NEW YORK (
) -- There's no denying casino stocks are a risky bet. But with all the major casinos carrying dangerously low Altman Z-Scores, which company is most likely to file for bankruptcy over the next two years?
The Altman Z-Score, a formula developed by New York University professor Edward Altman in 1968, measures several aspects of a company's financial health to forecast the probability of it going bankrupt. Since its inception, the formula has been 72% accurate in predicting corporate bankruptcies two years prior to the filing.
On a general basis, companies with a Z-Score higher than 3 are considered safe, while those with a score of 1.8 or lower are considered distressed. Anything in between is a gray area. Using I-Metrix,
has determined that of the eight casino operators with a market cap over $200 million, all have a score below 3, and seven of the eight are residing in the danger zone, with a score lower than 1.8.
While not everyone on this list will actually file for bankruptcy -- in fact it's more likely most will survive than go bust -- it is highly possible that at least one could file Ch. 11 in the next two years.
There's no surprise that
Las Vegas Sands
are the best of the worst, but their scores still fall under 3, making even these relatively strong operations at risk.
and Penn National Gaming both have scores under 1.8, and
is in negative territory.
Of course, some of these companies have notable growth prospects, which could substantially lift their scores in the coming years. It's important to remember the Altman Z-Score is a snapshot of the financial health of a company at that exact point in time, ignoring future earnings prospects. This means that, for some, their aggressive developments could provide upside, and for others, massive casino expansions could turn out to be a drag.
Given this, which casino operator do you think is most likely to go bankrupt?
Take the poll below to see what
--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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