HONG KONG (Reuters) -Shares of Macau's top casino operators racked up as much as HK$65.53 billion ($8.42 billion) on Monday - or 15% of their market value - as the government of the world's largest gambling hub retained the limit on casino licences to six. By the close of the Hong Kong market, the six Macau casino operators had gained 9.9% in value, or HK$42.2 billion, putting the overall market value of the oprators at about HK$469 billion. Sands China led the rally.
Macau's casinos face a bleak short-term outlook after shutting most of their lucrative gaming rooms catering to wealthy gamblers and as COVID-19 travel restrictions prevent the shift to mass-market customers that they will depend on in the future. The former Portuguese colony that is the world's biggest gambling hub in terms of money wagered has long relied on the revenue from the VIP gaming rooms where high-rollers placed massive bets. But the Chinese government's recent crackdown on the junket business, which arranged the transportation, accommodation and the credit necessary to gamble for wealthy clients, is calling into question the financial outlook for casino operators including Wynn Macau, Sands China and MGM China.
Senior Macau casino and junket executives met with authorities in the world's biggest gambling hub on Monday seeking details on proposed regulatory changes but received little in the way of clarity. It was attended by Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China, Melco Resorts and SJM Holdings. Macau authorities have identified nine areas of potential change including having government representatives supervise daily casino operations, the number of licenses, better regulation and employee welfare.