The Coldest Stocks in Gambling

As Macau takes hold of the casino industry, sometimes we forget about how slow the gaming recovery has been in the U.S. Las Vegas is slowly starting to see a turnaround, but regional casino operators are struggling and the weak results are trickling down to gaming suppliers.

Ameristar Casinos (Nasdaq: ASCA  ) has seen declining revenue and is forced to share revenue with more competitors, such as Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE: PNK  ) in St. Louis, among other places. Then there's the pitiful condition Atlantic City finds itself in, where even Boyd Gaming's (NYSE: BYD  ) Borgata is struggling.

What is the easiest expense to delay if your gaming revenue is down? New slot machines and table games would come to the top of my list.

Indeed, slot machine makers WMS Industries (NYSE: WMS  ) and International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT  ) reported weaker-than-expected results in their recent earnings reports. IGT is taking the brunt of the pain as WMS takes market share, but both are suffering from the lackluster U.S. gambling market.

The shining jewel may just be a company that Wall Street threw out with the trash a few years ago. When Shuffle Master (Nasdaq: SHFL  ) made the transition to a lease-based business model, results suffered and the stock took a nosedive. But financial conditions have slowly improved and after reporting earnings per share of $0.43 in 2010 -- a substantial gain from the year before -- it looks like Shuffle Master made the right moves after all.

As slot makers rely on the whims of struggling casinos to replace machines, it looks like the only gaming equipment supplier worth buying is shuffling cards. Shuffle Master isn't terribly expensive either, with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 16.6 and a recurring revenue model that will provide consistent results.

Interested in reading more about Shuffle Master? Click here to add it to My Watchlist, and My Watchlist will find all of our Foolish analysis on this stock.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

Ameristar Casinos is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems choice. The Fool owns shares of International Game Technology. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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