Macau Casino Shares Jump as China Rolls Out New Travel Permits

  • New travel permit and passport renewal measures for Macau come into force on May 6
  • Chinese residents can apply for business visas to Macau at any exit-entry point across China
  • Analysts say China views Macau as its preferred destination when it comes to gambling
Beijing airport
China has introduced expedited travel permits that allow Chinese residents to enter Macau with ease. [Image:]

Rising share prices

Good news has emerged for both residents of mainland China who like to gamble and casino operators in Macau after China’s government introduced favorable new travel permits.

published new measures to ease border crossings

The National Immigration Administration of the Peoples Republic of China on Sunday published new measures to ease border crossing restrictions between the mainland and its Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of Macau and Hong Kong.

The China’s sub-ministry level executive agency stated the new travel permit and passport renewal measures come into force after the Labor Day Golden Week on May 6. The mainland agency expects “100 million companies to benefit.”

The agency’s Deputy Head Wang Ling stated that the policy adjustment would be advantageous for millions of privately owned Chinese firms and “employees from 30,000 companies holding multiple business visas.”

According to a Bloomberg market gauge following Sunday’s news, the shares of six Macau gaming operators climbed as much as 3.7%.

Sensing an opportunity

China’s move to “promote a high level of opening to the outside world and further facilitate the entry and exit to and from [the] mainland,” is exactly what Macau needed right now.

Stagnating after a COVID-19 fightback as consumers tighten their belts amid an uncertain global economic future, this ease of travel from mainland China can only benefit the gambling mecca.

shares spiked as much as 14%

Shareholders immediately grasped the opportunity. Melco International Development Ltd’s shares spiked as much as 14% on the Hong Kong stock exchange, the highest ascent on its charts since December 2022.

Sands China Ltd’s stock climbed 7.1% and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd shares moved up 4.8%.

The rise in stocks likely has more to do with the second and fourth measures the National Immigration Administration introduced related to fast-tracking business visas to Macau and Hong Kong.

Mainland Chinese residents can now apply for business visas to both SARs at any Ministry of Public Security entry-exit management point across China. According to the Macau Daily Times, firms can apply for multiple business visas via a smart visa process and their employees will get their visas immediately. What’s more, the visas come with an extension option to lengthen stays “from seven to 14 days at a time.”

Tour groups can also apply for a special permit allowing them to travel between China and Macau multiple times within seven days, provided they stay together as a group.

China softens to Macau

The China’s decision to ease travel into the SARs represents a significant change in policy. According to a Sunday note from JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts and DS Kim, the travel concessions “indicate that China’s government views Macau as the obvious and relatively preferred destination when it comes to gambling.”

China has cracked the whip hard on illegal cross border gambling in other Asian countries such as Singapore, South Korea, and Cambodia. It’s public move to make Macau more attractive is a stark contrast and proves analysts point China is “fully supportive of Macau’s economy and travel and leisure industry.”

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