NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The casino sector is in the red, on mixed news in the casino industry. Macau, which has become a gambling hub in China, said visitation to the area grew 5.2% in October. That fact bodes well for casino operators like Wynn Resorts ( WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands ( LVS), which are looking to Macau to boost business, as U.S. gambling demand remains weak. Over the weekend Sands raised $2.5 billion in its Hong Kong initial public offering, pricing 1.87 billion shares at HK$10.38 each ($1.34), below its expected range of HK$10.38 to HK$13.88. "We think the lower end of the range is more a functioning of timing than anything else, as we believe institutional investors were smaller in size than normal given the quickly approaching year end," J.P. Morgan analyst, Joseph Greff, wrote in a note. "That being said, we believe some upside was left on the table." Shares of Sands are slipping 1.6% to $15.78 in afternoon trading. One of the biggest movers of the day is Empire Resorts ( NYNY), which is plunging 11.2% to $2.14 this afternoon.
Last week the casino operator said the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe voted against pursuing off-reservation gaming in New York and in another vote decided not to not proceed with the purchase of the Burning Sky building and real estate. In other industry news, billionaire Carl Icahn outbid Penn National Gaming ( PENN) for Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Icahn placed a starting bid of $155 million. Penn previously offered to pay $145 million.
Greff said this latest offer could push Penn to move on from its interest in Fontainbleau, whose construction has been pegged to cost $3.5 billion. But shares of Penn are up 1.2% to $27.90, as it still has other opportunities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Kansas, New York Aqueduct and West Virginia. It also would alleviate fears of the casino over-paying for Fontainbleau. Pinnacle Entertainment ( PNK) also said it is moving forward with its projects in Louisiana. It said its Sugarcane Bay development will cost $305 million, down from previous estimates of $407 million, and it upped Baton Rouge's budget to $260 million from $250 million. "We think investors may view the news as a slight negative," Greff wrote. "Given the company is in a leadership transition, we think investors were in the mindset that the board could halt
or alter the timing of its two Louisiana projects, which would allow the company to be more of a net free cash flow generator, especially as it seeks to extend its revolver." Shares of Pinnacle are off about 1% to $10.91.
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On the technology front, International Game Technology's ( IGT) executive vice president and general counsel, Dave Johnson, resigned. The company said it plans to name a new general counsel by the end of the year. "We think that this news could be positive for the stock, as it could be a sign that IGT is looking to put its remaining litigation behind it and Bally Technologies to rest and focus on its business," Greff wrote. In October, a court ruled that Bally's wheel game and iVIEW products do not infringe on IGT's patents. There is still an antitrust claim from Bally's against IGT. Shares of IGT are down 1% to $19.35, while Bally is also falling 1% to $42.21 in afternoon trading. -- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.