Boyd Gaming Could be Winning 2020 Bet, Wall Street Likes Sports Wagering Leverage

Posted on: December 21, 2019, 12:33h. 

Last updated on: December 23, 2019, 04:38h.

Up 46 percent year-to-date, Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE:BYD) is one of 2019’s best-performing casino and leisure stocks. Some analysts believe more upside is coming in 2020 for the operator of The Orleans and Sam’s Town in Las Vegas.

Boyd Gaming could be a winning bet on sports wagering, according to some analysts. (Image: South Bend Tribune)

In a recent note on Boyd, Nomura Instinet analyst Harry Curtis highlighted the company’s new projects in Sin City, where it operates a dozen gaming properties, while forecasting positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) growth.

We believe M&A-driven revenue and cost synergies will continue to help drive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and restructuring or rent costs (EBITDAR) outperformance,” said Curtis.

In addition to the aforementioned Orleans and Sam’s Town, Boyd Gaming operates the Aliante, California, Cannery, Eastside Cannery, Fremont and Suncoast Hotel and Casino in and around its home market of Las Vegas.

Wall Street Is Enthusiastic

Analysts and investors appear to coming around on Boyd stock due in part to the company’s sports betting exposure, which is bolstered by a partnership with FanDuel. That deal was announced in August 2018, a few months after the Supreme Court ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA).

The Boyd/FanDuel tie-up doesn’t just help the casino operator when it comes to brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. It gives the gaming operator access to FanDuel’s massive database of daily fantasy players, a demographic analysts believe is keen to access other online betting options.

Still, investors have been tepid on betting on gaming equities with sports wagering leverage, including Boyd. Since the PAPSA ruling, the Main Street Station operator and rival Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN), another regional operator with significant sports betting exposure, have seen their shares tumble, though both names have rallied in 2019.

We do not believe investors have been willing to underwrite sports betting yet, but if we enter a new mini cycle, we expect investors will start to pay attention more in 2020,” said Morgan Stanley analyst Thomas Allen in recent note.

Morgan Stanley sees the domestic sports betting market surging to $7 billion by 2025, assuming legalization in 36 states. Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C. have approved sports wagering.

Betting On Boyd

Boyd has more than adequate sports betting leverage. In addition to its 12 Silver State venues, the company runs four properties combined in the fast-growing Indiana and Iowa markets.

The operator also has a total of three properties in Mississippi and Pennsylvania, states where sports betting is legal and up and running, as well as the Par-A-Dice in Illinois. Sports betting is expected to come online in the Prairie State next year.

For his part, Curtis is bullish on Boyd, putting a $37 price target on the name, implying upside of almost 22 percent from Friday’s close at $30.34.