A total of 16 of the top 20 gaming companies listed in the latest edition of the GBGC 50 index have significant exposure to Asian consumers. Eight of the top 10 have business directly in the Macau casino market.
Global Gaming and Betting Consultants’ index is updated every six months and ranks firms by market capitalisation, and also by what it calls “gambling market capitalisation” This is a figure produced after capitalisation not directly related to gaming is deducted from market cap. The Macau-facing firms still dominate the index, despite declines in their stock values that have been linked by analysts to declines in casino gross gaming revenue connected to China’s anti-graft drive.
Las Vegas Sands Corp and Sands China Ltd are, respectively, ranked first and second in the latest edition of the GBGC 50 – with market capitalisation respectively of approximately US$39.9 billion and US$29.5 billion at the time it was compiled.
Those in the top ten despite not having Macau exposure are: in eighth spot Kangwon Land Inc, the operator of the only South Korean casino authorised to let locals play; and in tenth spot Genting Malaysia Bhd, which has casino interests in Malaysia, the United States, the Bahamas and the United Kingdom.
“The top ten in the list of companies by market cap all have casino interests in Asia, which indicates that the market still believes that Asia is the growth story for gambling and that the present crackdown on graft in Macau will not last,” said a commentary from Warwick Bartlett, chief executive and founder of GBGC, a U.K.-based consultancy.
The commentary also notes that MGM Resorts International (in 12th spot) would be ranked fourth if capitalisation related to its non-gaming operations was taken into account.
“Clearly the market likes MGM’s diversification into non gambling markets such as the recent big fight; Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. [A total of] 56 percent of MGM’s revenue comes from gaming compared to 79 percent at Las Vegas Sands,” said Mr Bartlett.
That boxing match for the unified welterweight world title was held on May 2 in MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. On May 12, U.S. cable television operators Showtime and HBO reported the bout generated more than US$500 million in total revenue, including more than US$400 million in domestic pay-per-view sales.
The commentary on the GBGC 50 also notes that IGT Plc – the gaming technology supply firm newly-created from the recent merger of Nevada’s International Game Technology with and into Italy’s GTech SpA – was ranked lower (20th in this edition) than was the old IGT entity in the previous edition.
“Legacy IGT was ranked 15th and GTECH 17th in January 2015 so the market has not taken kindly to the new merged entity,” stated GBGC.
It added: “Big mergers and acquisitions in gambling have a poor record of enhancing shareholder value. For example, Bwin and Party[Gaming], Harrah’s and Caesars and Lottomatica and GTech are three cases where shareholders lost money: hopefully a trend to be reversed by IGT, Amaya and Scientific Games.” The consultancy was referring latterly to Amaya Gaming Group Inc’s acquisition of the online poker brand PokerStars for US$4.9 billion, announced in June last year; and Scientific Games Corp’s acquisition firstly of slot maker WMS Industries Inc for US$1.5 billion in 2013, and of systems and slots maker Bally Technologies Inc in November 2014 for US$5.1 billion.
The GBGC 50 also had a commentary on Hong Kong-listed Kingston Financial Group Ltd (28th spot). It has interests in several Macau casinos licensed by SJM Holdings Ltd and is described by GBGC as a “stellar performer” on the list. Kingston Financial returned to the GBGC 50 index after 17 months, having been ranked 53rd in January 2015.
“Only one third of [its] revenues comes from Macau casinos, the rest from financial services,” noted GBGC.
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President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China