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Getting Casinos Ready to Roll

Nevada Gold & Casinos (UWN) isn't in the gold business: It's an asset play that some mavens figure is worth a lot more than its current price of 6.55. Mainly a developer of casino properties, the Houston company owns real estate in California, Colorado, Nevada, and New York. It owns 43% of the Isle of Capri-Black Hawk, a 237-room hotel-casino near Denver, through a joint venture with Isle of Capri Casinos. It also owns 51% of Dry Creek Casino in California. Nevada Gold is helping the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians develop a casino in Sonoma County, slated to open late this year. Nevada Gold also owns 850 acres on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence, and 240 acres of land adjacent to the City of Black Hawk in Colorado, which Nevada Gold plans to develop.

Calvin Hori of Hori Capital Management, which has accumulated shares, figures the Sonoma casino will be a big moneymaker. Most states, strapped for cash, welcome the entry of casinos. Hori puts the value of Nevada Gold's assets at 16 a share. Its 43% stake in Isle of Capri-Black Hawk alone is worth 6 a share, figures Hori. Analyst Luis Martins of Taglich Brothers, a research boutique, rates the stock a strong buy with a two-year price target of 16. He sees earnings of 60 cents a share in 2003 and 94 cents in 2004. By Gene G. Marcial

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