SIGNS OF LIFE IN THE REGIONAL GAMING MARKETS?

Iowa is usually the first gaming jurisdiction to report monthly gaming revenues. While not a hugely important state (unless you are an investor in ISLE or ASCA), gaming revenues were up a surprisingly strong 5.4% in August. The calendar was favorable with an extra Saturday which probably added 2-3% to the month, but still solid growth especially relative to recent trends (see chart).

More importantly, however, Iowa has been somewhat of a bellwether for the other, larger markets. The hawkeye state’s gaming revenues correlate strongly at 0.73 with the rest of the regional markets. Anecdotally, we have heard August was stronger in the heartland. Could lower gas prices be having an impact? Possibly. It may be too early to call but any positive inflection point could give these cheap stocks a lift. We would focus on PENN and PNK.


Riverboat trends are in need of rescusitation