I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a moment. Too many investors get excited and jump into a stock without comparing and contrasting against other possibilities. So before buying shares in casino behemoth MGM
Let's start with the obvious ones: Las Vegas Sands
MGM is a big-time Vegas player with its new City Center complex, the Bellagio and its beautiful fountains, the MGM Grand, and so on all the way down to Circus, Circus. However, it doesn't have nearly as much international exposure, specifically in Asia, as these three.
Las Vegas Sands gets about 70% of its revenue from its properties in Macau -- China's version of Vegas, except bigger. And its huge Marina Bay Sands complex just opened in Singapore in June. To give you an idea of its size, its cost to build made it the "world's most expensive stand-alone casino property."
Melco Crown takes it a step further and is a pure play on the Macau gaming market. It operates three different properties: the Mocha Clubs, the Altira Macau (complete with 6-star casino), and its flagship City of Dreams, which opened last summer. (For a five-minute rundown of its operations, click here).
Meanwhile, Wynn combines a sizable presence in both Vegas and Macau with a visionary leader – Steve Wynn. Wynn was the guy behind many of MGM's Vegas properties including the Bellagio and the Mirage.
But let's leave the world of hotels and casinos for two gambles of a different kind: YRC Worldwide
MGM fans know that it had a tremendous run-up last year as fears of bankruptcy dissipated in the face of a recovering economy. Trucking outfit YRC Worldwide offers a similar binary opportunity. If it can return to profitability and handle its hefty debt load, it could be a multi-bagger from here. But that's a big "if."
I recently highlighted municipal bond insurer MBIA
Both MBIA and Ambac got into trouble when they delved into insuring real-estate-backed securities. Ambac trades close to death's door at around $1 a share. The gamble is very real -- the company is extremely hard to value and these shares could go to zero. But like YRC Worldwide, the upside opportunity is likely greater than MGM's at current prices.
A parting shot
As you decide between MGM and these other alternatives (or none of the above), remember that one compelling reason does not an investment thesis make. Each reason is merely a starting point. Good luck!
For more stock ideas, check out what could be the best opportunity in a decade.