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Casino Winners: Sands, Ameristar, Boyd

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The returns are high today in the gaming sector, as shares of casino operators are rallying in afternoon trading.

One of the biggest gainers is Las Vegas Sands (LVS), which upped its expectations for its Macau initial public offering.

Las Vegas Sands now predicts to rake in $3.35 billion from the deal. Sands said it will offer 1.87 billion shares, and forecasts an offer price between $1.34 and $1.79 a share.

If the Sands deal goes through, it would easily top rival Wynn Resort's (WYNN)Macau IPO, which raised $1.87 billion in October.

Shares of Sands are climbing 7.3% to $16.46, on the news.

Wynn declared a special cash dividend of $4 on Monday, which sent shares up 4.8% to $62.61. The dividend is payable on Dec. 3 to shareholders of record on Nov. 19.

The company also said the board approved a regular cash dividend program, beginning in 2010. The regular cash dividend is expected to be 20 cents a share for the first quarter of 2010, payable in the second quarter.

In other casino-sector news, Pinnacle Entertainment's (PINK) CEO and Chairman Daniel Less unexpectedly resigned on Monday.

The company named Richard Goeglein as interim nonexecutive chairman and John Giovenco as interim CEO, as they search for a permanent replacement.

Analysts expect the interim replacements will help stabilize Pinnacle until a new CEO and chairman are named. But Lee's unexpected departure could translate to some uncertainty for shares going forward.

For now, however, shares are up 3.9% to $9.06 in afternoon trading.

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