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Melco Crown Leads Casino Stock Declines: Hong Kong Mover

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., the casino venture between Lawrence Ho and Australian billionaire James Packer, dropped the most in two weeks, leading gambling stock declines in Hong Kong trading.

Melco Crown lost 3.9 percent to HK$28.60 at the close, the lowest level since Jan. 9. Rivals Wynn Macau Ltd., a unit of Las-Vegas based Wynn Resorts Ltd., sank 4 percent to HK$19.88.

“Melco Crown is losing market share to competitors; its market share in January is expected to drop by up to 2 percentage points on a monthly basis which may explain why it is leading the decline,” said Victor Yip, a Hong Kong-based analyst at UOB Kay Hian Ltd. Lawrence Ho is the son of Macau casino billionaire Stanley Ho.

Total gaming revenue for all Macau casino operators in January may be less robust than earlier estimates of as much as 28 billion patacas ($3.5 billion), Yip said. Melco Crown’s market share may drop to 12 percent in January from 14 percent in December, he said.

“Through our various channel checks, the revenue is expected to reach roughly 24 billion patacas,” Yip said.

Sands China Ltd., a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp., said on Jan. 30 that visitors to its Macau casinos rose by 5 percent to 6 percent to more than 1 million during the Lunar New Year that took place between Jan. 23 and Jan. 29.

Sands China shares dipped 2.2 percent to HK$26.25. The stock has jumped 19.6 percent this year, outperforming the 10.6 percent gain in the Hong Kong benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Galaxy Entertainment Group, the company controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Lui Che-Woo, dropped 0.8 percent to HK$16.92.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at vchan91@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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