MGM and Caesars rise as Morgan Stanley upgrades the casino operators on strong outlook for Las Vegas recovery

las vegas casino masks coronavirus gambling
Gambling in Las Vegas.

  • Shares of MGM and Caesars light up Monday after Morgan Stanley upgraded the companies to overweight from equal-weight ratings.
  • Morgan Stanley said pricing power for Las Vegas casinos is growing stronger.
  • Business activity should pick up even more through the summer if the government lifts certain COVID-19 restrictions.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shares of MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment climbed Monday as Morgan Stanley upgraded the companies to overweight ratings as it sees Wall Street ‘grossly underestimating’ the earnings potential for the companies from Las Vegas’ recovery from the pandemic.

Morgan Stanley said analysts visited Las Vegas last week and found that the market was at the “beginning” of a strong recovery period, wrote analyst Thomas Allen in a note raising the companies from equal-weight ratings.

The midweek period was busy. “While we thought it was because of Spring Break & March Madness, numerous market participants told us their bookings were stronger than current occupancy, booking windows were extending and continued to build.”

MGM shares were up 5% after popping up by as much as 7.4% to $42.63. Caesar’s stock added on as much as 5.2% when it reached $93.58 then later trimmed the gain to 3.8%.

Morgan Stanley said it upwardly revised some financial figures and that it foresees the most significant upside to EBITDA in the second quarter and third quarter of 2021. It said it’s now ahead of Wall Street’s EBITDA consensus estimate by 38% for the second quarter and by 36% for the third quarter.

Las Vegas is back to running at about 95% occupancy on the weekends and companies have been able to push weekend prices higher, the firm said. At the same time, companies are using price as a tool to bolster midweek traffic, sending occupancy rates up to between 50% and 60% compared with 30% in February.

Prices for rooms midweek are still down by up to 30% compared with 2019 levels, “but that discount seems to be improving to 10%-20% now for future bookings,” Allen said.

Casino operators expect material improvement in May through the summer as they anticipate the government easing COVID-19 restrictions that include capacity being held at 50% and social distancing of 6 feet, the firm added.

Las Vegas will keep a close eye on “The World of Concrete” conference to be held on June 7 through 10 “as the true litmus test of if the market can handle large scale conferences again,” said Allen. The calendar of events appears better for 2022 as some big events in the second half of 2021 have been converted to be held virtually.

“The big risk remains that fewer attendees will show up at future conferences,” said Morgan Stanley.

MGM shares were trading near $13 each a year ago and Caesar’s stock price has jumped from about $14 over the past 12 months.

Monday’s note also reiterated its overweight ratings on Boyd Gaming and Wynn Resorts.

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A new invite-only iPhone app lets people gamble real money on matches of ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Fortnite’

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Courtesy 1v1Me

  • New app 1v1Me will allow video gamers to place bets on “Call of Duty” and “Fortnite” in one-on-ones.
  • The players must link to their bank accounts and agree on a wager before starting the game.
  • The founders said the COVID-19 pandemic pushed them to create their idea for a betting app.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Players can now place wagers on one-on-one video games using a new app called 1v1Me that was inspired by at-home betting during the pandemic.

The app, first reported on by TechCrunch, will allow gamers to place wagers in one-on-one matches on “Call of Duty” and “Fortnite” while at home.

1v1Me launched with well-known content creators, such as NoisyButters, joining in. It is starting off small and supporting just two video games, so that it’s a “much more controlled environment,” said founder Anthony Geranio in an interview with Insider.

To participate, you have to get an invite to play from a content creator on the app. Geranio said the app now has nearly 12,000 people waiting to play.

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Inside the 1v1Me app. Courtesy of 1v1Me

Once invited, 1v1Me confirms a player’s identity. Then, players must add a bank account to the app and agree with an opponent on how much to wager. 1v1Me then places the money from their bets into escrow. The gamers use livestreaming service Twitch when they play the game. This allows others to watch the match and 1v1Me to monitor it to ensure it’s fair and determine who wins. Once concluded, 1v1Me transfers the money to the winner’s bank account.

To place a bet on a game, a player must be 18. Minors can still play with the app, but they can’t wager on the match, the founder said. He added that the app only operates in the 48 states where it’s legal to wager on skill-based games.

Read more: A video game tutor who makes up to $5,000 a month shares how he built a career teaching people how to win at ‘League of Legends’

Before launching, Geranio and co-founder Alex Emmanuel raised $2 million in financing. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed them to create the app, Geranio said, as they saw friends spending their time at home placing bets on online poker and playing video games.

Geranio said his mission for the company is “to help more gamers make a living from esports.” Geranio said he wants to generate the next wave of gaming content creators on popular platforms like YouTube and Twitch.

“Kids today are waking up and want to become YouTube stars, versus doctors and astronauts,” he said. “The No. 1 place to make YouTube content is in gaming.”

Gamer NoisyButters, who also invested in the app, tweeted a photo with the new app Monday, saying she used to put her one-on-one record in “Call of Duty” on her XBox biography, but “now there’s an app for it.”

Live esports tournaments faced struggles amid the pandemic, and the industry, which was set to hit $1 billion in 2020, missed the mark as leagues forfeited their arena events but kept the seasons alive. Since the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in 2018, consulting agency Activate predicted people could bet as much as $150 billion per year by 2023.

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SUPER BOWL SQUARES: What are the best numbers for when the Chiefs and Buccaneers face off in Super Bowl LV?

Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes.

This Sunday the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will meet in Super Bowl LV.

Whether you’re watching for the football, the halftime show, the commercials, or just looking forward to enjoying the food and drinks, a staple of almost every Super Bowl celebration is a squares pool.

Squares pools make it easy for even the most casual fans to get a little action on the big game. The rules are simple – someone prints out a 10×10 grid of 100 squares, which can be bought for a set amount – $2, $5, $10, or whatever fits the size and gambling interest of those participating.

Once every square has been purchased, numbers between 0-9 are drawn on both axes so that each square corresponds to a unique combination.

At the end of each half, or in some cases, the end of each quarter, the second digit of each team’s score is used to identify the winning square – if the Chiefs lead the Buccaneers 17-13 at halftime, the square that had Chiefs 7/Bucs 3 would cash the halftime prize.

Because players select their squares before they have been assigned their numbers, a squares pool is a true game of chance.

That said, once the numbers have been assigned, it’s clear that some boxes are more advantageous than others, so we decided to run the numbers and break down the most valuable boxes in your Super Bowl squares pool.

We looked at every postseason game from the 1998 season through the 2017 season – 20 years of football – and took the score at the end of the first quarter, at the half, at the end of the third, and the end of the game. Those 220 games and 880 quarters let us figure out where the best place to be on the Super Bowl grid is. 

Super Bowl Square winners updated jan
Some squares are obviously better to have than others.

There are two things to remember: we’re only concerned with the last number in the score, and for every 7-0 there’s a 0-7 splitting the probability. All told, 12.3% of the quarters ended with one team with a “0” in the ones column and the other with a “7”, but 0-7 and 7-0 would split that probability for a 6.1% chance of winning money in that spot.

Looking at the above chart, the best place to be for those hoping to cash is in the 0-0 spot. Given the ease that a quarter can end 0-0, 10-0 or 10-10, it’s by far your best bet, with 7.4% of all quarters ending that way throughout the 220 games we examined.

A few more notes we can glean from the data:

  • Any score involving a 2, 5, 8 or 9 is a rough position to be in: those 44 boxes combine to make up only 13.8% of quarters.
  • 92.5% of the time, the score at the end of the quarter involved a 0, 3, 4, or 7.
  • No quarter in a playoff game in the 20 years we analyzed ended 9-9.

While the 0-0 square is the best to have early on, the chances of winning in a particular slot change throughout the game.

19.1% of first quarters end with the 0-0 box winning, 20.9% end wither 7-0 or 0-7, and 16.4% end 3-0 or 0-3. If you have those values, your chances get worse every single quarter. The 4-0 and 0-4 box wins 9.5% of first quarters but rises to 11.4% by halftime.

Depending on which square you have, your chances might be better to win at the end of the game than in the early-goings.

Here are the top 10 best scores to be in, and how those odds change over time:

Super Bowl Squares by quarter
The odds of different squares hitting change over time.

While it’s clear that the numbers you want your box to feature are 7 and 0, football is a crapshoot, and anything can happen. You can hope for the best box on the grid, but in both football and gambling, nothing is guaranteed.

Best of luck to you and your squares!

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