Macau Casino Shares Fall After Chinese Bank Pulls Cash Machinesby
Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd. and other Macau casino operators tumbled in New York Monday after a leading Chinese bank pulled its ATMs from the world’s biggest gambling market as part of a corruption crackdown.
Union Pay will replace the devices with new ones requiring more customer identification including facial recognition technology, Instinet LLC analyst Harry Curtis said in a research note. ATM customers in Macau withdraw as much as 10 billion Hong Kong dollars a month ($1.28 billion), according to the South China Morning Post. The move could crimp spending in the short run, Curtis said.
“History tells us that, while there could be a near-term blip in middle-market mass gaming revenues, Chinese gamblers are very resourceful in trying to move money out of the mainland,” he wrote.
The Chinese government began a crackdown on corruption in 2012 that caused betting in Macau, the only part of China where casino gambling is legal, to fall by a third. The move by the bank threw cold water on a rally in Macau casino stocks triggered by a rebound in betting that began in August.
Sands U.S. shares declined 2.8 percent to $57.13 as of 2:23 p.m. They were up 10 percent this year as of May 5. Wynn fell 1.5 percent to $120.27 and Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd., a Hong Kong-based operator, dropped 4.5 percent to $21.34. Melco also announced an agreement to buy the remaining stock in the company held by Crown Resorts using shares issued in an offering.