Cramer gets bullish on casino stocks like Wynn Resorts as Macau prospects improve – CNBC

In February of 2016, CNBC’s Jim Cramer started recommending the stock of Wynn Resorts, which was then trading at about $79 a share.

Since then, Wynn’s share price has nearly doubled — making it one of S&P 500’s best-performing stocks for 2017 — so Cramer thought it was worth revisiting some of the casino names.

“Remember, the two big worldwide casino stocks, Wynn and Las Vegas Sands, LVS, are very much plays not on the Nevada casinos, not on Vegas, but on Macau, the Chinese gambling haven,” the “Mad Money” host said.

Doing business in Macau has been a rocky road for the casino operators. The Chinese government’s 2015 crackdowns on corruption sent the territory’s revenues into tailspin, and its 2016 ruling to place limits on ATM withdrawals in Macau weighed heavily on the casino stocks.

But after two years of double-digit declines, Macau’s gambling numbers have finally started to improve, Cramer said.

Total gaming revenues in Macau were only down by 3.3 percent for 2016, a strong outcome after double-digit declines in the first half of the year.

Although Macau’s total casino revenues for 2017 haven’t been released, Cramer found that after adding them up month by month, the results were up 19 percent versus 2016 in Macanese pataca, the local currency.

“More importantly, the cadence of these numbers … was exactly what you want to see,” Cramer said. “Last January they were up 3 percent. [In] April and May they were up 18 percent. [From] May through November they were up more than 20 percent nearly every month, a very nice acceleration.”

Better yet, Wynn and Las Vegas Sands both just opened new casinos in Macau. Wynn’s Macau revenue grew by over 70 percent in the first nine months of 2017; Las Vegas Sands’ grew by 16

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