Macau Casino Shares Fall After Chinese Bank Pulls Cash Machines

Leading Chinese Bank Pulls ATMs from Macau

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.

Read More: Macau Introduces ATM Facial Recognition to Deter Chinese Money Laundering

“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.

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Leading Chinese Bank Pulls ATMs from Macau
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