Increased oversight from Chinese regulators in Macau threatens a massive financial hit to U.S. gaming resort operators. But don’t expect this to lead to a mass exodus to other gaming markets in Asia.
The Chinese government’s threat of increased regulation on the casino industry puts several U.S. gaming companies in jeopardy.
Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and MGM Resorts International all have a significant presence in Macau, a Chinese special administrative region that is also the world’s largest casino gambling market. But planned growth in the region was thrown into jeopardy last week after Lei Wai Nong, Macau’s economy and finance secretary, announced the government would strengthen its oversight on the casino sector.
Casino stock prices nosedived as a result, with Macau casino operators losing as much as a third of their value, or $18 billion, in a single day as a result. U.S. casino operators in the region lost a combined $4 billion in valuation following the news.
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Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts may be the biggest losers in the long run due to their particular focus on the region. Wynn Macau share prices dropped 34 percent last week while Sands China shares dropped 28 percent.
Las Vegas Sands made plans earlier this year to sell its Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Center for $6.25 billion. The plan was to vacate its namesake city and focus growth on Asian markets like Macau. Wynn Resorts took out a $1.5 billion credit line amid its tanked stock price.
Wynn Resorts' market capitalization, or valuation, fell 8 percent on the news from Macau while Las Vegas Sands saw its valuation sink to the lowest rate seen in more than a year.
“You won't see U.S. companies get kicked out of Macau, but you're probably going to see margins that are really going to be hurt here,” Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at data and analytics firm OANDA, told Skift. “You're probably going to se