Casino Melco PBL Makes Nasdaq Debut

Melco PBL Entertainment started trading on the Nasdaq today. The gambling company--based in Hong Kong--has generated $1.14 billion dollars so far, and it priced at $19, above its opening range. Co-Chairmen Lawrence Ho and James Packer said on “Squawk on the Street” that with only six operating licenses available in the Chinese territory of Macau and a growth rate there of 20% this year, the firm is in store for some big growth.

Macau is the biggest casino destination in the world. Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands each have a presence there, but Melco is the only pure play in the area. Stifel Nicolaus gaming analyst Rod Petrik says investors should definitely get a piece of Macau – at least in the near term.

Melco already has three properties in Macau, and as previously said it’s one of the few casinos granted license to operate there. (Las Vegas is open to unlimited competition.) According to Melco’s Ho, the Chinese government has no plans to grant more licenses any time in the near future. Besides, he says, there’s only 28 kilometers available for development in Macau.

Analyst Disclosure: Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. or an affiliate expects to receive or intends to seek compensation for investment banking services from HET, HLT, HOT, MGM, WYNN in the next three months.