As Las Vegas prospects improve, this casino giant’s stock gets an upgrade

For years, Las Vegas has been a place of dreams of fun, innocent or otherwise. 

Increasingly, in fact, what happens in Vegas has become part of the national discussion. 

In addition to its casinos, Las Vegas sports the reigning NHL Stanley Cup champ Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Oakland Athletics are committed to move to Nevada. And the NFL Raiders now occupy the flashy domed Allegiant Stadium after moving from an aging facility in Oakland. 

More important for Las Vegas and the economy, Super Bowl LVIII will be played in the stadium on Feb. 11. 

Super Bowl games usually unleash a flood of visitors, especially corporate bigwigs, onto wherever city is hosting the game, They eat, drink and play with gusto right up to game time. All encouraged in Las Vegas. 

The economic impact of the game and all the fun can exceed $600 million, one analysis says

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Plus, there are the hundreds of millions of dollars spent creating television ads to be broadcast during the game and related souvenirs and the like.

One of the winners will be casino operator Wynn Resorts  (WYNN) – Get Free Report, which operates two huge casino resorts in Las Vegas.

And Macquarie Group analyst Chad Beynon just upgraded the stock on Wednesday to outperform with a $112 price target.

The move didn’t do much for Wynn’s shares, which fell 3.6% Wednesday to $91.16. The stock market, however, was off overall, with the S&P 500  (^IN) – Get Free Report and Nasdaq Composite  (^COMPX) – Get Free Report both down 0.6%.

But Wednesday’s market action wasn’t and isn’t important. The year is the big enchilada, and analysts who track Vegas’ casino business think 2024 is going to be big.

Beynon’s price target for Wynn Resorts would represent a 23% gain from the stock’s $91.11 finish in 2023. That finish was a modest 10.5% gain from 2022.

Of course, Wynn’s business is more than just Las Vegas. The company operates a casino near Boston and, more important, giant casinos in and around Macau in China. The casinos who operate there have been seeing big gains in revenue, too. December casino revenue was up 433% from a year earlier. 

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That’s because China finally loosened quarantine restrictions and related rules for Covid-19, allowing both domestic and international travel to Macau to resume. 

Wynn operates the Wynn Macau and its companion the Encore Macau and the Wynn Palace on the nearby island of Cotai. 

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Wynn shares define the idea of volatile. 

 They slumped 81% during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, jumped back to $244 in 2014, collapsed to around $52 by 2016, back up to nearly $180 and then down to $81.96 in early December 2023. They’re up 11% since then. 

Part of the volatility was due to the economy and Covid-19, which slammed travel to Las Vegas and Macau. 

The company, however, was also buffeted by the controversies surrounding Steve Wynn, its legendary founder.

But if the economy cooperates and people wanting to play can get to its casinos, the prospects for Wynn Resorts, and, of course, Las Vegas are now a pretty good bet.

A blackjack dealer shuffles a deck of cards

Image source: Shutterstock.


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