) -- 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) - Get Report

, 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) - Get Report

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.

Ameristar Casino


, meanwhile, is up 6.1% to $16.80, after being

upgraded by Janney Capital Markets

to buy from neutral.

Analyst Brian McGill said the upgrade is a result of lower capital spending and probable market share gain from its Black Hawk casino property in Colorado.

Other notable gainers include

Boyd Gaming

(BYD) - Get Report

, which is growing 6.1% to $8.18 and

MGM Mirage

(MGM) - Get Report

, which is up 5.4% to $10.28.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York

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