Casino operators in Macau have been dealt another huge blow this week after the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) announced that they are looking at rolling out stringent gaming regulations in the months to come.
The news did not go down well as the market responded negatively and resulted in a combined loss of $18 billion for Macau’s six casino operators, as their combined stocks dropped by 23 percent.
Wynn Macau suffered the biggest loss and recorded a 34 percent decline in share prices while Sands China was not far behind with a 33 percent decline. Galaxy Entertainment Group also saw losses but not as bad as its American counterparts as Galaxy shares declined by 20 percent.
Bloomberg Markets and Finance
This loss is tough for all casino operators as Macau’s casino industry has also suffered major financial losses due to COVID-19, the lockdown that followed and on-going restrictions. Gross gaming revenues (GGR) for Macau in August 2021 were 82 percent lower when compared to August 2019.
U.S based operators such as Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts bring in over 50 percent of their GGR from their Macau based subsidiaries. While this is a huge blow for both casino operators, market analysts expect them to continue business as usual in Macau.
Proposed Regulatory Changes
The proposed regulatory changes will look to curb the freedom of Macau casinos operators as the gaming regulator has plans to appoint government officials who will be responsible for supervising casino operators and their casinos.
The DICJ launched a 45 day public consultation period on Sep 15 to get feedback on the proposed gaming regulations. Some of the issues that are being raised with the public consultation include how many licenses should be issued going forward, how long should each license be valid and how much government supervision is required.
DS Kim, analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. released a note on Sep 15 and downgraded all six licensed operators. Their ratings were dropped to neutral or sell weightings. In a statement, DS Kim said
We think this announcement would have already planted a seed of doubt in investors’ minds, which is probably enough to de-rate these names until clarity emerges on key points.
Once the public consultation period is over, the feedback will be discussed and if required, changes to the proposed draft regulation will be made. The final gambling bill will then be submitted to the legislation for approval.