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Consumers Are Gambling Again: Is It Time to Consider Wynn Stock?

By Parkev Tatevosian, CFA – Jul 5, 2021 at 9:25AM

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Gaming revenue is bouncing back in a big way, but does that mean you should buy Wynn stock right now?

Wynn (WYNN -0.57%) was walloped during the pandemic. Its casinos had to close their doors to players and guests alike and are only slowly starting to recover. That slow pace of recovery might change when the company next reports earnings results. 

Nevada reported a record high in gambling revenue in May. It's probable that Wynn was a beneficiary of the increase in wagering activity in the state. Even so, is it time to consider Wynn stock, or is it wiser to wait for the recovery to prove it's here to stay? 

A group of folks at the roulette table.

Image source: Getty Images.

Place your bets 

Wynn reported operating revenue of $725.8 million for the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of 23.9% from the same quarter last year. The first quarter did include some easing of coronavirus restrictions, but a significant number were still in place. The second quarter, which includes April, May, and June, is where most restrictions were removed and the vaccination campaign really accelerated.

That combined has unleashed a fury of gaming activity in Nevada. Indeed, the state reported record gambling revenue of $1.2 billion in May, a 25% increase from 2019 levels. Also, the state has reported three consecutive months of over $1 billion in gambling revenue. If it reports a fourth, it will be the first time since before the financial crisis it has achieved the feat.

Given the surge in gambling activity, it will not be surprising if Wynn reports excellent revenue figures the next time it releases earnings. The company has a major presence in Las Vegas and likely benefited from the recovery. 

Still, it's not clear just yet. Visitation to the city is still down significantly, and travelers arriving at the Las Vegas airport are also down. The increase in activity is coming from folks within driving distance of Las Vegas. One of the last legs of the pre-pandemic economy to recover is business travel. Companies find they can get along just fine meeting virtually and enjoy the cost savings from reducing business travel.

Casinos in Las Vegas found it profitable to cater to business conventions, which helped fill hotel rooms during the weekdays. There is no telling if or when that side of the business will recover. And in perhaps the worst timing ever, Wynn completed an expansion of its convention facilities in February 2020.

Should you buy now or wait?  

Importantly, the company is still generating losses. In its most recent quarter, Wynn reported a net loss of $281 million. However, in the decade before the pandemic, Wynn was generated healthy operating profits, with margins consistently above 10%.

Additionally, the company has a growth opportunity it is developing in the online sportsbook market. Its product is live in six states, with plans to expand to more states later in 2021.

However, there are reasons to favor waiting for the recovery to take hold before accumulating a position in Wynn. It is still too early to determine if this recovery in gambling activity will unleash pent-up demand that will be sustained. And the possibility that businesses will reduce travel long-term is alarming. The risk versus reward is not favorable enough to roll the dice on this casino stock just yet. 

Parkev Tatevosian has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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