What: Shares of Penn National Gaming, Inc (NASDAQ:PENN) have struggled lately and according to Capital IQ data fell 10.7% in the month of November. Financial results are starting to improve for regional gaming companies, but accounting problems are now haunting the stock.  

So what: Mid-month Penn National got a notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market that it wasn't in compliance with market rules because it was late filing its third-quarter 10-Q.  

PENN Chart

PENN data by YCharts.

The company had disclosed that it was delayed in filing financial reports because it was reclassifying its master lease with gaming and leisure properties as a financial obligation instead of an operating lease. This reclassification won't change the payments made to gaming and leisure properties, but Penn National will have to account for leases as a long-term liability on the balance sheet.

Now what: Investors tend to get spooked when financial filings are late and all too often there's more than meets the eye to reclassifications like this. I'm not suggesting that's in fact the case, but when quarterly filings are delayed like this, it's easy to assume the worst.

Long term, Penn National's financial results are starting to improve and that's a reason to start getting bullish in the stock. But I'd like to see full financial results and the impact of the lease's reclassification before jumping in. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to financial statements.

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.