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Howard Stutz

Adelson gains $1.2 billion as gaming soars on Wall Street

30 October 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Stocks within the beleaguered gaming sector scored a one-day boost Wednesday despite the markets' overall volatility. Las Vegas Sands Corp., along with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson, were the biggest benefactors.

Shares of casino operator jumped 80 percent Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange as the stocks of publicly traded casino companies and gaming equipment manufacturers rose throughout the day.

Adelson, who controls almost 70 percent of the company personally and through family trusts, saw his net worth climb more than $1.2 billion. The day before, it was reported that Adelson's net worth had declined by more than $16.6 billion since the start of the year due to the falling price of company stock.

Forbes magazine ranked Adelson as America's third-richest person last year, but dropped him to 15th this month based on the declining stock price of Las Vegas Sands.

Las Vegas Sands jumped $3.96 to close at $8.91. At one point, the stock was up to $10.97. Las Vegas Sands was trading at $148.76 a year ago and sunk into single digits last week. More than 55.8 million shares of Las Vegas Sands were traded Wednesday, roughly eight times the average daily volume. The jump in price was the company's single largest one-day percentage increase since its December 2004 initial public offering.

Analysts said an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve and an upbeat earnings release by MGM Mirage helped fuel the sector. MGM Mirage said its third-quarter profits fell 67 percent, but the company's efforts to reign in costs and slow developments was a positive twist.

Goldman Sachs gaming analyst Steven Kent said any balance-sheet news, positive or negative, would drive the share prices of MGM Mirage and other gaming stocks in the near term.

While Las Vegas Sands had the largest percentage increase within the sector, shares of Wynn Resorts Ltd. had the largest monetary increase, jumping $8.17 on the Nasdaq National Market to close at $41.05, up 24.85 percent.

Shares of the smaller casino operators also rose. Boyd Gaming Corp. climbed 28.54 percent to close at $5.63, up $1.25; Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. gained 60.73 percent to close at $4.42, up $1.67; Ameristar Casinos Inc. was up 19.10 percent to close at $8.17, up $1.31.

Slot maker International Game Technology closed at $12.57, up $1.30, or 11.54 percent, while rival Bally Technologies Inc. finished the day at $20, up $2.37, or 13.44 percent.

Las Vegas Sands shares were reportedly helped by news from the other side of the globe.

Bloomberg News reported that the Singapore government was in talks with the company to help it finish construction of the $4 billion Marina Bay Sands in downtown Singapore.

The Singapore Tourism Board said it is seeking to "facilitate the success" of the project. Company spokesman Ron Reese wouldn't comment on the report.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.