2014 may not turn out to be the best year for Macau’s casino operators as they look to capitalise on a strong 2013.
While growth in the industry itself remains strong, the share prices of a Macau’s major players all took a nosedive as the Chinese and Macanese authorities clamped down on potential money laundering.
Under Macau gambling laws, Chinese nationals are only allowed to bring 20,000 Yuan into the city state, while they are also limited to withdrawing 10,000 Yuan per card per day. This has led to a number of high rollers taking a more roundabout route to gain access to more gambling funds, something both governments are looking to clamp down on.
Indeed, there have been 12 arrests in February and March this year, after an investigation into the use of a card swiping device. The company who produces the device, China Union Pay Co., commented: ”It is our top priority to combat overseas money laundering, capital flight and other illegal bank card use, and we collaborate closely with relevant authorities to do so.”
Share Market Prices Fell Considerably
With many major casino operators looking over their shoulders at online and mobile casinos, the latest stock market figures make grim reading, too. Indeed, the 6 biggest operators have seen 20% wiped off of their share prices, with MGM China falling 8.2% on March 11th alone.
With Galaxy, Sands China, Wynn Macau, Melco Crown Entertainment and SJM Holdings also seeing their share prices drop, operators must be scratching their heads for a way to prevent further losses in value, especially considering gambling revenue rose 20% in the first quarter.