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By Brian Han | 12-24-2014 06:00 AM

This Casino Operator Brings a Moat to the Table

Long duration licenses furnish Crown Resorts with valuable barriers to entry and should allow the Australian casino operator to continue to earn returns above its cost of capital over the next decade and beyond.

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CWN Crown Resorts Ltd
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Brian Han: Crown Resorts is an Australian-based integrated casinos operator. It runs two casinos in Australia: Crown Melbourne, the largest and by far the most profitable casino in this country, and Crown Perth, one that has transformed significantly under Crown's stewardship in recent years. It also has a 33.6% interest in a company called Melco Crown Entertainment. It's one of only six concession holders allowed to operate casinos in Macau, by far the largest gambling market in the world.

We have a narrow-moat rating on Crown Resorts for two reasons. Firstly, its Australian operations are underpinned by very long duration, 30- to 40-year licenses. Also, its Melco Crown's Macau license doesn't expire until 2022 with renewal very likely beyond that. All those licenses furnish the company with very valuable barriers to entry and should allow the company to continue to earn returns above its cost of capital over the next decade and beyond.

And finally, the company is trying to replicate that barrier to entry in both the Sydney market and also Las Vegas, two markets we believe have very solid longer-term prospects especially given the leverage to the rising Asian middle class.

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