Macau casino stocks lose almost US$5 billion in sell-off as China’s gambling crackdown snares junket boss
After big tech, now Macau casinos are feeling the chill of a Chinese crackdown. Shares in some of the big operators plunged on Monday (November 29). MGM China was down around 10%, while Wynn Macau lost almost 8% and Sands China also tumbled. Investors were spooked by the arrests of 11 people over alleged links to cross-border gambling and money laundering. Alvin Chau, the founder of the gaming hub’s biggest junket operator, is believed to be among those arrested. He’s accused of operating gambling activities in mainland China, where it is illegal. One industry expert told Reuters that Chau’s Suncity firm accounts for around a quarter of all gaming revenues in Macau. Shares in the firm were suspended Monday, after plunging this year. China’s tougher stance on casinos signals tougher times ahead for the gambling business. And it comes on top of a health-crisis slump, with quarantine requirements cutting off most travel from the mainland. The Macau units of Sands, Wynn and MGM all saw revenue plummet around 80% last year.That all spells trouble for the city, which got more than four-fifths of its revenue from gaming back in pre-crisis times.