Studio City in Macau. Image source: Melco Crown.

What happened

Shares of gaming company Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (NASDAQ:MLCO) jumped 24.1% in September, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after investors finally saw improvements in Macau's gaming market.

So what

For the first time since mid-2014, Macau's showed the smallest signs of growth. Gaming revenue rose 1.1% in August, to $2.4 billion, and recently posted results from September showed a 7.4% rise in revenue. That's great for Melco Crown because gaming revenue overall is like the tide that raises all gaming companies in Macau. 

The downside is that Las Vegas Sands just opened The Parisian and Wynn Resorts just opened Wynn Palace, which will likely take market share from Melco Crown by the end of the year. If gaming revenue doesn't grow at least by high single digits, if not double digits, the company will likely see revenue and earnings decline year over year. 

Now what

Gaming stocks can swing wildly with the monthly revenue figures out of Macau. What investors are really looking for is a bottom in Macau's gaming revenue, which has been on the decline for two years. The improvement in August and September may be a sign that revenue is finally going to recover, just in time to welcome new resorts to the Cotai region. If gaming revenue continues to grow, it would be a very bullish sign for gaming stocks, but investors shouldn't get too greedy after just a month or two of growth. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.