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Rollercoaster ride continues for gaming stocks

Sep 19, 2008 8:43 PM

by Kevin Stott | Gaming stocks continued their rollercoaster ride this week with at least two stocks hitting new 52-week lows on Thursday during the extremely volatile session.

Wall Street provided that late-session turnaround on Thursday after a report was issued saying the federal government may create a separate entity that will take over bad debt from US banks. CNBC reported US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was considering the formation of an entity similar to the Resolution Trust Corp. that was set up in the 1980’s after the failure of the savings and loans banks.

After starting the trading day out around 200 points to the upside, the New York Stock Exchange’s DJIA again headed south in early afternoon trading before the news. After word of Paulson’s idea, the bulls returned in force and sent the DJIA up 410.03 points to close at 11,019.69 in heavy trading.

Bally Technologies (BYI) finished the day up 1.21, closing at $29.58 after trading as low as $27.05 during the session. Bally’s 52-week low is $25.01.

Las Vegas Sands (LVI) closed up $5.06 to $36.89 (+5.06%) in heavy volume. Earlier in the day, Las Vegas Sands was down to $32.53, just $1.97 away from its 52-week low of $30.56.

MGM-MIRAGE (MGM) also had a positive finish on Thursday, closing up $5.53 to $32.50, a robust 20.53% gain in share value for the day. MGM-MIRAGE shares hit a session low of $26.84, not even close to its 52-week low mark of $21.65.

International Gaming Technology (IGT) closed up 18 cents to $17.88 (+1.02%) in heavy trading of 5.5 million shares. IGT established a new 52-week low of $16.68 – $1.00 less than the previous 52-week low of $17.68 – earlier on Thursday but rebounded as most stocks did on the news of the possible plan for banks to deal with all of the coming bad debt.

Bally Technologies, Las Vegas Sands, MGM-MIRAGE and IGT all trade on the NYSE.

American Wagering, Inc. (BETM) also established a new 52-week low on Thursday, falling to 25 cents per share in after hours trading. American Wagering closed at 38 cents Wednesday, losing 6 cents to 32 cents in volume of over 16,000 shares traded. American Wagering – the company that operates the Leroy’s Sports Book chain across the state of Nevada – then fell another 7 cents in after hours trading to 25 cents (3:48 pm PDT), a new 52-week low. Before Thursday, American Wagering’s previous 52-week low was 32 cents with the highest stock value for the company in the last calendar year being $1.12 on Dec. 3, 2007. American Wagering issues trade over-the-counter.

NASDAQ’s Ladenburg Thalmann Gaming and Casino Index (GACFX) finished the day down 35 cents to $5.20 a 6.31% decline.

Heading into Friday’s session, Wall Street had experienced one of its most up-and-down weeks in recent history. On Monday the Dow fell 504 points before gaining 141 points on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve decide to leave interest rates unchanged. On Wednesday the Dow plummeted another 449 points on news of the federal government’s bailout of insurance giant American International Group (AIG) before bouncing back 410 points Thursday on speculation of the treasury secretary’s plan.