Macau Casino Shares Slump on Concerns of Workers’ Strike

Macau Protest
More than 1,000 casino workers in Macau held a protest march on Aug. 25 for a seventh time this year to demand better pay and working conditions. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Wynn Macau Ltd. led declines among casino stocks in the world’s largest gambling hub amid concerns that recent protests by workers for better pay could escalate into strike actions this weekend.

Casino employees plan to protest high property prices in Macau and demand for more public housing on Saturday, according to Ieong Man-teng, chairman of the Macau Gaming Industry Frontline Workers union. Some employees of gaming mogul Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings Ltd. had earlier considered calling a strike tomorrow and have now scrapped the idea, he said.

Shares of Wynn Macau fell 2 percent to close at HK$29.70 after losing as much as 4.3 percent. SJM shares fell 0.8 percent, Sands China Ltd. was down 1.7 percent and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. fell 1.3 percent.

“The dealers threatening to step up industrial actions and maybe even strike put casino shares under pressure,” Jay Chun, chairman of Paradise Entertainment Ltd., a Hong Kong-based gaming equipment supplier and casino operator, said in a telephone interview. Paradise’s shares declined 3.6 percent.

More than 1,000 casino workers in Macau held a protest march on Aug. 25 for a seventh time this year to demand better pay and working conditions, the largest demonstration by industry employees so far this year, according to local police who said 1,400 took part. The Frontline union put the number at 7,000.

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and MGM China Holdings Ltd. shares fell more than 0.5 percent, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index was little changed.

Macau’s gambling regulator is scheduled to announce monthly casino revenue figures on Sept. 1. The city’s gross gaming revenue growth is expected to range between a 5 percent decline and a 1 percent increase, Anthony Wong, an analyst at UBS AG, wrote in a note last week.

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