Casino Shares Rise as Macau Restrictions Start to Ease

  • Guangdong province is removing the 14-day quarantine period for travelers coming from Macau
  • Share prices for Las Vegas Sands, Wynn, MGM, and Melco Resorts rose on the news
  • The quarantine period, in place since the end of March, will end on July 15
Stock price chart
Major casino stocks rose upon news of easing travel restrictions between Macau and mainland China. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Good news for casinos

Shares of global casino operators reacted positively to news about travel restrictions easing between Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub, and mainland China.

travelers previously had to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon returning from Macau

Guangdong, the neighboring province to Macau, has agreed to remove quarantine requirements for people who are traveling between the two locations. This is expected to help boost the performance of the casino industry as travelers previously had to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon returning from Macau.

Las Vegas Sands, the biggest casino owner on the island, saw its shares rise by 9.6% on the news. Wynn Resorts was up more than 11% at one point, MGM Resorts International was up 6.8%, and Melco Resorts and Entertainment’s shares in the US increased by 18%.

Easing of restrictions

While there are still heavy restrictions for people traveling to and from Macau outside of Guangdong, this is seen as a move in the right direction for the peninsula. Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Vitaly Umansky said: “We expect some pent-up demand to materialize in Macau fairly rapidly as travel restrictions come down.”

The quarantine period will officially end at 6am local time on July 15

The 14-day quarantine period in Guangdong has been in place since the end of March and was introduced to try reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The province is a major source of visitors to Macau, so the hope is that travel numbers will begin to rise. The quarantine period will officially end at 6am local time on July 15, with all travelers needing to get tested for the virus before they pay a visit to Macau. 

A struggling casino sector

The casino industry in Macau has been struggling during the pandemic. Its casinos had to close for 15 days in February, and casino revenues have tumbled by more than 90% year-on-year for each of the last three months. With the economy so reliant on the casino and tourism sectors, easing of restrictions can’t come quickly enough. 

To date, there have been 46 confirmed cases of the virus in Macau, with no deaths reported.

Hong Kong is another major source of visitors for the gambling hub. Hopes of a similar easing of restrictions were delayed last week after Hong Kong authorities announced that they need more time to review a “health passport” for people traveling between the two provinces. This process will allow visitors to bypass the 14-day quarantine period.