Las Vegas is growing. While Macau has been a drag recently on the revenue growth of companies like Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), Las Vegas has been an area of growth once again. However, while Las Vegas Sands and Wynn are finally seeing a growing profit in the U.S. again, MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) is the real winner in Las Vegas -- for much more than just gaming. Here's one more reason a bet on Las Vegas regrowth is best with a bet on MGM Resorts International.
MGM is the biggest in Las Vegas
Following the market crash of 2008 when gaming revenue and profits in Las Vegas plunged, the Las Vegas economy is finally picking back up to where it was before the U.S. recession. Though the recovery has been slow over the last 5 years, in 2014 Las Vegas welcomed more visitors than ever before at a record 41 million and the gaming companies there are benefiting from this growth in consumers.
Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts both took nearly all of their business to Asia during the market crash in the U.S., and now more than two-thirds of each of their total net revenues comes from the region. When you take out those companies' other U.S. properties around the East Coast, their actual Las Vegas properties make up only a small portion of their total earnings, less than one third of total for earnings for Wynn Resorts and just 6% of total earnings for Las Vegas Sands.
But MGM is still a mainly Las Vegas company, with more than two-thirds of its own income coming from the U.S., most of which is made in Las Vegas. MGM is the definite winner in Las Vegas by size, with its 14 Las Vegas properties there that bring in almost the same as operating income as do all of Las Vegas Sands' and Wynn Resorts' properties combined.
MGM is the best positioned for non-gaming growth
While gaming revenue in Las Vegas is also increasing, it's not gambling that is driving the economy into new phases of growth now, but non-gaming revenue such as hotels, dining, and entertainment. In 2014, gaming accounted for just more than one-third of the total revenue for the major casinos on the Vegas Strip. That is the lowest percentage of total revenue that gambling has accounted for in Vegas' recent history. MGM has more hotel rooms in Las Vegas than any other company and, with its growing entertainment options, is the company positioned best to win on non-gaming revenue.
MGM is making sure to stay on top, here, and is now building a huge, open-air concert hall in Las Vegas, a new dining and retail attraction called The Park, and is upgrading its Delano Las Vegas attached to its Mandalay Bay resort with an additional $80 million 1,100-room hotel set to open this year.
In 2014, Las Vegas welcomed nearly 6000 conventions and business meetings, bringing in over 5.1 million convention attendees during the year. Las Vegas is increasingly becoming a hub for companies and large conventions as the Las Vegas Conventions and Authority, and Vegas companies continue to market toward this segment.
MGM has been aggressive in getting in front of this meeting and convention trend by adding more convention and meeting space. The company is now upgrading its Mandalay Bay Convention Center, which currently has 1.7 million square feet of meeting and convention space, by adding an additional 350,000 square feet of space along with other amenities. When the new convention space opens by early 2016, MGM will dominate the convention and business meeting industry in Las Vegas even more than it already does.
Is the Vegas winner also the global winner?
Things look good in the next few years for Las Vegas, and especially MGM as the winner there in size and non-gaming entertainment growth. Add convention growth to that, and it's one more reason MGM is the Las Vegas winner. But be careful: Las Vegas has been picking up growth while Macau has been hammered in the last three quarters, and MGM has faired well thanks to its heavier bet on Las Vegas and smaller bet on Macau.
If Macau turns around again in 2015, MGM is going to have less of a stake in that market, with a new casino coming to Macau in later 2016 that opens after both Las Vegas Sands and Wynn open resorts there in 2015 and early 2016. So, while convention growth is one more reason MGM looks to be the undisputed winner in Las Vegas, MGM may not be the global gaming winner.