Penn National Gaming Stock Lands Analyst Upgrade, Major Upward Price Target Revision

Posted on: August 2, 2019, 11:51h. 

Last updated on: August 2, 2019, 01:29h.

Penn National Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ:PENN) scored an upgrade from a widely followed casino industry analyst on Friday.

Penn National’s M Resort in Las Vegas. An analyst upgraded the stock today. (Image:

Union Gaming analyst John DeCree raised his rating on shares of the regional operator to “buy” from “hold” while lifting his price target on Penn to $26. That forecast is below the Wall Street consensus of $28.25, but still nearly 37 percent higher than where the stock trades at this writing.

We are becoming increasingly constructive on PENN following better-than-expected 2Q operating results in spite of a number of headwinds (i.e. weather), the company’s definitive strategy for sports betting and iGaming,” said a DeCree note.

Earlier this week, Penn National reported second quarter earnings of 44 cents a share on revenue of $1.32 billion. But investors and analysts, such as DeCree, appear more focused on the company’s bullish guidance for the rest of 2019.

The operator of casinos under the Ameristar, Argosy, and Hollywood brands, among others, said it expects to earn $1.57 a share on revenue of $5.34 billion this year. Those estimates are above previous forecasts of earnings of $1.37 per share and revenue of $5.21 billion. Prior to that update from Penn National, analysts expected the company to post a 2019 profit of $1.56 per share on turnover of $5.33 billion.

For the third quarter, which ends Sept. 30, the casino operator forecast earnings of 42 cents, up from 38 cents a year earlier.

Pinnacle Progress

Penn National is making advances related to last year’s $2.8 billion acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment, moves DeCree believes will help the company going forward.

The operator of the M Resort and Tropicana in Las Vegas is making “notable progress on the integration of recent acquisitions, namely Pinnacle Entertainment,” said the Union Gaming Analyst.

Penn CEO Timothy Wilmott said the Pinnacle deal with result in $120 million in cost savings, up from a previous estimate of $115 million.

“In addition, we are pleased to report that the combination of the Penn National and Pinnacle player loyalty programs onto a single platform is complete,” said a statement from Wilmott. “We remain highly focused on driving revenue synergies through the relaunched mychoice program.”

Betting On Sports Wagering

On Wednesday, Penn unveiled a batch of wide-ranging agreements with several well-known sports betting companies covering 16 states, including some that are not likely to approve sports wagering anytime soon.

Through its Penn Interactive Ventures (PIV) unit, Penn is working with DraftKings, PointsBet, theScore and The Stars Group to solidify its footprint in markets where sports betting is already operational (Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, among others), as well as states that could soon sign off on it, such as Maine and Massachusetts.

PIV’s deals also indicate Penn and its partners are preparing for Texas and Florida to eventually approve sports wagering.

“In exchange for access to our non-primary licenses to conduct these operations, Penn National will receive a combination of upfront cash and equity, one-time market access fees, and ongoing revenue sharing,” said Wimott of the deals.