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Chinese gambling mecca Macau has finally roared back, and Jim Cramer is ready to gamble on casino stocks.
After years of growth, Macau suddenly took a nosedive in 2014 when the Chinese government cracked down on corruption, which brought a halt to soft briberies like Macau junkets, which were lucrative for casinos.
From their peaks in 2014 to lows in the beginning of 2016, Las Vegas Sands lost 60 percent of its value, MGM Resorts lost 43 percent and Wynn Resorts shed nearly 80 percent. MGM did not fall as much as the others because it had substantially less Macau exposure.
However, declines finally slowed in Macau this year, and many casino stocks have been on fire. For investors who believe that the industry has finally bottomed, Cramer says not to wait around.
"If you were waiting around for a green light to tell you if was safe to buy, you passed up some enormous gains," the "Mad Money " host said.
Cramer finally found definitive proof that suggested Macau has not only bottomed, but also could head higher. In August, Macau's gross gaming revenue increased by 1.1 percent.
That might seem like a puny number to some, but it was the first time that Macau had any growth since May of 2014. For two years, Macau had negative growth, and finally turned positive. The news fueled casino stock gains.
"Personally, I think the easy money has already been made, because the stock market is basically a prediction machine that forecasts what is going to happen roughly six months into the future, and it predicted this pickup in Macau," Cramer said.
Just because the ideal time to buy the stocks was earlier in the year, that doesn't mean the rally is over.
Cramer pointed to Las Vegas Sands as the safer play because of its mass-market exposure. For investors who like long-odds with higher payoffs, he also said he's willing to bet on Wynn, as it could make a fortune if rich VIP gamblers return to Macau.
"If, like me, you believe that Macau is ready to bounce back, then both stocks have more room to run," Cramer said.