Penn National Gaming's Shares Got Crushed: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of casino operator Penn National Gaming (NAS: PENN) rolled snake eyes today, falling as much as 12% on very heavy trading.

So what: The third-quarter report, posted this morning, really wasn't bad: Reported and projected revenues for the third and fourth quarters were in line with analyst expectations and earnings looked uniformly stronger than Street consensus. The big drop happened about 40 minutes into the earnings call when management more or less dismissed the idea of paying dividends because of the ineffective tax structure of such payouts.

Now what: When pressured on the dividend issue, Penn CEO Peter Carlino said that investors "can sell their shares if they don't like where we're at." That's exactly where the selling started. Careful what you wish for there, Pete. Still, dividends are not popular in the casino industry today; investor favoriteWynn Resorts (NAS: WYNN) has a modest 1.5% yield but Las Vegas Sands (NYS: LVS) and MGM Resorts (NYS: MGM) don't pay anything at all. And if you don't like that, well, I guess you're investing in the wrong business for rich dividend payouts. Dan Caplinger can help you find a richer payout vein.

Interested in more information about Penn National Gaming? Add it toMy Watchlist.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders'holdingsandaconcisebio, follow him on Twitter or Google+, or peruse ourFoolishdisclosurepolicy.

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