Casino stocks climb as Penn National spinoff points to new model

Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:47pm EST

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(Reuters) - Shares of U.S. casino operators rose on Friday as Penn National Gaming Inc's (PENN.O) plans to spin off some real estate assets drew attention to a more tax-efficient structure that could benefit gaming industry investors.

Penn National's shares rose 38 percent after it announced plans on Thursday to hive off 17 casino properties into a new company that will operate as a dividend-paying real estate investment trust.

"This could be a trend within the gaming sector to distribute profits on a more tax efficient basis," JP Morgan analyst Joseph Greff said.

Ameristar Casinos Inc ASCA.O shares were the biggest gainers, up 13 percent at $19.10 on Nasdaq on Friday afternoon. Shares of MGM Resorts International (MGM.N) were up 3 percent at $9.68, after rising as much as 7 percent earlier.

Susquehanna Financial analyst Yinan Zhao wrote in a note that industry leaders Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS.N) and Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O) would benefit less from a tax structure change, given their heavy exposure to Asian gaming markets.

Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O), which were both up about as much as 5 percent in early trading, were up 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

(Reporting by Chris Jonathan Peters in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony Kurian and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)