evenue from Asia has pulled ahead of North America, driven mostly by the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, the world's top gambling destination. Casinos have also opened in Singapore and Cambodia, while another is scheduled to open in the Philippines next month. Japan and South Korea are also mulling casino resorts as a way to boost employment and tax revenue.
Asia's relatively fast economic growth and its large population - more than half of the world's total - have lured the likes of Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts. Investors appear to be taking note. The Leisure-Gaming and Equipment group was ranked 18th out of 197 as of Thursday's IBD. It's climbed from No. 147 over the past seven months.
Sands, the world's largest gaming company, leads the group with a best-possible 99 Composite Rating. Revenue has increased for two straight quarters, going from a 10% increase to gains of 12% and 21%. Earnings growth has slowed during that period, however.
The stock has fallen below a 54.03 buy point of a large cup-with-handle base, though volume on the pullback has been weak. Sands still boasts an A- Accumulation/Distribution Rating, indicating strong demand for the shares. The company, which gets 80% of its sales from Asia, is expanding its Sands Cotai casino in Macau. It also has a casino in Singapore.
Wynn is slightly extended from a 115.55 buy point. Like Sands and MGM, Wynn lacks the strong sales and earnings growth characteristics of market leading stocks.
Casino shares wobbled February 6 on a report that China plans to crack down on shady tour operators who bring gamblers from the mainland to Macau, located in southern China.
The government wants to stop Triad organized crime gangs from using tours to launder money, the Times of London said, citing law enforcement officials. The crackdown is expected to take place after this month's Chinese New Year celebrations.