The Stars Group (TSX:TGSI) keeps turning up aces, as the United States Supreme Court just struck down a 25-year-old ban against state-authorized sports betting, opening the doors for gambling companies like TGSI to dip into a US$150 billion sports betting industry in the US alone.
That’s a hands down win for the Stars Group, says Brian Madden, portfolio manager and senior vice president at Goodreid Investment Counsel.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, established in 1992, which made Nevada the only state in which legal wagering on individual games was possible. More than a dozen states had backed New Jersey, who instigated the decision by repealing its own gambling ban. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie called it “a great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions.”
The markets reacted to the news by causing a mini run on betting-related companies, from casino owner MGM Resorts International to slot machine company Scientific Games Corp. Toronto-based Stars Group saw its shares rise 14 per cent in Monday’s trading, pushing TGSI to a record high of $48.84.
“The decision by the Supreme Court is an important step forward in the regulation of sports betting in the United States,” said Marlon Goldstein, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of The Stars Group, in a press release. “We believe we are well-positioned to take advantage of any new business and market opportunities, and to work with state legislatures in setting up sports betting frameworks that satisfy local consumers’ interest in sports betting while protecting them through safe and regulated betting environments.”
Madden says that the Supreme Court announcement is just one in a line of hits for the Stars Group recently. “This stock has been a sensational growth story,” Madden told BNN Bloomberg. “It’s been mired in some controversy over the years and has undergone a couple of name changes, but the stock was six or seven dollars as far back as 2013 or ’14 and it’s up near $50 now.”
“The sports betting market is just an absolutely mammoth market, and it had been the sole domain of physical premises casinos and charitable entities until now, so it’s a gigantic new market for [Stars Group] to expand into,” he said.
Adding to the ruling on sports betting, TGSI recently announced that it had topped up its share of Australian betting businesses CrownBet Holdings and William Hill Australia Holdings, while last week, the company presented its first quarter 2018 earnings, featuring a 23.8 per cent uptick in revenue along with a 15.9 per cent rise in Adjusted EBITDA.
“Momentum is a very powerful thing in stock markets,” says Madden. “I’ve learned that over 20 years in this business and I wouldn’t bet against this one. We don’t own it, but all cylinders are firing here.”