Blum, sportsbook manager for the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, said. “Lineups could change at any time if there were a positive test. And if there’s one guy [who tests positive] and he was around the other players, it could be multiple guys. You just have to get as much information as you can. This is something that none of us have ever been through before, on our side of the [betting] counter or on the other side of the counter.”

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What Are The Pros Of Playing Online Casino Games?

There is no denying that online gambling has become a staple for most gamblers today. Heck, it is virtually the only option available for some individuals, given that a lot of casinos have had to close up shop do to the recent pandemic. Have you ventured into the world yet? Maybe you are still on the fences because you’ve heard one too many horror stories. Maybe you just really aren’t a gambler. Whatever the situation is, you’d be surprised at all the benefits that you can take advantage of when you choose to gamble online.Play At Your Leisure

Perhaps, one of the biggest advantages is that you get to play at your leisure in the comfort of your own home. Learning to play casino games in a land-based setting can be somewhat intimidating. This is especially true if you feel like you are being rushed or forced to make hasty decisions. The most important thing that matters is your comfort. And, you’ll never feel more comfortable learning and having fun than you will when you are at home taking advantage of these games. You don’t have to worry about following strict rules, adhering to a dress code, or using sophisticated measures of play. You can simply just right into the games and play them the way you want without any scrutiny. This might not be the best strategy for winning, but you’ll certainly be playing on your own terms.More Convenient And Easier

By far, the number one reason that most people choose to gamble online with sites like judi bola is that they are simply more convenient. Gambling in a land-based casino not only requires getting in the car and driving there, but it usually requires adhering to a dress code or other public standards. With a few simple arrangements, you can start enjoying your favorite games right from the safety and comfort of your home. Heck, all you’ll need are a reliable Internet connection, an Internet-capable device, and a quality online casino gambling account. You’ll likely also have to make a cash deposit, but there are some sites that are willing to offer matched sign-on bonuses or no deposit bonuses.Earning Points And Rewards

Speaking of bonuses, this is something that online providers certainly are not shy about. In fact, this is usually how they compete with each other. One site will offer a type of bonus, while another site will try to outdo it by offering a better bonus. Things can get pretty competitive and you can be there to reap the rewards if you just happen to find the right sites at the right times.Access To Tons Of Free Games

Unlike land-based gambling establishments, online establishments will be more than willing to give you free access to some of their top games. Land-based establishments are limited in their space and tables, so they can’t compromise when it comes to paying customers, but this isn’t the case at all with online providers. Maybe you want to test a game or just learn to play it before you start betting real-life cash. That’s a smart decision and an option that you’ll have available to you when you take advantage of online gambling.

Author bio: John Michelson is a professional writer, editor and Internet marketing specialist. He is passionate about writing the news which is covered in all aspects.

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Wind Creek Bethlehem Reopens With Fewer Slot Machines, More Cleaning And No Smoking In The Casino

Celeste Danzey wasn’t sure what to expect when she made the 70-mile trip Monday morning to Wind Creek Bethlehem from Newark, New Jersey. A casino regular, Danzey used to make the same trek a couple times monthly — but that was before a pandemic that upended the industry and forced Wind Creek to close for more than three months.

When she arrived at the casino at 11 a.M. Monday, about five hours after Wind Creek reopened to the public for the first time since March 15, Danzey was relieved to walk in and see temperature checks at the door, distanced mask-wearing guests and cleaning crews circulating the floor.

“I was looking forward to coming back,” she said from behind an Adidas mask while her gloved hands rested atop a slot machine.

Others were, too. In fact, about 100 people waited in line for the casino to open Monday morning, said Kathy McCracken, the property’s executive vice president and general manager. Still, crowds were a little light by midday Monday, not typically a stellar day of the week for a casino, especially on its first day back from a 100-plus day hiatus. While some guests used the casino’s online reservation module, many walked right in.

“I think we could use a few more people but, in general, I think it’s going well,” said McCracken, elevated to the casino’s top post in late February. “So far, we’re really happy. We’re keeping our team members safe. We’re keeping the guests safe, and we’re happy to be back and operating.”

What guests saw Monday was a little different than prepandemic Wind Creek. The bright lights and noises from slot machines are still there, but only around 1,200 slots — out of a usual 3,045 — are up and running. The casino deactivated many slots and removed chairs, ensuring guests stay apart. Table games dealers wear face shields and sanitize often. At blackjack tables, only two players are allowed per table.

In a major change, smoking is not allowed on the casino floor, or in public spaces or bathrooms. A designated smoking area directs patrons to an outdoor space.

With Wind Creek’s reopening, followed by the opening of Parx Casino in Bucks County at 9 a.M. Monday, 11 of Pennsylvania’s casinos have now reopened. The only one not yet open is Rivers Casino Philadelphia, which has not set a reopening date as local officials there have opted to maintain additional restrictions until Friday.

In Atlantic City, New Jersey, several casinos have announced reopening plans for Friday following Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement authorizing gambling halls to reopen with capacity restrictions.

It all brings relief to a casino industry hammered by the pandemic, which at one point forced the temporary closure of all 989 commercial and tribal casino properties across the country. As of Monday, 794 casinos are open in the United States, while 195 remain closed, according to the American Gaming Association.

During the pandemic, Wind Creek Bethlehem paid its roughly 2,400 employees through the end of May but furloughed 2,095 of them June 1, as the downturn entered its third month.

The casino has brought back almost 1,400 employees and plans to recall more as capacity increases, McCracken said.

The casino’s employees also are now dressed in T-shirts, easier to wash than the usual uniforms. That includes the casino’s Clean Team, wearing green T-shirts and pacing the floor, wiping down and cleaning surfaces. Daniel Mies, typically part of the casino’s sales team, chipped in by spraying sanitizing solution out of a power drill-like device.

“Team members are really going above and beyond and volunteering to help out,” spokeswoman Julia Corwin said.

One of the Lehigh Valley’s largest employers, the casino did have some employees test positive for the coronavirus this year, but has not disclosed the total number. One of those employees was Jonathan Shen, a 31-year-old table games supervisor who died April 22 following a four-week battle with COVID-19.

Moving forward, the casino expects to make changes as necessary. Wind Creek had a soft opening over the weekend, with small groups of invited guests who tested the site’s new policies.

Among the changes already planned: The casino’s hours of 6 a.M. To 3 a.M. Will be pushed this weekend to 7 a.M. To 5 a.M., allowing the casino to extend its overnight hours but still leaving enough time for a deep cleaning while closed.

Plexiglass barriers also could follow soon between slot machines.

Elsewhere on the property, The Outlets at Wind Creek Bethlehem reopened Monday but the Event Center remains closed. Some of the site’s restaurants also are closed, including Steelworks Buffet & Grill.

Daily

The daily update for the Lehigh Valley business person.

McCracken said there’s no return date yet for the casino’s busing programs, which bring in people from New York City and northern New Jersey.

Even amid the uncertainty, the casino hopes to start construction on a few projects before long. That includes starting work in mid-August on its sportsbook in the home of Buddy V’s Ristorante and breaking ground by late summer on its $100 million hotel expansion.

Placed on the backburner, however, is Wind Creek’s original $250 million plan to transform the crumbling Bethlehem Steel No. 2 Machine Shop into an indoor water park and entertainment complex.

For now, some gamblers, such as Danzey, are just happy the property is open. It’s early on in Wind Creek’s new normal, but Danzey liked what she saw Monday — even if the House was beating her as of midday.

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