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July 15, 2004 Stock Pick: Lakes Entertainment, Inc. (LACO)

Stock Price: $10.70

Lakes Entertainment, Inc. is principally involved in developing and managing casinos through tribal relationships. The company also owns 80% of World Poker Tour, LLC.

Currently, Lakes Entertainment is in the process of creating casinos in Michigan, California, and the Northeast United States. The stock has fallen as of late due to the Nipmuc tribe not being recognized as their own nation by the U.S. government, which Lakes Entertainment needs to build a casino. However, we believe the three casino projects in California and Michigan will be sufficient for now.

Aside from the casinos, this company has an extremely exciting asset known as the World Poker Tour, which is broadcast on the Travel Channel Wednesday nights. This show has been a breakthrough success for the company. The brand WPT can take Lakes Entertainment a far way if they leverage it right. I could see this company creating an online casino to rival and someday, although the sponsorship from these sites is already paying great dividends for the WPT.

Lakes Entertainment has a very strong balance sheet with over $25 million in cash and over $170 million in assets and only $12.6 million in liabilities. LACO is book valued at $7.08.

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