2018 has been a generally good year so far for the big, publicly traded casino companies.
From iGaming companies to those operating physical casinos in Vegas and elsewhere, most are enjoying the increased stock prices that come with a steadily growing global economy.
Clearly, players are feeling flush and betting a little more, so let’s take a look at the big firms and see how they’re doing.
Ladbrokes Coral Group Plc (LLC.L)
With a market cap of 2.3B, Ladbrokes Coral Group is one of the biggest of the lot. It’s not currently trading at its peak for 2018, which was 131.50.
Yet, it isn’t miles off that peak either and is currently trading at 122.80 – a little swell in confidence or some positive news could easily see it equal or even surpass the year’s high.
Ladbrokes target for the year is 164.20, which it is likely considering 2018 just started. That said, never say never. If any firm can do it, it’s Ladbrokes Coral Group.
Paddy Power Betfair Plc (PPB.L)
Even bigger still is Paddy Power Betfair which has a market cap of a whopping 6.12B since the merger of the two mega-firms in September 2015.
Currently trading at 7,300, it’s a fair bit down its 52-week high of 9219.80, but is equally a long way from its 52-week low of 6622.60, meaning it’s currently doing fairly well.
What happens in the near term depends largely on what happens with Brexit negotiations since a huge chunk of revenue comes from physical betting shops in both the UK and Ireland. If economic jitters set it, we could see the share price slide in the future as punters tighten their belts in the midst of an uncertain future.
For now, though, PPB.L is flying high and if the political uncertainty in its main market can be smoothed out, we expect it to go from strength to strength.
William Hill Plc. (WMH.L)
It’s primarily a sports betting mega firm but William Hill operated a hugely successful online casino, too. This firm has a market cap of 2.15B, making it another betting giant trading on the LSE.
This stock is currently trading in and around the 250 mark which puts it somewhere between its 52-week low of 239.10 and its high of 315.80
Will it reach its one-year target of 280.28? That all depends on how confident UK punters feel about their futures as complex political negotiations unfold and the threat of thousands of firm migrating to the continent loom large.
We’d say probably not this year. Maybe in 2018.
GVC Holdings PLC (GVC)
Focusing now on one of the UK’s biggest online casino operators, GVC (market cap 2.48B) which operated popular brands like bwin, PartyPoker, PartyCasino, and Sportingbet.
GVC has had a phenomenal year, coming into 2017 trading at 650 per share and now trading at 832 as Q3 2017 comes to a close. This shows the power and growth of the UK online betting scene, which is still relatively free from restrictive regulations.
GVC reached its 2017 peak of 861.50 in September this year, which it has fallen ever so slightly from since. It will almost certainly bounce back and surpass this number, however, as more and more UK casino players make the switch to online gambling.
The future is likely bright for GVC. This could be the one to buy.
888 Holdings (888.L)
Despite taking a battering in the media and being fined ￡7.8 million by regulators in August, 888 is holding up exceptionally well. It’s currently trading at a price of 255.20 per share, which is much higher than its 52-week low of 192 but not quite as high as its 52-week high of 301.75.
We didn’t expect the fine and short-lived damage to its reputation to do much damage. After all, this is a massive firm with a market cap of 919.76M, so a ￡78M fine was hardly going to sink it.
888 offers investors a dividend of 2.28%, a lot higher than any bank offers on cash, which explains why it was barely touched by the bad news. As long as that’s the case, we expect 888 to remain strong and grow yet further in the coming months and year.
XL Media (XL.LSE)
As long as the online casino business is booming, XL media will boom with it. This marketing firm is trading close to its peak at 142.25, after coming into 2017 at 97.66
XL conducts market research, keyword analysis, owns over 2,000 websites and buys media for casino firms and affiliates across multiple platforms. It has a current market cap of 292.22M, and we expect that to grow rapidly in the future as this market has nowhere near peaked.
Think of casinos as gold miners and XL as the firms which sell the shovel to the miners. The future looks bright as long as the UK online casino boom continues.
LeoVegas AB (Leo.ST)
Turning our attention to Stockholm now, LeoVegas operated one of the most successful online casinos, period.
With a market cap of close to 6.8B, this firm is here to stay for the long run. It’s also having a great year so far, trading near its peak of 75.00 – currently, at 68, a long way from the 36.10 it entered 2017 at.
What’s behind LeoVegas’ growth? It operated mostly in the mobile sector which is where all the action is. It’s now grown to 431 full-time employees and we expect founders Gustaf Hagman and Robin Ramm-Ericson can look forward to the company’s value increasing even further as LeoVegas casino racks up more and more awards.
You can’t really go too far wrong if you choose to buy this. Even as some regulators clamp down, the Scandinavian markets remain relatively unregulated.
Net Entertainment (NetEnt.AB)
Another Swedish powerhouse in the online casino sector, NetEnt is currently in a little bit of a funk, trading at 62.60 after reaching its 2017 peak 0f 79.20. It’s trading down 16.29% this quarter.
We wouldn’t worry about this, though, and would view it as a buying opportunity. NetEnt isn’t going anywhere and has a quality catalogue of games at virtually every casino worth mentioning.
This could be a chance to get in with a solid firm at a cheaper than normal price.
Playtech has a market cap of 2.8B and is undoubtedly one of the leading game providers in the world, particularly when it comes to UK run casinos.
The UK’s mega-casino games firm is having a pretty steady year, currently trading at 889.50
That is nowhere near Playtech’s 52-week peak of 1,018.70, but it’s also a long way off its 52-week low of 757.50, meaning Playtech is doing fine.
As you can see, it’s been a solid year so far for most of the major firms related to online casino and betting. As the mobile sector continues to take off and the global economy goes from strength to strength, we expect this trend to continue.
There are buying opportunities in here for sure. We will leave it to you to do further research and decide which firms have the most growth left in them.