Penn National Gaming (PENN +6.5%) Chairman Peter Carlino threw the dice when he told an audience at the Baron Investment Conference that the SEC and Justice Dept. suffer from "a little bit of overzealousness" when it comes to anti-bribery prosecution.
Carlino went on, "we had an interesting opportunity in a country that I won't name; we were hampered in a major way by the American Foreign Corrupt Practices Act." One of the line items of a potential target was paying off the border guards. The deal was nixed. "It seems OK to me, frankly. If that's the game, we'll play it."
Although controversial, the comments imply an interesting undercurrent. With Atlantic City scorned and Vegas hyper-competitive, gambling companies are forced to look harder for opportunities abroad and in smaller domestic markets. And "pickings are slim" in Asian countries like India, Carlino observed.