Mario Gabelli is betting big on sports, likes MGM on possible sports betting legalization

Key Points
  • "I want everyone to own a piece of a baseball team," Gabelli tells CNBC.
  • Gabelli also suggests that investors consider esports plays to capitalize off the budding industry and huge online games like Fortnite.
  • He says the gambling space could soar if the Supreme Court rules favorably on an upcoming sports betting case, which could allow fans to place bets on their phones.
Gabelli: What I want to hear from Warren Buffett
Gabelli: What I want to hear from Warren Buffett

Billionaire Mario Gabelli believes now is the right time to be buying stock in sports, esports and gambling companies.

"I want everyone to own a piece of a baseball team," the founder and CEO of Gamco Investors said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday. "And you can do it by buying shares of the Atlanta Braves. You have a 6½-year-old? You've got to own him a baseball team. Buy five shares — BATRA is the symbol."

"The second one would be basketball, which would be Madison Square Garden, and the third would be what's going on in the gaming industry: e-gaming, e-sports," he added.

Gabelli cited growth around the esports space as a compelling reason for an investment, noting that internet access, speed and broadband will continue to be critical commodities as more and more people play massively multiplayer online games like "Fortnite."

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels
Getty Images

As one of the hottest pop culture phenomenons right now, "Fortnite" is drawing attention from rap stars to top Twitch streamers and gamers alike.

At one point in February, 3.4 million people were playing the game at same time, likely making it "the biggest PC/console game in the world," Epic Games said. The company said in January the game has been played by more than 45 million people worldwide.

Gabelli spoke to CNBC's Becky Quick from Omaha, Nebraska, where tens of thousands of Berkshire shareholders were gathering for Saturday's annual meeting. In addition to esports, he also suggested investors buy casino and gambling stocks.

"MGM has come down to about $31 because of a short-term air pocket," Gabelli said. "The Supreme Court is going to rule on [the] Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and if they change that, that will allow online gaming. So if I'm watching the ninth inning of a baseball game and I want to bet the guy strikes out, I put a bet down on my mobile phone."

"That is a game-changer for taking betting and making it real and giving instant results to the millennials. ... It's a great world to be in," he said.