|People wearing face masks walk in front of Casino Lisboa in Macau on Feb 4, 2020. (File photo by= Reuters/Tyrone Siu)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] HONG KONG: Macao casino operator stocks plummeted by as much as a third on Wednesday (Sep 15), losing around US$14 billion in value, while the government began a regulatory overhaul that could see its officials supervising companies in the world's largest gambling hub,Reuters reported.
With Macao's lucrative casino licences up for rebidding next year, a government proposal to revise the city's gaming law spooked a Hong Kong market already slammed hard into the red by a broad Beijing regulatory crackdown, across sectors from technology to education and property, that has sliced hundreds of billions of dollars off asset values. Wynn Macau led the plunge, falling to 34 percent to a record low, followed by a 28 percent tumble for Sands China. Peers MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM and Melco Entertainment all fell heavily, bringing the drop to HK$109 billion (US$14 billion).
Beijing, increasingly wary of Macao's acute reliance on gambling, hasn’t yet indicated how the licence rebidding process will be judged. The government also proposes increasing Macao permanent residents' voting shares in the gaming concessionaires, as well as additional rules on the transfer and distribution of profits to shareholders. Discussions over the future of Macao's casino licences come amid rocky United States-China relations, leaving some investors fearing that US-based casino operators may not fare as well as local players.